Layer Cake Video Series – Part 1 – Freezing Cake in the Pan

Cake Filling Method

This video tutorial introduces the concept of assembling then freezing layer cakes in the baking pan, a professional cake filling method commonly used in bakeries. If you are new to this method, please start here: How to Fill Layer Cakes in the Baking Pan

VIDEO: Cake Filling Method – Freezing Cakes 

This is Part 1
Link to Part 2: Filling & Depanning Cakes
Link to Part 3: Condensation
More on How to Freeze Cakes
More on How to Fill Layer Cakes

Layer Cake Filling in the Pan Audio Transcript

Hello cake bakers. This is Kristen from Wicked Goodies, here with a new and improved video series on how to fill layer cakes in the pan. You guys have asked me so many questions about this torting technique that I realized I need to do a better job explaining it. Now I learned this method working in commercial bakeries but I have successfully done it at home many times so you should be able to follow these steps whether you are a professional baker or a hobbyist. In my opinion it is THE most effective way to build clean and stable layer cakes. I have found it to be especially useful for making sculpted cakes and stacked cakes like wedding cakes.

Layer Cake Filling in the Pan

PART 1 – Freezing Cake

Now the first thing you have to do in order make this technique work is to overcome any reservations you might have about freezing your cakes. If you have heard that freezing cakes is bad then let me tell you that is a myth. It is NOT true. I’m blowing up this cake myth right now. As long as it’s done right, freezing your cake will make your job so much easier and nobody will ever know the difference. A frozen cake is easier to handle. It’s easier to carve. And it’s easier to crumb coat.

Layer Cake Filling in the Pan

Freezing is not the enemy of cake freshness. The real threat is exposure. Failing to properly seal a cake with plastic wrap is what leads to staleness. Another culprit is the refrigerator. Cake goes stale fastest not in the freezer but in the refrigerator.

So here’s the deal. In this video series, I’m going to show you how to build a layer cake in its baking pan. The pan creates a barrier between the cake and the atmosphere of the freezer. It also holds the layers together nice and snug. You’re going to double seal the cake in the pan with plastic wrap all around it so it’s completely airtight.

Cake Freezing Tip #1

A freezer with fish or lots of meat or spicy foods does not work as well as a freezer full of frosting and fruit. If the contents of your freezer are dessert friendly, you can freeze cakes for weeks or months without the flavor being affected.

Cake Freezing Tip #2

A freezer with space works better than a packed freezer.

Cake Freezing Tip #3

Remember when you freeze a cake to add a day or two to your production schedule. Small cakes freeze and defrost faster than large cakes. If you have a subzero freezer, the freezing stage will go faster. Depending on the size of your cake, it may take anywhere from 12-24 hours for the cake to freeze and then another 12-24 hours for it to defrost so be sure to plan accordingly.

Layer Cake Filling in the Pan

The great thing about doing the baking and filling stages in advance is that you can get those parts out of the way a week or two before the event and do them on your schedule so it’s not such mad rush to pack it all in at the last minute. You know what I’m talking about? The Friday all nighter. I’m here to save you from that.

So give your freezer a thumbs up because when it comes to layer cake making, it is THE best piece of equipment in your kitchen. Keep watching this series to learn more.

Watch Part 2: New Layer Cake Video Series – Filling and Depanning Cake Filling Method

Watch PART 3: Cake Condensation Solutions Cake Condensation  

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Part 1 Cake Filling Method - Freezing Cakes

Cake Filling Method


Layer Cake Video Series – Part 1 – Freezing Cake in the Pan — 56 Comments

  1. Sooo I can crumb cake my cake when it’s frozen and put it back in the fridge I should wait until it’s not frozen to put the finsh butter cream

  2. I’ve used your fillings several times and also used your freezing method. I did however freeze a couple of cakes prior to cutting thinking I could cut them after they were frozen. I read where you responded to someone else’s question and stated not to cut a frozen cake. What is the reasoning behind not cutting a frozen cake?

    • Of course you can cut a frozen cake. It’s the best way to slice petit fours, achieve clean cuts for individual servings, glamour shots and samples. It’s also my preferred method for sculpting. I can’t think of an instance where I would discourage the act of freezing and cutting. If you can find that question again, please copy and paste it so we can examine its context.

