Cake Decorating Timeline – When should I decorate my cake?
The most common question that gets asked when one has to decorate a cake – when should I decorate my cake? What is the cake decorating timeline that I can use to make sure I have a fresh cake and as well as enough time to decorate.
Most customers think their cakes are baked a day before the event. Right? Often they will make sure to tell you that they want their cake fresh.
But in reality the cakes are baked a few days ahead. Why is that?
Well, cake decorating is time consuming!! So if we baked it at the last minute there is not way we will manage to do as much as we do on that cake. Will we? That’s why often people are confused – when should I decorate my cake?
Technically a cake can be put together in less that 3 hours. Yes you can!
Unfortunately, decorating the cake is such haste can be very stressful and sometimes lack professionalism.
For example – I never decorate my cake almost 12 to 18 hours after it is baked. I believe it needs some resting time. After I crumb coat, cover in buttercream I give my cakes another couple of hours so it will rest. Then when I put the fondant I don’t have to deal with bumps or buldges. I dowel my cakes at least 8 hours before delivery so that I have enough time just in case something goes wrong last minute.
Look at these two cakes here. If you see the steps for my tutorial in this Fondant Cheese and Mice cake you will see that giving the cake time to rest is very important.
Work ahead of schedule – when should I decorate my cake?
There are a lot of things you need to do before you bake the actual cake in an effort to save time later. For example
- You can prepare your cake boards.
- Decorations such as sugar flowers and figurines Sugar flowers and figures can be made as early as two weeks ahead of time. Standard size cake boards can be bought or made ahead of time.-
- Check on your supplies to make the cake.
- Buy the necessary ingredients
- Download any templates or information you need.
Scratch Cakes have a longer shelf life?
Having said that – do you know that if you bake from scratch the cake becomes more tasty in the next few days. It matures into something more delicious. Now I can’t prove that but mom use to say it; so it must be true. Right?
The Dilemma – when should I decorate my cake?
How often as new cake decorators have we wondered – when should I decorate my cake? is it OK if I baked the cake today? Or may be a few days before? Oh I’ll be the first to raise my hand there? I had huge conflict with when should I bake the cake.
Over time I have realized this schedule works best for me. Now there is not right or wrong here; as time passes you may make your own schedule. For now I’ll be happy to share with you mine so you can get started.
To better understanding; lets pick a day say you need the cake for your event on Saturday night.
Day I – Wednesday Night
Make Filling, Frosting including Fondant.
Bake the cake. Cool completely. Wrap well in cling wrap and store in the fridge.
Dress the cake board – if using Fondant or Royal Icing on the whole board.
Day 2 – Thursday Morning
Bring cake, filling and frosting to room temperature.
Day 2 Thursday Afternoon
Level, Tort, fill and crumb coat the cake.
Let set in the fridge for 15 minutes, then cling wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 3 to 6 hours. This helps settle the cake.
Day 2 Thursday Night
For Butter cream cakes
apply second and third coat giving enough time to chill between coats
Back to the fridge to rest.
For Fondant/ Sugar paste cakes
Take cake out of fridge – let rest for an hour at room temperature
Novelty cake get carved and shaped at this point.
Cover with Fondant
Leave at room temperature or fridge if using perishable fillings
The fun part
Day 3 – Friday
Complete design and decorating details including doweling the cake and setting up the tiers.
Decorating the cake board. Adding the additional details like sugar flowers and setting up the figures.
All decorations are completed by night and the cake is left to rest overnight.
Day 4 – Saturday
Check cake for any last minute hi-cups like bulges or burps.
Photograph and pack the cake for delivery.
That’s the usual schedule I use. The exceptions to the rule would be if I have a novelty cake or a wedding cake that requires more decorating time, I would start a day early.
Organization – when should I decorating my cake?
As a cake decorator who does everything from scratch at home, as well as take care of two kids and manage the home, it is very important that I organize and plan my work correctly.
For example; I prefer to bake twice a week, mainly Sunday and Wednesday.
Dedicate one day to making my fillings including butter cream
And one day to making my fondant if I’m using homemade fondant.
That way I am not over whelmed with too much to do for one cake.
The Working Mom – When should I decorate my cake?
I know some of you are working mom who want to make a birthday cake for her kid.
You can bake your cake ahead of time, prepare your buttercream as well as your fondant and freeze these.
Two days before you want to start decorating, thaw it in the fridge first then on the counter.
It’s best to work with semi frozen of chilled cakes. The torte and carve better too!
Once you finish decorating you can keep it on the counter top in a cool place or in the fridge.
This Cake decorating time line was today’s Tip Thursday – in answer to your question When Should I decorate my cakes?
Save this Tip Thursday for later. You can find a collection of my recipes, tips, tutorials here on Pinterest