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making cakes in advance

(19 Posts)
cakeycakeface Tue 22-Mar-16 08:49:37

I've been browsing these threads (didn't know MN had cake threads!) and would like to ask you all about making cakes in advance.

I make my DCs birthday cakes, but usually decorating the night before because I am worried the cake will go stale, and it's usually stressful, me nearly in tears, exhausted. I am always a bit disappointed with the results.

I also have to contend with all the party planning and other party food as well. It kills me. DH gets stressed just in anticipation of the night's drama!

BUT - making their cakes is something I really really want to do myself.

Is there a way to spread the decorating out? Are there recipes that stay fresh? How do you manage it?

(NC for cake)

mrsjskelton Tue 22-Mar-16 09:32:01

If you freeze the cake undecorated then you can make it however far in advance you like! Then a very thin smear of apricot glaze will help a good coat of fondant icing over the whole thing. The cake is now sealed so you just need to protect the icing in a large airtight box. In another day or so crack on with the rest of the decorating.

That's what I'd do anyway!

tkband3 Tue 22-Mar-16 09:36:19

You can definitely make the cake ahead and freeze it undecorated. But fondant icing lasts for quite a long time, so you could definitely defrost the cake and decorate it a couple of days ahead of the birthday.

LizKeen Tue 22-Mar-16 09:46:40

When I made my wedding cake, and a friends, I made the sponge on the Thursday for a Saturday wedding. Decorated on the Friday. It was good for days really, so you could probably do the cake on Wed, decorate on Thurs and it will keep in a container (not in the fridge with fondant) until Sat. So that is 3 days before you need it.

cakeycakeface Tue 22-Mar-16 14:45:44

Are you using a particular recipe, or just an ordinary sponge? I'm not sure my Delia sponge would last three days confused

cakeycakeface Tue 22-Mar-16 14:46:49

Or does the sponge last longer than normal because it has fondant on it - sealed?

LizKeen Tue 22-Mar-16 14:48:34

For two 20 cm tins I make a 12 12 12 6 mixture (or a 8 8 8 4 if I don't need the height required for a wedding cake) and I add a 125ml pot of nat yoghurt and a drop of milk so the mix is silky but not too runny.

LizKeen Tue 22-Mar-16 14:49:18

Yes the fondant seal helps. Once cut store in airtight storage.

cakeycakeface Tue 22-Mar-16 14:56:20

Lizkeen Please can I have your full recipe? What is a 12 12 12 6 mixture? And is that for two 20cm layers making one cake? Please excuse my lack of knowledge.

girlsnamedilemma Tue 22-Mar-16 15:02:52

Can I jump in and ask some more related questions as new baby is due on DD'S birthday and I'm not sure whether to attempt her cake or get one made. I actually love the decorating part so would like to do this if possible.
I will need fondant decorations (fish, seaweed, etc. for an underwater theme)
Can these be made in advance as they are the fiddliest bits? Then how to store and for how long?
Then I can buy a plain cake on the birthday, slap on some blue buttercream and then just assemble the pre made decorations.

LizKeen Tue 22-Mar-16 15:15:27

Yes, sorry. I should have explained better.

12 oz each of self raising flour, butter and caster sugar with 6 eggs. That will make a tall cake, two layers to make one cake. I usually sandwich with some buttercream and jam.


12 oz butter
12oz caster sugar
12 oz self raising flour
6 eggs I use large but I have used medium in a pinch and it was fine
125ml natural yoghurt
a drop of vanilla essence if you have it.

Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle (look like scrambled eggs) you can add a spoonful of flour. Though, I have never worried about it curdling and my cakes have turned out fine.
Then add the sifted flour and mix well. Add the yoghurt and mix well. At this point, you want the mix to dollop off the wooden spoon if held up, but not run off. So if you take a bit of the mix and hold it up it should drop off the spoon itself after a few seconds. I hope this makes sense. So after the yoghurt is added it will be stiff and might need you to shake the spoon to get it to drop off. So add a small splash of milk at a time and mix through, until it dollops off easily.

Then spilt into two greased and lined tins. I usually do this size of cake at around 160-170C fan, for about 25-30 mins but your oven could vary, so check it at 20 mins. A skewer inserted that comes out clean means it is done.

Sorry if I have covered anything you already know. I have had a lot of practice with cakes and with decorating, but I remember how stressful it was when I started.

tkband3 Tue 22-Mar-16 17:36:38

I make a similar recipe to LizKeen - but a chocolate version. It keeps really well and can be made several days in advance. I have made it without the cocoa powder and it works fine.

150ml veg oil
150ml yogurt
60ml golden syrup
3 eggs
170g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
3 tbsps cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt

Beat all the wet ingredients, together with the sugar, then sift in the dry ingredients and beat well. Bake at 160 degrees.

I use this mixture for lots of different kinds of cakes so adjust the time accordingly - cupcakes take 15-20 minutes, two 8" cakes (to make a sandwich cake) will take about 25" each. If I want to make a particularly big cake, I use the whole mixture in one 10" tin and that takes about 35 minutes to cook, and then make another batch (because I only have one 10" tin!).

cakeycakeface Tue 22-Mar-16 18:48:12

Lizkeen and tkband3, thank you very much. So if I make both of these well in advance and freeze them, I assume they need to thoroughly thaw before icing. How long does that take usually?

Also, if I need to 'shape' a cake - carve it into something. Can I use these sponges? And if I freeze them to make then car able, can they go back in the freezer or is that a no no?

And girlsnamedilemma, last year I modelled a zebra for my daughter's cake using modelling paste I bought in Tesco. It went rock solid and is still fine months later. I'll definitely be making bits well in advance next time. Not sure if there is a better/cheaper way to do it though.

tkband3 Tue 22-Mar-16 18:56:54

To be honest, I've not frozen my one and then defrosted it to decorate it. I have made it several (three/four) days in advance, kept it wrapped up in foil and in a cool place (not the fridge) and then iced it. And we have used it for 'shape cakes' - DT1 made a minion and a crown out of it, DT2 has made a guinea pig(!) and the royal orb(!) and I made a Lightning McQueen grin.

Marmaduke10 Sat 26-Mar-16 22:24:34

girlsnamedilemma, are you still planning on creating underwater nautical cake?

Girlsnamedilemma Sun 27-Mar-16 10:48:08

Hi marmaduke - yes I am.
Going to get some paste in next few days/weeks and start making things!

Marmaduke10 Thu 31-Mar-16 07:27:43

Sorry for delay girlsnamedilemma, have u made nautical cake yet? I made mine last week for boy's baby shower, just made it up as went along and was fun, can hide a multitude of fondant icing sins with starfish & rope!!

Imnotaslimjim Thu 31-Mar-16 07:36:16

I use the recipe lizkeen mentioned but without the yogurt on a weekly basis and they keep for a week once decorated. Have a look on youtube for how to crumbcoat it's fairly straightforward and helps give a lovely neat finish

For the fondant decorations, make them when you're ready they keep for ages

SerenaVanDerWoodsen Thu 07-Apr-16 09:45:11

Sorry to jump on this thread but I also need to make a birthday cake.
LizKeen I like the sound of adding yoghurt to keep the cake moist. I need to use a 10/5 recipe, so should I reduce the yoghurt in your recipe proportionally too? Thanks

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