Making a homemade cake is a labor-intensive project, but the final result is worth the effort. Baking a cake ahead saves preparation time, and you can freeze the unfrosted cake. Remove the cake from the freezer on serving day, then ice the cake with your favorite frosting. If you're a frequent entertainer, stock your freezer with several cakes. Tightly wrapped cakes retain freshness and quality in the freezer for up to six months.
Cool the freshly baked cake on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, or until it is lukewarm. If the cake is large and measures more than 14 inches in diameter, cooling may require an additional five to 10 minutes.
Run a table knife or a thin metal spatula carefully around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the warm cake from the pan. Place the cooling rack on top of the pan. Holding the cake pan with the palm of one hand and the cooling rack with the palm of the other hand, invert the pan slowly and let the cake slide from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely on the cooling rack, which usually requires at least one hour.
Wrap the cake tightly with two layers of plastic wrap or one layer of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. If the cake is a layer cake, wrap the layers separately.
Label the packaging before placing the cake in the freezer. Note the date and the type of cake, using an indelible marker.
Remove the freezer packaging before thawing. Otherwise the packaging may stick to the cake. Allow the cake to thaw for 20 to 30 minutes before frosting -- until the cake is cool but not frozen solid.
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M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
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