How to Freeze Baked Desserts for Later

It's a breeze to make bake-and-freeze treats!

Make-ahead recipes can be a complete game-changer when it comes to making homemade meals and desserts. If you have a little extra time on a weekday to save you the stress you get from a rushed weekend dinner, why not make dessert ahead and freeze until you need it?

 

Freezing desserts can be a little trickier than freezing meats, broths, and vegetables. There are plenty of things to consider: the consistency of cakes, the buttery frosting that can turn into a melted mess, and frozen cookie dough that might not bake through. Follow these simple guidelines to successfully freeze and bake your next sweet masterpiece!

 


 

COOKIES

 

Most cookie doughs keep beautifully in the freezer. Since cookie recipes usually have large yields, you can always place the extras in the freezer for your next bake day or late night craving. Also, frozen cookie dough makes entertaining unexpected guests a breeze!

 

To freeze drop cookies, like your oatmeal chews and chocolate chips, scoop them out into 2 by 2-inch balls and lay them in a tray to freeze individually. Once they’ve set, you can transfer these dough balls into freezer-safe plastic containers or freezer bags to save space. You can also freeze the dough itself in a freezer-safe plastic container. Let this thaw in the refrigerator overnight before scooping out cookies for baking.

 

To freeze roll-out cookies, like sugar cookies and shortbread, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and pop into the freezer.

 

To bake frozen cookie dough, let them thaw in the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before place in the oven. Most drop cookie doughs will be able to bake through straight from the freezer, but remember to add 2 to 3 more minutes of baking time just to be sure. Frozen cookie dough can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

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CUPCAKES

 

Unfrosted cupcakes must be cooled completely to room temperature before freezing. If you place warm cupcakes in the freezer, their wrappers might peel off. Store them in a freezer-safe plastic storage container, side by side. When they are completely frozen wrap them individually with plastic wrap to avoid frost from forming on your cakes. 

 

Freezing frosted cupcakes is a little bit trickier: you do not want to ruin that delicate, prettily piped buttercream on top. Use the same process of pre-freezing and individually wrapping unfrosted cupcakes, but do not stack them on top of each other or the frosting may lose its shape.

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To thaw both frosted and unfrosted frozen cupcakes, unwrap them from their individual plastic wraps immediately and leave them on a wire rack to thaw to room temperature, about 1 or 2 hours. Frozen cupcakes can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

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LAYER CAKES

 

Let your cake layers cool completely to room temperature before prepping them for the freezer. Once they’ve cooled, trim them into even layers. Wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost these cake layers unwrapped on a wire rack so that they do not get soggy. Anything that defrosts in a plastic wrapper will form a lot of moisture—not a good thing for your cake’s crumb consistency!

 

To freeze buttercream frosting, simply place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze. To thaw, place it in the refrigerator overnight. Before frosting a cake, let the buttercream come down to room temperature and beat it back into spreading consistency. Cakes and buttercream can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

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BARS AND BROWNIES

 

Baked bars and brownies can be frozen whole, covered tightly in plastic wrap. Let these thaw and come down to room temperature before slicing and serving.

 

Brownie batter can be frozen in the prepared tin pan itself, and baked directly from the freezer. Remember to watch these carefully because they will need a few more minutes in the oven.

 

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