We’re back with another comprehensive answer to a question on the lips of many cakers and bakers: can you free cupcakes?
We’re on a mission here at Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft magazine, to answer all of your cakey and bakey questions! This is one we hear quite frequently, as knowing how to store cupcakes is often an essential requirement for those of us who bake commercially. Or indeed, knowing how to freeze cupcakes can come in extremely handy in the lead up to family parties and events, leaving you with more time on your hands for other areas of preparation. No more desperately slaving away over mountains of cupcakes the day before Alice’s 50th birthday party – bring on the all-day spa treatment instead!
We’re not just talking about undecorated cupcakes either. We know that, as readers of our magazine, you are all about decorated cakes! Read on to find out how to store frosted cupcakes as well.
Cupcakes can be stored in a freezer for up to three months.
The ideal freezer temperature is -18°C.
The following rules also apply to large cakes and cake tiers.
How to store cupcakes
To store undecorated cupcakes without freezing them, you should:
1. Allow them to cool completely before doing anything else. The best way to do this is to remove them from the tin you have baked them in just as they come out of the oven and transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Leave them uncovered and they should cool completely in around an hour.
Top Tip! The wire rack is essential, as it allows air to circulate around your cupcakes, helping them cool faster and prevent dreaded soggyness!
2. Store the completely cooled cupcakes in an airtight container. Using a container rather than cling film is more advisable, as wrapping cupcakes in plastic can make cupcakes sticky, as well as providing far less protection compared to a sturdy container.
Top Tip! Ensure your lidded container is tall enough to fit your cupcakes in comfortably, without squashing them.
3. Store your container of cupcakes at room temperature. While a fridge will keep them edible for slightly longer, it has an unfortunate side-effect of drying the cupcakes out. Sometimes, high outdoor temperatures make using the fridge is necessary (we forget that, here in the UK, hot weather is a rarity!). Cold cupcakes are far less appealing than room temperature ones, as they can often become quite dense and, of course, dry, so make sure to remove them from the fridge a little while before serving.
Top Tip! While you don't immediately have to frost your cupcakes, make sure you do within two days of baking them, for the best, most delectable cupcake eating experience.
How to store frosted cupcakes
As you may expect, much of our advice for storing decorated cupcakes is very similar to storing naked cupcakes:
1. Follow your usual method of waiting for your cupcakes to cool completely before decorating.
Top Tip! Frost cupcakes completely and correctly before freezing, as you won't be able to redecorate them once frozen.
2. As before, use a strong, lidded container that is tall enough to completely encase the decorated cupcakes, without the frosting touching the lid.
Top Tip! Ensure your container is also girthy enough to hold the cupcakes without squashing them together, as cosy cupcakes can get sticky!
3. Store your decorated cupcakes at room temperature, to again prevent drying them out in a fridge environment. The fridge should always be a heatwave situation last-resort.
Top Tip! Cupcakes, both decorated and naked, can be kept in their sealed, room temperature environment for up to a week. They are at their best within 3-4 days of baking.
How to freeze cupcakes
The first rule of freezing cupcakes, is you do not talk about freezing cupcakes… of course not, it’s actually to always let them cool down completely before freezing. This is essential, as it helps avoid any build-up of moisture and condensation inside the freezer. While it’s best to slide them straight into the freezer on a baking tray, you might need a much bigger freezer than the one you’ve got! If your freezer is, like most of ours are, full of chicken nuggets, ice cream and a forgotten bag of peas that only comes out when someone falls over, then simply put each cupcake on as flat a surface as possible inside.
We’re going to predict your thoughts again… our powers of mind-reading tell us that you’re currently internally screaming “but what about freezer burn?!”. No worries! We’re here to tell you how to freeze cupcakes successfully, so once your cupcakes are completely frozen, pop them into one freezer bag (or individual freezer bags if you prefer) and back into the freezer.
Proceed with caution and store your cupcakes with a clear system of identification. Why, you ask? If you’re baking a series of different-flavoured cupcakes for different events, you don’t want to be arriving at little Amelia’s 6th birthday party with gin and tonic cupcakes and to Lucy and Mark’s 25th wedding anniversary with sparkly pink unicorn cupcakes!
Thus, the second rule is to always label your cupcakes. It sounds silly, but as you’ve read above, while sparkly pink unicorn cupcakes may go down a storm after a few anniversary tipples, you may have some very unhappy parents if you attempt to feed gin-laced cupcakes to their little cherubs!
So, simply label your cupcakes with the date you made them and, briefly, the flavour. Perhaps create a chart of abbreviations for your most commonly-used flavours? This could create some unintentionally amusing results (Honeydew, Elderberry, Lemon and Passionfruit anyone?)
Our final rule when it comes to freezing cupcakes (undecorated, we’ll get onto how to freeze frosted cupcakes shortly!) is the best bit – how to defrost and gleefully fill your tummies with delightful cupcake deliciousness! Let them defrost at room temperature, don’t let a microwave near those delicate little creations! Then, simply decorate or eat as they are!
How to freeze frosted cupcakes
The first rule on freezing frosted cupcakes is just the same as their naked counterparts – let them cool completely. However, in this case you want them to stay out of the freezer for now once cooled, as you want to frost them before freezing.
The second rule is all about how to store frosted cupcakes in the freezer. This can get a little tedious, but it’s 100% worth following every step to avoid any soggy disasters. To start, place the decorated cupcakes into the freezer uncovered. This is to allow both the cupcakes themselves and the frosting to free completely (do make sure that the container you use for this has the capacity to be covered). This can take between 3-6 hours, so be patient and make sure that the frosting is frozen completely solid before removing your uncovered container of decorated cupcakes from the freezer. Once frozen completely, cover the cupcakes so that they are entirely airtight, to preserve the moistness and prevent freezer burn. Make sure the container is large enough to hold the frosted cupcakes without the lid touching them.
As with the undecorated cupcakes, when you’re ready to defrost your frosted cupcakes, remove them from the freezer and leave them, undisturbed, to deforst at room temperature. Leave the cupcakes in their container when you first remove them, before slightly uncovering them after an hour. This is to help them defrost without letting them get too soggy.
You should now be all clued-up and perfectly able to answer the question: can you freeze cupcakes?
Short answer: YES
Long answer: YES YES YES
Be sure to let all of your friends know about your new-found knowledge on how to store cupcakes – they will be itching to find out how you’re able to answer so many questions on the essential elements of baking and caking!
Don’t forget to direct them (and yourself!) to the latest issue of Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft magazine… this particular article is just a taste of the delicious advice, tips, tricks and techniques packed into every issue!
Did you find this helpful? Check out our article on How to Tell if the Cake is Done!