There are several reasons why you might need to store frosted cupcakes overnight.
Perhaps you accidentally made too many to be eaten in one sitting.
You could be preparing for an event the next day and need to keep them fresh.
You might be making the cupcakes as a gift for someone else.
It’s actually easier than you might think to store frosted cupcakes and keep them nice and fresh for the next day.
You can also store them for much longer than overnight if you use the technique.
Keep reading to find out the best way to store your frosted cupcakes.
Why Should You Make Cupcakes Ahead Of Time?
Before we look at storing your frosted cupcakes, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might decide to make your cupcakes ahead of time.
If you are preparing for an event, such as a party that you are hosting or organizing, it makes sense to bake and decorate your cupcakes the day before.
This gives you one less thing to do on the day of the event, freeing up your time for other tasks.
Making your cakes the day before you need them leaves you more time to fix any mistakes.
If you use the wrong ingredients or overcook the cakes, you will still have plenty of time to make another batch.
If you have a large quantity of cupcakes to make then you will need time and oven space.
For this reason, it can benefit you to stretch out the baking over two days.
If you are gifting your cupcakes to someone then you may want to make them the day before so you can get them ready and packaged without having to rush.
Should You Frost Your Cupcakes Before You Store Them?
If you decide to make your cupcakes ahead of time, should you also frost them before you store them?
A lot of people leave the frosting until just before the cupcakes are served, but this is not always a good idea.
There are actually several reasons why it might be more beneficial to frost the cupcakes before they are stored.
Frosting cupcakes and getting the decorations just right can take a bit of time, so doing it the day before means that you don’t need to rush.
You can take your time, and if you make any mistakes you have plenty of time to rectify it.
Frosting your cupcakes the day before can actually help them to stay fresher.
The frosting acts as a barrier between the cake and the air, preventing them from turning stale.
This works best with buttercream frosting as it is high in fat, and fat acts as a preservative. It also helps to keep the cakes moisture
Cupcakes will often store better and remain more fresh if they are stored with frosting on rather than without.
What Is The Best Way To Store Frosted Cupcakes?
There are several steps you need to follow if you want to store your frosted cupcakes correctly in order to keep them as fresh as possible.
Step One – Let The Cakes Cool
The first step is to let your cupcakes cool. This is very important as they will keep releasing steam as they cool.
If you try to wrap them while they are still warm they will release moisture and sweat, increasing the chance of them growing bacteria and mold.
If you place them in the refrigerator when they are warm they could turn sticky rather than soft, and they are also more likely to come away from the cupcake case.
Decorating warm cupcakes will also result in the frosting melting and losing its shape, ruining the decoration of your cupcake.
Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and leave them until they are room temperature.
Step Two – Choose A Suitable container
Choosing the right container is important if you want your cupcakes to stay fresh. They need to be stored in an airtight container.
This will keep them away from excess moisture, whilst also preventing them from drying out and going stale due to contact with air.
The container needs to be deep enough to store the cupcakes without the lid pressing down on the frosting.
It also needs to be the right size to fit the cupcakes in without stacking them or squashing them together.
You may need to use several containers.
If you don’t have an airtight container then you can use plastic wrap. You will need to place the cupcakes on a plate or a tray, and then plastic wrap them.
You will need to be extra careful not to squash the frosting with the plastic wrap.
If possible, place them in a cardboard box and then plastic wrap the box, as this will protect the frosting.
One trick is to place the cupcakes uncovered in the refrigerator for up to an hour first.
This will allow the frosting to harden, making it less vulnerable to being knocked or misshapen when you plastic wrap the cupcakes.
If you are using whipped cream rather than buttercream then you really need a plastic container. The cream will not harden and any attempt to use plastic wrap will be disastrous.
Step Three – Prepare Some Space
Once you have decided on your containers, you then need to decide where to store them. You have several options.
Wherever you choose, you will need to make sure that there is enough space and that cupcakes are not going to get knocked or have any items placed on top of them.
Room Temperature Storage
The first option is to store the cupcakes at room temperature. This is ideal if you intend to eat the cupcakes within 24 to 48 hours.
The airtight container will prevent the cupcakes from going stale, but there is no risk of them turning hard in the fridge.
Your cupcakes will stay fresh and delicious.
This option is not suitable if you are using whipped cream instead of buttercream frosting, or if you are keeping the cupcakes for longer than 2 days.
Alternatively you could keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator.
This can work with unfrosted cupcakes, buttercream cupcakes, whipped cream cupcakes, or even cream cheese cupcakes.
Cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days without turning hard or day.
Make sure you remove the cupcakes from the fridge about an hour before serving.
This will allow the cakes to return to room temperature and to soften up.
At room temperature, the cupcakes will be the right texture and they will have the most flavor.
The final option is to store the cupcakes in the freezer. You will need to wrap them up nice and tightly to ensure that they don’t dry out or get freezer burn.
If you store your cupcakes in the freezer they can keep for up to 3 months!
This can be done with unfrosted cupcakes or buttercream cupcakes.
It can also work with cream cheese cupcakes, though the icing may separate during thawing. It is not recommended for whipped cream cupcakes.
Make sure you take the cupcakes out of the freezer 2 to 3 hours before you intend to serve them to make sure that they defrost completely and reach room temperature.
Which Storage Option Is Best?
The storage option you choose to use depends on when you plan to eat the cupcakes and what type of icing you intend to use.
If you host a lot of events or make a lot of cupcakes then you might want to freeze unfrosted cupcakes in batches.
You will always have cupcakes that you can thaw and decorate when you need them.
This gives you the option to choose and make the icing depending on the event that you are preparing the cupcakes for.
If you are making cupcakes ahead of time for a party, then you can make them ahead of time and do all of the decorations to free up your time on the day.
You can then store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a day or two.
If you have used whipped cream, you will need to store them in the refrigerator or decorate them on the day of the party.
For big events such as Christmas or Thanksgiving when you will be very busy, you could make and decorate your cupcakes a month or two in advance and keep them in the freezer.
This will give you one less thing to worry about. It will also ensure that you always have a tasty dessert to hand.
All you need to do is remember to take them out of the freezer so the cupcakes can thaw and come up to room temperature before serving.
If you are making cupcakes to give to someone as a gift, it is best to present them when they are as fresh as possible so the person has more time to eat them.
You may want to write up a little card with different storage instructions so they know how to make sure that their cupcakes will last.
Do These Storage Options Work For All Cakes?
These storage ideas can be great for larger cakes, not just cupcakes.
Remember that whipped cream or fresh cream icing needs to be kept in the refrigerator, not at room temperature or in the freezer.
You can store large cakes whole or in individual slices.
It can be great to keep a cake in the freezer frozen in slices, so you can defrost a piece whenever you’re in the mood for a sweet treat.
Remember that a larger cake will take longer to thaw or come up to room temperature than a small cupcake, so you will need to allow plenty of time for the cake to soften and warm up if it has been kept in the refrigerator or the freezer.
With these storage solutions you won’t need to worry about trying to eat all of your cupcakes in one sitting.
You can keep cupcakes fresh for up to 2 days at room temperature, 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator, or even up to 3 months in the freezer.
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