How to Freeze, Thaw and Transport your Cakes

July 27, 2017

Today I’m giving you all my tips for how to freeze, thaw and transport your cakes.

Plan Ahead

As many of you already know by now, baking and decorating a cake takes time! It’s not a process that should be rushed. It’s why I like to spread out my baking and decorating over the course of a day or two. Actually, with my crazy schedule, I’ve even been known to bake an entire cake a week before an event – decorated and all!

So don’t let the fear of time prevent you from making a delicious tasting and beautiful looking cake. In today’s post, I’m sharing all my tips for freezing, thawing and even transporting your cakes.

Video Tutorial: Fox 13 The Place

A while back, I visited my friends at Fox 13’s The Place to talk about the topic of storing cakes. If you’re a visual learner, like me, you can check out my segments by clicking the link below.

I’ve also outlined everything from that segment below:

 Freezing Individual Cake Layers

    • You can bake your cake layers up to a month (even two!) in advance. After the cake layers are completely cooled to room temperature, wrap each individual cake layer with 2 layers of plastic wrap, followed by tin foil. If the cake can fit, you can also place each cake layer in its own zip lock bag.
    • If you only need to store your cake layers for a few days, still wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap one or two times, but skip the foil and zip lock bag.
  • Before using your cake layers, remove the layers from the freezer about an hour before you plan to decorate. You don’t want the layers to be completely frozen when you start frosting your cake because the frozen layers will start to chill the frosting, making it really hard to spread your frosting. Instead, let the layers thaw a bit,  but start decorating while they’re still chilled. Having chilled cake layers is much easier to handle and decorate. 

Freezing Completed Cakes

  • You can also freeze completely finished cakes. After you decorate your cake, put it in the freezer for about 30 to 60 minutes to set the buttercream. When the exterior buttercream is set, wrap the entire cake tightly with plastic wrap a couple times, followed by tin foil if the cake needs to be stored for more than a week.
  • The night before you plan to serve the cake, transfer the cake from the freezer to the refrigerator to start thawing. Keep the plastic wrap on. (Moving the cake right from the freezer to room temperature will cause some condensation and you’ll get water drops on your cake. If you’re using fondant, this will create water droplets between the buttercream and fondant and you’ll start to get bubbles in your fondant).
  • The morning of your party or event, transfer the cake from the refrigerator to the counter. Remove the plastic wrap and put the cake in an airtight container or box to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
  • After you’ve served part of your cake, if you still have some left over, I recommend cutting the cake into individual slices and wrapping each slice with plastic wrap. I also like to then place all the wrapped cake layers in an airtight container. This will keep the cake fresh for up for one month.

Transporting Cakes

    • First, before you even start decorating your cake, you’ll want to tape two cake boards together for your base. The first cake board should be the same size as the cake layers. Place that cake board on top of a cake board that is one size bigger. Having this larger cake board under your cake will allow you to move it in and out of the freezer during decorating without damaging the frosting. You’ll also use this larger cake board to help secure the cake in a cake box for transporting.
    • Second, make sure your cake is chilled when you’re ready to transport. I usually keep my cake in the refrigerator before it’s time to deliver. 
  • When it’s time to travel with your cake, place the cake in a cake box. I like the two-piece Wilton cake boxes. Depending on the size of the box and the size of your larger cake board, you may be able to slide the cake into the box and see that the larger board fits nice and snug inside. If the cake board is smaller than the box, make sure to tape the sides of the cake board to the bottom of the box.

For more of my cake tutorials, check out my YOUTUBE PAGE.

More Tips & Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Join the Conversation

  1. Morgan Wiersma says:


    If I were to store a cake in an airtight container in the freezer would I still need the saran wrap?
    Would it be okay to move to the fridge in the same container?

    1. You don’t need the saran and yes ok to move to fridge.

  2. Hi Courtney! This is super helpful. Do you think I can freeze an iced wedding cake wrapped, and then unwrap it to thaw in a 5 hour car journey, putting it straight in the fridge at the other end? Thanks a mil

    1. If you can, I would put it in a box with dry ice to keep it cold during the drive. 5 hours is a long time and I think too long without it being chilled.

