Let's face it. Life is busy and time is very precious. For you, baking is a pleasurable past time and something you really enjoy. You wouldn’t dream of buying a cake when you are the go-to baker in the family. People look forward to eating your cakes, and the loving care you put into them. You may not realize it, but quietly you enjoy basking in the limelight of everyone’s praises. You are a planner and know that when spontaneous plans pop up and you need a cake for next weekend's party, you are prepared. You won’t need to stress over it because you know what to do. Not everyone does though.
Making a cake ahead of time is a great way to avoid the stress of throwing a cake together for a party. If you have a box cake mix sitting in your pantry and the time, bake and freeze for that occasion around the corner. Maybe it’s your daughter’s sweet 16 or your grandson‘s third birthday celebration. Go ahead and bake that cake today. Cakes do NOT need to be baked and assembled all in one day. Thankfully, you can freeze your cake layers and keep them wonderfully fresh until you are ready to assemble and frost the cake.
I find it funny that many people actually think that for a cake to be "fresh" it must be baked the same day it is consumed. Well, geez, that would take hours dedicated to making and assembling that ONE cake not to mention the cleanup involved. I can tell you right now that most bakeries bake and freeze cake layers ALL THE TIME. If they didn’t, how could they ever offer their customers all the baked goods readily available plus make tiered wedding cakes and sheet cakes for special occasions? If a bakery has 10 or more special order cakes being picked up or delivered on any given day, how could they possibly get it done? They can't!
Bakeries, even the smaller ones, make cakes in a multi-step process over the course of time, and quite honestly, if done correctly, the cake tastes equal to or even better than one baked the very same day. Unfortunately, cakes can get stale and should be discarded if they’ve “hung around” too long waiting to be purchased. If you’ve had this experience, that’s very unfortunate. Shame on the bakery for selling an inferior product!
Step 1: Bake cake and allow to cool in the cake pan for 15 minutes. Take an offset spatula and run it along inside of pan to release cake from pan before inverting onto cake rack. Completely cool on a cake rack.
Step 2: Once the cake(s) cools completely, wrap it in cling wrap or Press and Seal. One layer is fine, just wrap well.
Step 3: Wrap the cake in a layer of aluminum foil. Don’t forget to write the type of cake and date baked on the foil. Cakes will have the best taste and texture frozen up to 3 months. You can freeze it up to four or five months, but the sooner you serve it, the fresher it will taste.
Condensation will form as the cake comes to room temperature. If defrosting the cake layer while still wrapped, condensation will form on the cling wrap. Unwrapped cakes on the other hand will form condensation directly onto the cake which then may need to be blotted. Quite honestly, I've thawed my cake layers both ways, and I can't say one way is superior over the other.
Allow the cake layers to come to room temperature over the course of 20-30 minutes. The layers will still be cold but not rock hard. If you attempt to fill and frost white still frozen, leveling and trimming are very difficult. In addition, the layers may be "warped" looking and need to "settle" back into shape. Frosting a frozen cake also freezes the frosting making in very difficult to spread.
The part you've been patiently waiting for has arrived! With your favorite frosting and filling ready, you are now ready to put the cake together. Depending on the type of frosting, the cake may need to remain in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Buttercream frosted cakes will need to come back to room temperature for 1-2 hours.