      I do warn about freezing in the instance of cake sponge. If you freeze a whole cylinder of cake sponge (after baking, before slicing it into layers and assembling with filling) then you have to be patient enough to let it thaw *completely* before attempting to slice horizontally to make layers. The core thaws last and it will mess up your slices if it’s still solid when you hit it with a knife. My best guess as to what you read was probably related to this specific context.

      In your case, if the cake is already assembled, slice away.

      • Thank you for responding…and very quickly!! You are correct with your response. Your answer to the question I was referring to was exactly what you just said. I actually have two cakes that I had not cut or filled yet. They are frozen. So what you are saying I need to do is thaw them before cutting and filling them…..correct? So it would be best to thaw them in time to finish the cake for the event and not try to cut them frozen?

        I love your youtube videos. They have been very helpful!! I have used your strawberries and cream filling in several cakes for different events and everyone loved it.

        Here is the question I was referring to:

        My question, is whether I can use this filling method after my cake layers are already frozen. I’ve wrapped and frozen them all separately. Can I fill in the pan and put back into the freezer before the cakes get time to thaw? Or am I better off assembling the filling after the cakes have half-thawed… when I would crumb coat that is.

        This was your response to that question:

        Yes you can assemble when the layers are still frozen, as long as they have already been cut. Just don’t try to cut your cake layers when the cake is frozen.

        • Right. Just make sure to leave ample time (24 hours) for those frozen cylinders of cake to thaw all the way through to the center before you slice them into layers.

  3. Hi Kristen,
    Thanks so much for your thorough and helpful instructions! I’ve never done a cake like this before but I feel totally equipped!

    I have stacked and filled my cake, it’s currently in the freezer. It’s just a 2 layer 9″ round with a butter cream filling. What I don’t know, is when do I carve and dirty ice it? I’m not going to use fondant, just 2 layers of icing.
    Do I slack off for a couple hours and then carve and dirty ice while still partially frozen? Then wrap in plastic again and continue to thaw it in the fridge the rest of the way?
    I need the cake for Sunday evening and I’m trying to figure out my timings, the more specific you could be would be best for this amateur hopped up on inspiration but no skill! Lol

    Thanks again, your videos are so helpful!!

    • Ellen,
      Check out this article: Wedding Cake Timing. It gives a breakdown on what to do each day using this type of method. Even though you are not making a wedding cake, all the same rules apply. You may be able to shave one day off this schedule since you are just making one cake. I hope this helps!

      • This is perfect! Thanks so much, and for getting back to me so quickly! I’m excited to move forward and see what I end up with. Thanks again for all your information, your website and videos are a huge help! You’ve empowered and inspired me!
        Thanks Kristen!

  4. I Kristen,

    Thank you for the informative videos. My question, is whether I can use this filling method after my cake layers are already frozen. I’ve wrapped and frozen them all separately. Can I fill in the pan and put back into the freezer before the cakes get time to thaw? Or am I better off assembling the filling after the cakes have half-thawed… when I would crumb coat that is.

    Thanks so much

    • Yes you can assemble when the layers are still frozen, as long as they have already been cut. Just don’t try to cut your cake layers when the cake is frozen.

  5. Hi Kristen,
    Just wanted to say what a great technique.
    Since I have adopted this method the stress when it comes to doing a cake has been lessened considerably.
    I did a friends wedding cake recently that was a great success and am in the middle of sculpting a car cake.
    Just having a coffee and chillin out while reading your blog.
    You are seriously the bomb.
    Noreen from Aust.

  6. Hi Kristen. Thank you for all the wonderful information on your site. I am making a cake for my sisters birthday and I am a little concerned about the time line from freezer to day, how long will it stay fresh in the refrigerator? I will have to take it out of the freezer a few days before the party for it to thaw out and decorate. Will it still be fresh by the day.
    Cheers Diana

  7. This is awesome. You have given me more information with the three short video than the school give me. I’m going to school for Baking & Pastry Chef Degree and the information is not as near informative. You break it down into detail and show at the same time how it suppose to look. Thank you and I will continue to watch your videos and save for further use.

