How to Freeze Cake Layers
Try this convenient method for (mostly) make-ahead dessert.
Being able to make a cake ahead of time and freeze it sounds pretty convenient, especially around the holidays. But to find out if freezing negatively affects cakes, we baked, wrapped, and froze individual cake layers that we made from boxed mix and with our White Layer Cake recipe. We also made, wrapped, and froze our Easy Pound Cake. After one week, we pulled the cakes from the freezer and thawed them at room temperature for 4 hours. A few tasters actually preferred the frozen-then-thawed white cake layers, noting that they were more tender. But in the other tests, tasters had a hard time distinguishing between the samples and thought all were acceptable.
To see if the same held true for frosted cakes, we froze a fully assembled layer cake (frosting and all!) and thawed it at room temperature. Compared to a fresh cake, this whole cake felt slightly gummy and a little “tired.” We still ate it—cake is cake, after all—but we wouldn't serve it for a special occasion.
The bottom line: Baking and freezing cake layers is a convenient option for having cake at the ready. Make sure to tightly wrap individual cake layers in plastic wrap before freezing them for up to one week and to let the layers fully thaw at room temperature before frosting and assembling the cake.