The Time Management Tip Ina Garten Swears By When Making Cake

Nothing whips bakers into a frenzy like a last-minute cake order. Be it a quick cookie dough cupcake or easy white cake recipe, the stakes are high and the time begins to run low. There ensues a hurried recipe scan, a hasty ingredient check, and a manic race against time. Thankfully, Ina Garten's tip will revolutionize your baking game. Bakers who often find themselves in a time crunch will be happy to know they can get a head start on preparing their cakes.

The Barefoot Contessa suggests you "make the cupcakes, wrap them tightly, and refrigerate them for a few days." This means you can prepare the cakes (without icing) ahead of time and store them for D-day. Just think about the time you can save. With that tumultuous prep out of the way, you can focus on other important things, particularly frosting.

Ina Garten further proposes you remove the cakes from the refrigerator on the day you plan to serve them. "[B]ring the cupcakes to room temperature, dip them in ganache, allow them to dry, and serve," she advises. It's essentially a matter of waiting. If the cakes were frozen, they would need about an hour sitting on the countertop before they're ready to ice. Otherwise, they may take 30 minutes to come to room temperature once removed from the fridge.

Why Ina Garten's time tip works efficiently

This works because almost any cake will freeze well, particularly those with a high moisture and fat content. Our gooey brown butter cake and death by chocolate cake come to mind. They're both rich and the chocolate cake has an especially moist crumb. On the other hand, the delicate crumb of angel food cake makes it less freezer-friendly, though you may get away with it if freezing for a short period of up to a week.

Another thing is you can make the icing while you wait for the cake to come to room temperature. Normally, this is a step you would cover while the cakes are baking in the oven and then wait for them to cool before icing. In this case, you'd have already eliminated the baking step, so there's only one waiting period and you can make the most of it by preparing your ganache or buttercream.

It's even better if you've already prepared your frosting ahead of time, too. But be warned that this doesn't apply to all frostings. We caution that preparing the wrong kind of frosting, such as cream cheese frosting, beforehand is one of the mistakes you're making when frosting your cakes. On the contrary, for a time-saving preparation throughout, make buttercream frosting only up to a day ahead and all you'll be left to do is simply ice your cakes.