Baking Blog

Make Now, Bake Later: A Guide to Freezing Dough and Batters

If you own a retail bakery, you have two choices: Wake up at 3 a.m. to bake everything from scratch every day (um, pass), or learn some quick tricks and work-arounds to achieve fresh-baked goodness in a flash.

My retail bakery days are long gone, but I still use the methods I learned and developed there. With holiday baking just around the corner, these tips will help you save valuable time and energy when company is on the way. You'll be serving freshly baked beauties and they'll never know you barely broke a sweat. 

Freezing batters

Tools for Freezing Batters and Doughs | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

All images via Erin Bakes 

There's much debate in the cake world about whether freezing a cake dries it out. No matter which side of the fence you fall, there's no debating that nothing beats enjoying a freshly baked cake shortly after it comes out of the oven.

Not all cake batters can be frozen, though. If a cake batter is leavened with whipped egg whites, like a chiffon or sponge cake, the freezing process will ruin the batter.

Creaming method cake batters, or quick bread batters that employ oil as the fat, freeze beautifully. I freeze my devil's food cake recipe and black velvet cake recipe all the time. Most batters and doughs can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. 

Freezing Cake Batter | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Tips for freezing cake batter

1. Use dishers or portion scoops to freeze batter in convenient amounts, like single servings for cupcakes or tasting cakes. Use larger containers to quickly have enough batter for a loaf pan cake or layer cake. 

2. Store small portions in single-serving reusable freezer containers. Leave a half-inch or so of space at the top to allow for the batter to expand and contract during the freezing and thawing process. 

3. Store larger amounts of cake batter in zip-top freezer bags, smooshing all of the air out first so that the bag lays flat in the freezer. 

4. Put the cake batter in the fridge to defrost the night before you want to use it. Give the batter a stir and portion into prepared cake pans. Bake according to your recipe. 

5. Defrosted cake batter straight from the fridge will have a tighter crumb than cake batter that comes to room temperature before baking. 

Freezing dough

Cure a cookie craving or start the day with a piping-hot scone by baking pre-shaped doughs straight from the freezer. I have yet to meet a cookie, scone or pâte à choux dough that didn't freeze well for me. Here are some tips for impressing on the fly with frozen doughs. 

Freezing Cookie Dough | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Cookie doughs

Use a disher to scoop uniform rounds of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Pop the sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen solid. Gather up the frozen cookie dough balls and store in a large zip-top freezer bag. Pull single cookies as needed (or wanted), or bake the whole bunch at once. 

Some cookie doughs bake perfectly straight from the freezer. Others work better if thawed first. Test a cookie or two with your own recipe. 

Freezing Cookie Dough | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

For slice-and bake cookies, shape dough into a log on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll the plastic wrap up around the dough. Grab both ends of the wrap at the same time and spin the log, twirling and tightening the plastic wrap around the cookie dough. Place the log of dough in the freezer. Slice off cookies as needed. Cutting cookies is easiest from frozen dough.

Freezing Cookie Dough | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Pâte à choux

Freeze pâte à choux puffs using a similar process. Pipe mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Pop the sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen solid. Gather the frozen dough mounds into a large zip-top freezer bag. Frozen pâte à choux should be baked straight from the freezer. 

Scones

To freeze scones, place shaped dough (typically rounds or triangles) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Follow the same freezing and storage process as the scooped cookie dough. Bake scones straight from the freezer or allow the dough to come to room temperature before baking. Top scones with cream or a dusting of sugar before putting in the oven.  

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13 Comments

Debbie Penner-Yrigollen

I would love to try your classes on line. Being, I love to bake but when it comes to frost cookies and or cakes it becomes a challenge for me I have tremors. That’s why I don’t go for classes but I wish I would just take a chance just once

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi Debbie! I definitely encourage you to give it a try! If you’re afraid to try out a whole class, maybe start with one of these tutorials on the blog? I’ve always felt that baking is more about the experience of creating something, rather than the beauty of the finished product. All that matters is that you have some fun! 🙂 Should you decide to give a full class a try, definitely pick one up during one of Crafty’s big sales. And if you’d like to try one of my classes I have 50% off links to all three of them on my website, http://www.eribakes.com. Hope you decide to give a cake a try! 🙂

Reply
Debbie

We never know how things will turn out unless we try. Think about the people that studder yet can make some of the most beautiful music in the world. My daughter has tremors but can still frost a cake or cookies. It is a proven fact that certain actions can sooth the mind and make the impossible, possible. Your fear of not doing, may the the single factor that does not let you relax and try. Please, pick a easy class and work with it. Practice is the key. I do not have tremors and still can’t frost a cake. It is worth the try and even if it doesn’t work out at least you know. Good luck and please don’t feel alone.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement for Debbie! 🙂

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Mary Alfonso

I have always wanted to know how to freeze cookie dough. Thanks for the tip on cake dough also.

Reply
Mollie

Has anyone ever successfully frozen chocolate chip muffin batter made with oil or butter?

Reply
Erin

Hi Mollie! I have a muffin batter that contains butter and sour cream that I’ve successfully frozen. My advice would be to mix the chips in before you freeze. I’ve found that adding things after a batter has been thawed can cause it to deflate and become over worked. Hope this helps!

Reply
Richard

Boy what timing! I have a question for you. I want to give my Mom my smaller bundt pans which use 1/2 the recipe each and I was gonna tell her to bake both cakes and freeze the other baked cake for later but I think she would prefer to freeze the batter and bake fresh. Can I tell her to divide the batters into the pans and freeze it in the pan or would there be some separation?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi Richard! I would portion the batter into a container before freezing it, allow it to thaw in that container before adding it to the pan, and then bake. My concern with freezing in the pan would be that the cake wouldn’t release very well after baking. I would think the layer of pan spray or butter wouldn’t hold up in the freezing and thawing process. Hope this helps! Thanks

Reply
Royce R. Baucke

So pleased I asked this question to Mr. and Mrs. GOOGLE – because they replied by sending you.
I want to freeze the cake mixture (Batter) of a Carrot Cake – will this freeze ok having raw carrot in the mix? Thankyou for offering such great ideas and tips previously. Cheers.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I have successfully frozen carrot cake before. Just give the batter a quick stir once it’s thawed. Thanks!

Reply
Shana

I have a question. I am making cupcakes for my daughter’s daycare next Thursday night for her party on Friday. For her family birthday party on Super Bowl Sunday I am making a cake for her using a Wilton T-Shirt pan. I have a new cake recipe that uses a box base and has sourcream and oil added to the batter. The recipe would be the perfect amount for both the cupcakes and the t-shirt cake. My question is, do you recommend I freeze the batter Thursday night and bake the cake on Sunday or bake the cake Thursday night and freeze the cake itself? Thanks in advance!

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I have actually never frozen box mix, so I unfortunately don’t have an answer on that one. Are you using the WASC recipe or a variation of it? I have seen on other cake forums that people have successfully frozen that batter. The key is to let it thaw in the fridge overnight and come to room temperature before baking. Another thought, why not halve the recipe and make it fresh each time? Measure or weigh the cake mix and divide it in half for each time you need to make it. Hope this helps!

Reply

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