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Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

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asked January 15th 2013

Working with frozen cakes

Hello everybody!

I know that many of you use to freeze their cakes before decorating them. I’ve read somewhere that an advantage of this approach is you can cut and fill the cake easily and don’t bother too much for example with crumbles. This means, I suppose, the cake is not completely defrosted when filling / covering it with (for example) ganache..?
My question is: how many hours do you take your cake (suppose a 10” round cake) out of the freezer before preparing it for fondent? Is it a good idea to work with a partially frozen cake?

Thanks a lot for your answer!
Federico

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Hi smoking81

Cake doesn’t take long to defrost enough for torting and filling. When a cake is still partically frozen it is much easier to handle and doesn’t make crumbs. The filling stays firm so it doesn’t squish about when placing on the layers, crumb coating also sets quicker, especially ganache. Eg for a 12″ cake I remove from the freezer and let it sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing into however layers I want. The cake starts to defrost quite quickly once sliced but remains firm allowing all the filling and crumb coating to be done without a mess. I leave the fondant application for about an hour which allows the cake to settle but is still firm and smooth and takes the fondant easily. Once iced, the cake should sit out on the counter overnight at room temp to dry and settle before decorating with models or flowers. There is no reason why cakes can not be worked on while still frozen if your concerns are health related. It isn’t the same as working with raw food where presence of bacteria does have health implications. All the ingredients are fully cooked and the sugar is a preservative. Obviously as with all cooked or baked goods there is limited shelf life for cakes. Hope this helps.

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I ought to say also that if you are using fresh fillings such as dairy cream, meringue type butter creams or fresh fruit and custards, these must be refrigerated so covering with fondant should be left until the latest before requiring the cake. The fondant which Paul used for the Vintage pearl wedding cake can be placed in the fridge so if you did want something a bit different, that’s the one! Apologies for not pointing that out in my earlier answer.

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Hi madeitwithlove! Thank you very much for your detailed answer! 🙂 So, I will try to defrost my 20inches cake about 15-20 min before cutting and filling it with ganache. The ganache has to dry a bit before icing so I think fondant will come after more or less 1 hour. Btw, I baked on monday Paul’s chocolate cake (which to be honest is identical to that from May Clee-Cadman’s book “Cakes for Romantic Occasions”) and got more or less the results you described in another post.. This time I will fill it with ganache as it’s my first decorated cake and to learn the techniques I prefer to imitate Paul’s gestures, but to be honest I don’t think filling a chocolate cake with ganache is a great think for what concerns taste.. 🙂

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Wow Smokinh81, you baked a 20″ Cake? you must have a mighty big oven, I’m jealous, congrats btw! Perhaps you should leave your cake out for a little longer than the 20 mins I leave out my 12″. You know you don’t have to fill just with chocolate ganache, there are lots of other fillings which compliment chocolate cake. How about white chocolate butter cream with raspberry preserve, or mint? Orange, banana, cherry, blackberry, black currant, passionfruit, kiwi, rose turkish delight, all go with chocolate, the choices are infinite. For filling ideas just have a look at any chocolate centres in a box of choccies. I recently made manderine conserve with manderine, lemon, walnuts and almonds, that was for a madeira but I could equally have used it for a chocolate cake. Let us all know which filling you use for this mammoth cake. xx

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Ops it was a typo i meant 10inches.. 🙂 Can you Point me please to any recipe for fillings you tested already with iced cakes? Thanks again!

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Hi smoking81

I haven’t any recipes for fillings which I particularly follow, if I want something a bit different I just experiment with flavours. Jam and preserve making books are good for ideas and also the many varieties of chocolates which are now available. Try not to use fresh fruits unless the cake is to be consumed virtually in one sitting. Fresh fruit moulds very quickly inside cakes, far better to cook first in sugar and use the reduction. There are many flavoured extract type oils for flavouring butter cream (Loran oils), I bought some from the cake decorating company in Nottingham. What about flavoured syrups the type used in soda streams? Have a look at this company, sugarandcrumbs.com for flavoured icings, lots of ideas there and lovely people too! One of my favourite fillings is crushed aero bars. Experiment and see what you like and remember it doesn’t always have to be butter cream or ganache, a good old fruity preserve on it’s own works just as well. Oh and there is also alcohol, all different liqueurs. Hope some of these suggestions help.

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I must be doing something wrong! I’ve taken a square 10 inch cake out of the freezer this morning at 8am and I’m still unable to get the knife all the way through it to slice it in half!

If I was carving I’m sure I’d be able to do it but simply cutting it in half is proving a problem and I’m four hours on. I’ve now put it in the lounge and turned the heating up in the hope it defrosts soon as I’m running out of time to decorate it…this is my first occasion of freezing a cake but didn’t think it would take so long to defrost!

Argh!

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Hi JoeB

Don’t try slicing it by running the knife straight across. With a serrated knife keep sawing and turning the cake and gently the knife will go through all the way. Heat the knife up in boiling water to help it get started.