Cupcakes are a delicious treat for each and everyone of us. We can’t get enough of them and wish there was a neverending supply, like each time you walk into the kitchen there’s a plate of perfect cupcakes just waiting for you. They refill every time you enter the kitchen. Ah but there’s something you can do about this.
You can make cupcakes ahead of time, in a large batch, and then freeze them. But would they freeze well ? Would the buttercream separate ? Is there a difference between frosted and unfrosted cupcakes ? This information could be a game changer for those who want cupcakes on the regular but aren’t sure how long said cupcakes will last in storage.
Do cupcakes freeze well ?
Yes, cupcakes freeze very well and they can be kept in the freezer for up to three months, preserving both their flavor and structure. Both frosted and plain cupcakes freeze beautifully, so there’s no need to fret.
You need a bit of preparation before you stick any cupcakes in the freezer, to make sure their icing stays put. And a fairly wide and tall airtight container will be necessary, especially fi your freezer is crowded.
Next we’ll take a look at how to freeze frosted and unfrosted cupcakes, how to thaw them, a a few general questions about freezing cupcakes.
Freezing unfrosted cupcakes
If your cupcakes are unfrosted then all you need is the airtight container, as long as it’s freezer-safe. Meaning it should be a sturdy container, preferably transparent, and with a very good closing mechanism.
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If you try and use an old ice cream tub it’s likely going to be difficult to close properly, leading to ice developing onto your cupcakes. Something like a food container with clips on the side is best.
Make sure your cupcakes are room temperature. You can give them 2 hours to be sure. When cool, you have a decision: you can either wrap them in plastic wrap and then place them in the container, or leave them as-is.
If you wrap them you can store them in two layers, depending on how tall your container is. This way when you need just a few cupcakes you can take a few out and they won’t stick to the others. If you don’t wrap them then you can only do one layer in the container.
Once the cupcakes are in their container, make sure to place them level so they don’t fall over.
Freezing frosted cupcakes
If your cupcakes are frosted you have an extra step to make, and you need to consider just how tall your container is. You have to account for the cupcake’s height, frosting included, and give it about 1 cm extra on top.
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Frosted cupcakes are already cooled, so you can begin by placing them in the container in a single layer, and placing the container in the freezer. Here you have another decision. You can take them out after an hour or so, to wrap them up in plastic to make sure they will not stick to the others and they keep their frosting on.
Or you can leave them as-is, but be careful where you place them in the freezer. If you knock the container over you risk breaking the frosting off.
How to thaw frozen cupcakes
Thawing frozen cupcakes is easy, as long as you’ve got a cooling rack. It’s best to do this overnight, in the fridge, but it can be done on the counter as well. If you’ve wrapped them in plastic, unwrap them before thawing.
The cooling rack is there to make sure the bottom of the cupcakes does not get too wet as condensation pools at the bottom. You can get around this by taking off the wrappers before thawing (if possible). If not, you can leave the wrappers on and the cupcakes will be just a little more moist, without being soggy.
Do not thaw cupcakes in the microwave ! You risk melting part of the frosting and having it slide everywhere. Plus, you can easily get the cupcake hot in some places and still frozen in some. Have a bit of patience and give them time to thaw properly.
Keep in mind when thawing cupcakes
There’s a few things that will happen when you’re thawing your frozen cupcakes, so keep an eye out for them:
- condensation can be blotted away with a paper towel
- any fruit pieces on the frosting will be soft and watery
- sprinkles may bleed into the buttercream
- you can push back frosting with a butter knife
Do frozen cupcakes taste the same ?
Yes, frozen cupcakes taste just as good as the fresh ones. As long as the container you put them in is completely airtight, and you’ve also wrapped them in plastic wrap, they cannot catch any odd smells or flavors.
And of course, don’t let them sit in the freezer for more than 3 months. Any longer than that and they may develop some freezer burns and the taste will eventually degrade.
What you may notice in your thawed cupcakes is that they’re a bit more moist, and softer than usual. This is because all that condensation that happens when they’re thawing is eventually absorbed by the cupcakes. We still recommend using a cooking rack to keep the bottom of the cupcakes from getting soggy.
Can I leave frosted cupcakes out overnight ?
You can leave frosted cupcakes on the counter overnight, but you still have to provide a safe container for them. This is mostly to prevent any dust of spore from settling onto your cupcakes.
If your kitchen or home is fairly cool during the night the cupcakes should survive just fine. Depending on how sturdy your buttercream is, the cupcakes may need a bit of refrigeration.
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How long do cupcakes last in the fridge ?
In the fridge you can expect cupcakes to keep their flavor and be in top shape for about 3-4 days. By the 5th day the flavor will start to change a little, so we recommend freezing the other cupcakes if you have a lot of them.
Cupcakes can dry out in the fridge, especially parts of the cake that are exposed to air. So wrap them in plastic loosely, ot place them in an airtight container if you have a big enough one.
If you’re wondering how long you ca keep thawed cupcakes they’re good for about 3 days after thawing.
And that’s pretty much it. Now you can go ahead and make or buy cupcakes to your heart’s content. As long as you’ve got space in the freezer you can have as many cupcakes as you like.