  8. Hi im so glad i came across your site while looking to make a birthday cake i could freeze and how to go about it.Im in Australia and i will be telling everyone i know about your wonderful informative tutorials.stress has been lifted now thanks so very very much.

  9. Hi Kristen I watched your video on filling and freezing my ? Is how much filling do u use in between the layers? I bought your book cake decorating with modeling chocolate what a great book and good ideas!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

  10. Hi Kristen. I just came across you whilst looking to freeze cakes. My question isn’t about freezing a cake right now. I have only just recently started to make cakes and really enjoy doing so, i made my first ever cake covered in fondant, i don’t really know how to explain properly what i mean lol. Once i put the fondant on the cake mmmm the only way i can explain is that it kind of had a bit of a bulge. It was a square cake. The fondant seemed to droop. I trimmed it round the bottom perfectly but then i went out of the kitchen when i came back i had to trim it again lol. Do you think maybe i might have put to much butter cream on for the crumb coat. Any advice would be wonderful. I live in the uk…..

    • Amelia,
      I’m going to guess that was due to a combination of these two factors:
      1. The crumb coat being too thick, as you suspected. The crumb coat should be so thin that you can see the cake through it. It acts only as a binder in this instance to help the fondant adhere to the cake. Any more buttercream than is needed to help the fondant stick tends to just get squishy and cause things to droop/fall.
      2. The fondant being too thick, which made it quite heavy, which caused it to pull itself down.
      It could be due to other factors as well. Not knowing the shape of the cake makes this question harder to address but mostly likely, the issue was due to the above.

  11. Hi Kristen
    I only have two inch pans will that work ok to torte them? I have used parchment paper to extend the top of an Ice cream cake. Another question What is sponge cake? My mother made a sponge cake when I was a kid and it was in a tube pan 5″ tall, thats what I think about when you speak of sponge cake..also is it a dryer cake and need a simple syrup? Thank You, Karen

    • Sponge is a generic term for the cake part of a filled cake. It could mean any type of cake. I believe this is food industry speak for that element, at least where I was trained. Funny how it makes you think of this tube cake memory! Yes the two inch pans will work if you extend them with a cake collar using the same trick as this method for making tall cakes.

  12. Hi!
    I’m a few weeks away from my own wedding and, the crazy person that I am, decided to make my own wedding cake. I love your cake filling method. The cakes cut beautifully and remain moist.
    I was just wondering if this method would work for a naked with an ermine frosting and fruit filling? I don’t intend to have a crumb coat and I don’t want the filling to spill over the sides. I’m also trying to reduce the sweetness and buttery taste of most frostings. I just don’t know how the flour frosting will be after it has thawed.

    • Yes – I have gotten good feedback from readers who used this method to make naked cakes. It works well as long as the cake doesn’t shrink considerably away from the pan (if it does, I recommend making a collar out of parchment, wax paper or acetate so everything remains snug.

      I can’t see anything in a basic ermine filling recipe that would prevent it from freezing well. I have frozen it myself a couple of times. Just be careful to arrange the fruit inside the filling layers so it’s not too close to the edges and don’t add so much fruit that it will make the layers slippery. You will want to make very thin layers of filling in this case for stability’s sake.

      I wish you luck with this project! It’s quite the undertaking to make your own wedding cake but using this filling method plus your choice of a naked cake ought to simplify the process and make it more manageable time-wise. I hope you come back and let us know how it went. I’d love to see photos of your results!

  13. Came across your wonderful site as I was researching freezing cake layers. Here’s my situation: baking a three tier wedding cake (12-9-6in). I live in Fla and the wedding is in NC. I was hoping to follow your freezing method and take frozen cake layers in a cooler to NC on Thursday with a wedding on Saturday. I’m wondering whether allowing the cakes to thaw in the cooler somewhat so they can be worked on Friday? I’m nervous about the whole deal.

  14. I like pudding can you fill a cake with pudding without it sliding, if not what would be a good alternative to puddings?

    • – Avoid bavarian cream. It does not freeze well.
      – Pastry cream, which is basically pudding, works well (provided it’s made correctly – it can be tricky).
      – If using commercial pudding, try decreasing the milk in the recipe, which yields a thicker, more stable result (tip from another baker).
      – Make sure to spread thin layers of filling.
      – When in doubt, pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of each layer of filling.
      – Using this method helps in large part because it forces the layers into a tight, flat, symmetrical shape, and that adds to the stability, even when the fillings are soft.

