When to frost cupcakes

When to frost cupcakes? Our top tips for fantastic frosting

Cupcakes are awesome. They make the perfect bite-sized treat for almost every occasion you can think of. Whether it’s a centerpiece show-stopper at a wedding or a colorful display at your child’s birthday party, these miniature treats never fail to have guests of all ages coming back for more.

We all know that a great cupcake needs more than just some pretty frosting. Arguably the most important element to a perfect cupcake is the texture of the sponge. There are plenty of factors that can alter the density of a cake, like the butter, for example, which can make the sponge dense (did you know using oils as a substitute will help lock in the moisture?)

While the art of perfecting the perfect cupcake batter is undoubtedly an important piece of the puzzle, it’s the beautiful frosted finish that usually attracts the most attention. The sky really is the limit when it comes to frosting cupcakes; your choice of colors, design and flavors is nothing short of mind-boggling.

That said, before you start going crazy with the frosting, it’s important to let your cupcakes rest and sufficiently cool. Here, I will share with you the secret to knowing when to frost cupcakes and guarantee the perfect show-stopping finish.

How long should cupcakes cool before frosting?

As with most baked goods, the cooling phase is just as important as the baking process when it comes to cupcakes. Once you have finished baking, remove the cupcakes from the tin and place them on a wire rack. This will not only help them cool faster but will also stop the cupcakes from sweating at the bottom and help retain their shape. It also helps cupcakes rise perfectly too.

It is best to leave the baked cakes on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before frosting. However, it may take longer to cool properly during the summer months. It all depends on the temperature in your kitchen, so adjust the chilling time accordingly. 

Ensure your kitchen is well ventilated to allow cool air to circulate around the mini sponges. Also, keep the cupcakes away from direct sunlight. Finally, keep the baked treats away from hot ovens and let them cool for up to one hour.

If time isn’t on your side, and you don’t have an hour to wait for them to cool, you can place the sweet sponges in a fridge for 20 minutes.

There is nothing worse than going to frost your mini cakes only to find out they’re still too hot. Ideally, you should try to avoid having your buttercream ready before the cupcakes have fully cooled down. This is because the icing may begin to set, especially if the kitchen is cool. Therefore, you will have to beat the mix again, adding extra work to your day.

How to cool cupcakes fast?

When it comes to cooling cupcakes, patience and time are the key ingredients. If you are in a hurry and need to frost your miniature treats for a special occasion, we have some tips that will help you. After placing the cakes on a cooling rack, keep them away from hot ovens or the sun if your kitchen has windows. 

Ensure there is a sufficient gap between the work surface and the cooling rack, as this will allow airflow to surround the treats. Also, make sure not to leave the baked goods on a hot tabletop where you may have removed a baking tray from the oven. Additionally, you could put the cupcakes near the air conditioning system in the kitchen to cool them faster.

When to frost cupcakes

Unless you plan on freezing your cakes and saving them for a later date, the best time to frost cupcakes is shortly after they have finished cooling down.  

Generally, it is best to frost cupcakes on the same day you baked them. Frosting cupcakes after they have finished cooling will help keep the cake fresh as it protects the exposed sponge from moisture loss. Aside from preventing the cupcakes from going stale, frosting cupcakes sooner, rather than later, also offers some extra advantages. 

Leaving your frosting to the last minute means you will have an anxiety-inducing time constraint hanging over your head as you attempt to apply that show-stopping finish to your cakes. Giving yourself plenty of time to frost your cupcakes will also give you a margin of error to fix any minor mistakes that pop up during the decorating process.

How to store cupcakes?

Have you ever tried to frost your cupcakes only to discover the sponge was too dry? Well, there are a few ways to save your delicate treats after working so hard to create the perfect batter. Sponges in general will become dry if they are not stored in airtight containers away from heat. Here are a few tips you can take away to ensure your mini cakes keep their moisture.

Prepare a plastic container with baking paper at the bottom to ensure the cupcakes don’t stick. First, place the cakes side by side along the tray. Next, place the correct lid on top of the container and place it inside the fridge or freezer. Be mindful that your sweet treats don’t end up with freezer burn. To prevent this, you can place a sheet of baking paper on top of the cupcakes before closing the lid. It is also best to store them at the front of the freezer rather than in the back, which is more chilled.

How to store frosted cupcakes?

After icing the cupcakes, you want to make sure that your creative work remains intact. You may think that placing them on a flat tray in the fridge is fine. However, they may get knocked over, or the frosting touched accidentally by someone reaching for an item in the refrigerator. Also, the fridge’s air will seep into the frosting and cause the sugar to break down and run down the cupcake.

After frosting cupcakes, place them in an airtight container with a secure lid. This will ensure they don’t become dry and stale. In addition, you can leave the iced cakes in the fridge overnight. Make sure to leave them outside the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving them. There’s nothing worse than eating hard buttercream, so this allows time for the frosting to soften!

How far in advance can you make cupcakes? 

The fantastic thing about baked goods is that you have the flexibility to organize your workload. It will save you time and last-minute adjustments if you have your sweet creations prepared ahead of time. Cupcakes can be stored in the fridge, inside an airtight container for up to two days.

However, if you are preparing for an event that requires a variety of flavors that need more than two days to get ready, you can place the cupcakes in an airtight plastic container and put them in the freezer for up to three months. This will keep the moisture locked in and prevent the sponge from drying out. 

How long after frosting cupcakes can you keep them?

If you are frosting cupcakes in advance to save you time and stress on the big day, they will usually last for two days. The cakes will keep better by storing them in a closed container, away from heat. There are various toppings that will affect the shelf-life of the finished mini desserts.

For example, Italian meringue icing should be eaten on the same day as it will begin to seep if kept longer. Buttercream can last up to two days and should be kept away from the heat as the decoration may start melting. In essence, cupcakes are best enjoyed when they are freshly made on the same day. 

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If you are thinking about frosting cupcakes for a special occasion, then consider the piping techniques and decorations you will use. It’s equally important that you have a good arsenal of cupcake tools at your disposal too.

As a general rule, you can frost cupcakes the day before and add the sprinkles on top the next day. Always make sure to add your customized decorations the day after to avoid colors breaking down into perfectly iced cupcakes.

Happy baking!