When in a hurry, knowing how to cool a cake fast can be the difference between disaster and success.
You can’t just directly put the icing on a hot cake unless you want to create a mess and melt the icing which could completely ruin the texture of the cake. The cake should ideally sit for at least about 1 hour to completely cool down.
But what if you don’t have the time? How do you cool a cake fast? There are several ways you can cool a cake. The easiest is to put it on a wire rack and direct a fan towards it, but even this requires some time. If you’re in a rush, you can let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before placing it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Read on below to learn more about how you can use each method to your advantage!
Ideally, when you bake a cake, you need to allow it to rest for at least about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on ambient conditions. If you live in an area that almost always has cold weather then you might get done a bit earlier.
However, given that most homes in colder climates have a regulated indoor temperature, you might have to wait just like everyone else.
Many people don’t think that waiting that long makes sense and that it doesn’t matter whether the cake is hot or cold before adding the icing.
Well, if you think that, then we’re here to burst your bubble. Adding icing to a hot cake is a bad idea! There are two reasons why.
First, a hot cake is bound to lose some moisture or gas while it cools down, if you add icing or frosting on it you may end up with an uneven surface.
And second, the icing on the cake will likely melt and drip down on the plate which will effectively either ruin its look or saturate the cake and make it too moist—without setting the frosting.
This is why the ideal time to add frosting to a cake is when it has reached room temperature.
The heat will escape through the surface which may make it steam or be very hot to the touch, initially. As the cake is introduced to a cooler environment it will start to cool down gradually.
How To Cool A Cake
As mentioned above, a hot cake needs ample time to cool down before you frost it. Here are a few quick ways to bring that temperature down!
Cooling Rack Method
This is the first way to cool a cake quickly and is also traditionally used by many bakers. The rack can bring the cooling time down from a minimum of 1 hour to about 45 minutes.
This means that you will be able to naturally allow the heat to escape from not just the sides but also the bottom of the cake.
You can also supplement this method by directing a table fan towards the cake. Remember, you don’t want to cool it fast or it might start to deflate from within. The goal is to gradually help it lose its excess heat.
Remember, a cake is the hottest at the center. If you were to somehow dissipate that heat you would be able to cool the cake down much more quickly.
This is where this clever method comes in. If you plan to bake a cake and cool it down fast to save time then go with a layered cake.
Having separate removable layers can allow the cake to cool down much more quickly.
If a typical cake can take about 45 minutes, cooling down the individual layers will take about 25 minutes if you keep them on a cooling rack with a fan directed towards them.
This method is the quickest as it will allow you to first work with whichever layer has cooled down first.
For example, you can start with the base and by the time you are done icing it, the other half would have cooled down enough to be worked on next.
Reserve this method for emergencies only. Cooling a cake down fast may cause it to deflate because you wouldn’t allow it to set properly. A hot cake releases gases and heat which enables it to retain its structure.
When you cool a cake too quickly, it will cause it to settle unevenly which means that it might settle more in one area than the other which will ultimately give it a deflated texture.
Some people think that using the freezer is a good idea and a great way to cool a cake down fast. This may be true but it has to be done the right way.
To properly use this method, allow the cake to first cool down on a rack for about 10 minutes.
Then first move the cake to the fridge. Make sure that you keep the cake away from food and cover strong-smelling food like sliced onions or garlic.
Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the fridge. This method should safely reduce the temperature without deflating the cake.
You may also use a thermometer to observe the internal temperature of the cake. The temperature should be around the ambient room temperature.
If it is above 120°F then you should let it cool down more. A cooled-down cake should be around 80°F to 100°F. Anything more may indicate that the cake is still warm.
Things To Keep In Mind
Make sure that you start with the cooling rack method first. You should strive to cool the cake down naturally if your schedule allows for it. If you are in an emergency then you can supplement the cooling rack method with a fan.
Remember to keep rotating the cake so that the fan can cool down every part of the cake. You may need to give this method some time for it to work.
You can probably bring down the cool-down time to about 20 minutes using the “Rest and Fridge” method where you first let the cake cool for 10 minutes on a rack before moving to a fridge for another 10 minutes.
Sure, you can theoretically cool it down even quicker by keeping it in the freezer but that may come with dire consequences. It’s better to use any of the other methods or even the layering method than to directly opt for the freezer method.
The cooling time is highly dependent on the size and type of the cake. A soft sponge cake may be able to cool down more than a thick, floury cake. Likewise, a larger cake will take more time to cool down than a smaller one.
Cooling a cake down can seem like a difficult task because you want to NOT ruin the cake and cool it down fast at the same time so that you can apply the icing and serve it as soon as possible.
However, if you use the right cooling method, you can bring down the resting time from 1 hour to around 20 minutes.
The cooling time depends on the size and type of the cake, so when you are in a hurry, just go with a smaller sponge cake. You can adopt different strategies like layering to allow the cake to cool down faster as well.
Always remember, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry so whatever method you use, please approach it with caution or you might end up spending more time fixing a ruined cake.
Now that we’ve gone over how to quickly cool a cake, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can you cool a cake in a no-frost freezer?
You can cool a cake in a freezer but you will have to first allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes.
The cake may deflate, get stuck to the pan, or become uneven if you move it straight from the oven to the freezer. Reserve this method for extreme emergencies only.
Should you cool a cake while it’s in the pan?
Yes, you can initially let the cake cool while it is still in the pan. Let it cool for about 5-8 minutes before you move it out on a cooling rack. The cake will immediately start to cool when it is out of the baking pan and on a cooling rack.