How To Thaw A Frozen Cake

Whether you are a baker who freezes cakes for clients or a newly-married couple celebrating their first anniversary, knowing how to thaw a frozen cake can come in handy. While you may envision thawing an entire cake, which is possible, many individuals thaw cakes in smaller portions for convenience and space.

It isn’t necessarily hard to thaw a frozen cake, but it does take time. Depending on how large your cake is it can take a full 24 hours. When you need to thaw a cake, you can do so by setting it in the fridge, defrosting it at room temperature, or a combination of both.

Your reason for thawing cake may vary, but the concept of doing so remains the same. Luckily, a cake isn’t as susceptible to bacteria growth, so you don’t have the same concerns with thawing cake as you would thawing meat or dairy products. 

Methods For Thawing a Frozen Cake

There are two main methods for getting a frozen cake to defrost. The safest method is to do so in the refrigerator. 

Refrigerator Cake Thawing

If you are defrosting an entire cake, you may give it 24 to 48 hours to completely thaw. However, if you are thawing smaller cakes or layers, it may only take a few hours to defrost.

When you get ready to eat your cake, you don’t want it to be too cold. So, before serving, set your cake out of the fridge on the counter for an hour or two before consuming.

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Counter Cake Thawing

A faster way to thaw your cake involves simply setting it out on the counter. You won’t want to do this if your cake has any frosting that contains eggs or dairy, as it could open the door to bacteria accumulation, though.

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Otherwise, setting your cake out on the counter to defrost is a perfectly acceptable method of thawing. By setting the cake on a wire rack to thaw, you can avoid your cake sticking to the counter or pan as it warms and becomes moist again.

Thinner cake layers can take 2-3 hours to thaw on the counter, while larger cakes will inevitably take longer. This is the preferred method of thawing a cake because it can be done so quickly.

Will Thawing A Frozen Cake Make It Dry Out

Unfortunately, one of the caveats of thawing a frozen cake is that it can begin to dry out. This is especially likely if the cake wasn’t extremely moist at the time it was cooked. 

Professional bakers and experienced home chefs know how to avoid this, but the average person might not know how to keep a frozen cake from drying out.

The key is to keep your cake wrapped up as long as possible. This will prevent the moisture from evaporating and making your cake dry. As soon as the cake is completely thawed, it should be put in the fridge once more to prevent additional loss of moisture.

Can I Ice A Frozen Cake Before It Thaws?

You may be excited to eat your frozen cake, but don’t try to frost it too soon. While you might think frosting might stick to a hardened, frozen cake better, this isn’t the case. 

As soon as your cake begins to thaw it begins to melt the ice crystals that have formed and become moist. As you can imagine, if you frost a cake at this point, the icing would become too wet and could even begin to slide off the cake. 

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However, if you have frozen the frosting ahead of time, you can ice the cake before it thaws. These ingredients will warm at the same rate, which will keep the frosting from melting.

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Thawing a frozen cake is not a difficult task, but it gets easier with time. Knowing the ingredients that go into a cake, how they react to thawing, and tips for proper thawing are beneficial for successfully thawing your cake.