  3. Hi Courtney! Any tips on freezing cakes with graham cracker crust? Looking to freeze the layers and assemble later. It’ll have to make a 8 hour car ride! I just don’t want the graham cracker to get hard or crumble.

    1. It might be a tad hard to cut once frozen so you could always make it into a Graham cracker crumble in between layers.

  4. I know you’ve probably answered this a bajillion times.. but I just need to clarify.. If I froze my cake in individual layers, do I defrost them them on the counter until they’re just chilled? Or the fridge? I plan on letting the fully decorated cake sit out on the counter until ready to serve if possible.. I just want to make sure I’m defrosting them in the right place.
    Thank you for your patience!

    1. I like to let them thaw on the counter for about 30 to 60 minutes before I start to stack and decorate them.

  5. Hi, this may be a silly question but when you take your individual cake layers out of the freezer, do you unwrap them before thawing on the counter for an hour or leave them in the wrapping for that hour?? Also, could I frost my layers like this earlier in the week and then refreeze my cake to take out the day before the wedding? Thanks!

    1. I take mine out of the saran. Once you frost your cake, you can freeze the whole thing!

  6. Mariceli Ramirez says:

    Ho. I Made your coconut key lime cake 3 weekend ago and freeze the assembled cake with the crumb coating only very well wrapped with plastic paper and freezer paper. Can I still use it?
    Thank you

  7. Esther Parpatt says:

    Hi Courtney. I froze my layers and took out before frosting and put on the side (approx an hour but maybe a little less) but I always get the issue of the cake sweating. Any ideas?

  8. Hi Courtney! Love your recipes, especially your vanilla buttercream 🙂 I always make my cake layers a few days before my event and store them wrapped in the freezer, take them out to thaw in the fridge and crumb coat and fully decorate the day before the event (leave in fridge overnight).

    I have a wedding cake to deliver on saturday morning. I made the cake layers, wrapped and froze them wednesday night. Normally, I would take the layers out friday morning to do a crumb coat and fully decorate friday afternoon and then store in the fridge overnight. However, I’m tight on time. I was wondering if I can crumb coat the layers thursday night and put back in the freezer overnight, take out friday morning to thaw and finish decorating in afternoon, and then store in fridge until saturday delivery.

    Have you ever crumb coated a cake and put in the freezer before fully frosting the next day? thank you so much! xo

    1. Yes totally fine!!

  9. I went to buy your cake book on amazon but it is listed as $242.00. Thought you should know. I notified Amazon but they have done nothing. I at first thought that the 19.99 would get me the book, but due to my ignorance, I got the ebook.

    I still want your hard back book. Can you please check with Amazon if the price listed is not correct.

    Thank you. I love your cakes and am thinking about taking a class.

    1. That Amazon listing is not mine. That’s someone reselling it for that ridiculous amount. My books are only available on

  10. Mikaela Links says:

    Hi Courtney! Thank you for the amazing tips (as always!). Just curious, would it be okay to freeze the entire frosted, decorated cake if it includes some fondant accents (not covered in fondant, just some decorations here and there)? Or would they come off when the cake thaws?

    1. You should be able to freeze the whole thing.

  11. Hi, I crumb coated my frozen cake but I couldn’t get the excess frosting off because it froze on me. I refroze it to complete next week, otherwise I may have tossed the whole thing out. The frosting turned yellow in front of my eyes, it’s awful. How can I remedy this? Thank you.

    1. So sorry to hear about that. Sounds like the cake might have been too cold when you crumb coated it and it hardened quickly like that. Next time, let the cake layers thaw about 30 to 60 minutes before you start stacking and decorating the cake. As for it turning yellow, same thing , the cake might have been too cold. Also rebeat the buttercream before using it if you’ve stored it for a few days.

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