Why It's A Bad Idea To Make Cake Frosting In Advance

Whenever you bake a cake from scratch, you'll want to make sure you dress it with frosting worthy of your efforts. Whether slathering on rich chocolate, lining the edges with mocha, or keeping decorations simple with a thick buttercream, the right frosting can be the crown your culinary creation deserves. Careful frosting requires patience, however, and there are several mistakes you may unknowingly commit when trying to save time. 

Crumbs from full-sized cakes and delicate cupcakes can end up as a clumpy, unattractive mess. The New York Times recommends pairing spongier cakes with lighter frostings and laying down a crumb coat before you begin to decorate. For schedules that don't allow for a full day of kitchen work, consider baking your cake in advance. If you're planning on serving the cake within three days, you may not need to freeze it, according to I Scream for Buttercream. But if you'll be serving your creation beyond that, pop it in the freezer and simply remove your cake when you're ready to decorate. It turns out cold cakes are easier to frost, anyway (via British Girl Bakes), and you can take your time making sure each layer of frosting is just the way you like. 

While working ahead is perfect for the cake itself, you definitely don't want to do that with your frosting.

Fluffy frosting that is easy on the eyes

Frosting is traditionally made from powdered sugar and a fat base — butter, egg whites, or cream — and becomes creamier in texture the longer it is worked (via Crafty Baking). Some bakers make batches of frosting in advance, but this can pose challenges to enthusiastic decorators like ruining the wonderful texture they've worked so hard to create.

In particular, frosting made ahead of time and left to sit in bowls can wilt and become unworkable, according to Bon Appétit. Storing frosting in the refrigerator can dry it out and turn velvety swashes into textures too tough to glide over baked items (via My Recipes). To try and save it and get it back to its original texture, you'll have to fluff the mixture back up while making sure air bubbles don't appear, according to Kitchn

While you certainly can make frosting in advance — and many bakers do — be sure your frosting is stored properly and protected from the air (per Chelsweets), and give it a good mix to get it back to its best condition before using it to decorate your cakes.