  15. Hi, can I use merckens super white compound coating to make modeling chocolate for my project? Thanks.

    • I cover fondant cakes when they’re semi-frozen and then seal the surface of the fondant in plastic wrap until the cake is finished thawing in the fridge. This is addressed in the 3rd video installment from this series, which all about condensation and should be coming out in 2-3 weeks.

  16. Kristen, since reading about your way of filling and freezing about 2 years ago, that’s the only way that I’ve done it and yes, it totally works extremely well for the home baker. The cakes stay fresher and more moist and the baker stays much much calmer! Thank you for the tons of professional advice and suggestions that you continue to generously share 🙂

    • Hello Francine, Thank you for sharing. Am I wrong for thinking there are only certain fillings one can use and freeze for this process?

      • Hi Linda. I’m not a professional so take this as a suggestion only. From what I’ve heard fresh fruits do not freeze well, but butter creams and ganache work great. I’m sure that Kristen will reply soon with more detail and you can definitely rely on whatever she says 🙂

        • Francine – thanks! I’m so glad this technique has been useful for you.

          Linda – the only filling I can think of that doesn’t freeze is bavarian. Whole berries can be frozen. They do change in texture (the cell walls burst from expanding, then release juices when defrosting) but they taste the same, are only just a little softer. As long as they are layered next to the cake sponge so that something is there to absorb the moisture that gets released, they work fine. I like to use whole raspberries and blueberries or chunks of apricot. I prefer to puree strawberries since they are too big for filling layers anyway. I show how to layer berries in the next video in the series, which is coming soon.

          • Thank you for your quick reply and all of your great info you share. I would like to ask if you have shared your filling recipes that contain cream cheese? I am not understanding how cream cheese can be used for wedding cakes that can sit out at room temperature for up to 6-7 hours

            • Opps, I found the recipes. With your recipes, are we still able to leave wedding cakes out at room temperature for up to 6-7 hours?

              • Linda,
                The cream cheese recipe is indeed designed to withstand long periods of display and I have used it countless times for wedding cakes.

                At least where I’m located (U.S.), the cake cutting ceremony occurs around hour three of the event. Then the cake gets pulled off the floor and sliced. Thus assuming that the cake is set out on display one hour before the reception begins (i.e. during the ceremony), then typically the full display period of a wedding cake = 4 hours.

                If perchance the ceremony and reception happen to occur in the same place, requiring you to drop the cake off before the ceremony, then the display period = 5 hours.

                So 4-5 hours is the outside limit (at least from what I’ve seen) on wedding cake display.

                Therefore I don’t understand where you are getting this estimate of 6-7 hours. It’s certainly pushing the limits of what a stacked wedding cake could withstand at warm room temperature using natural ingredients like real butter. It’s not impossible but if there was anything structurally unsound about the cake and/or if it was an especially warm day, that would increase your chances of problems.

                Ultimately, as the baker, you get to make the final call about how long the wedding cake sits out on display. You time your drop off according to the schedule and you negotiate with the bride/wedding planner when the cutting ceremony occurs. It should never be a situation where they tell you that the wedding cake will sit out for an inordinate amount of time. The baker calls the shots when it comes to the cake. Therefore I would look at any event schedule that requires 6-7 hour display period and see what I could do about shortening it. If that is not possible, then you can always resort to using a shortening-based filling/frosting and fondant casing to maximize the cake’s durability. But then you would truly be compromising in terms of flavor.

                P.S. I checked out your website to try to figure out where you are located in the world. You do beautiful work! I especially love your stump cake and the baseball cake with the stitching around the top edges. It’s hard to tell where you are situated though. Nowhere on your site could I find a precise geographical location (city, town, address, map). Be sure to plug that info in on every page of your site so the local search engines can find you and refer you to potential customers nearby. On your contacts page, it should list all the surrounding cities/towns that you service, as those keywords will help customers find you.

                Hope this helps!

                • Kristen, I live in Maine. thank you so much for taking the time to explain in depth. Also, many thanks and grateful for the web site tips. I will be sure to do that asap.