The Best Way To Freeze Coffee Cake

Despite its name, coffee cake is a treat for all occasions. Elevate breakfast, whip it out for a quick dessert, or munch on it any time of day; and, sure, you can have a slice with your cup of joe. The point is that having some coffee cake on hand is always a good idea, and the best way to ensure it lasts is to freeze it. 

The ravaging effects of freezing can take a toll, particularly on baked goods, but this can be mitigated by double-wrapping your next coffee cake. To preserve its moist consistency and decadent flavors, the cake needs this extra care to retain aromas, not get freezer burn, and avoid taking on stray freezer smells. It's important to remember that different cakes respond differently to being frozen depending on their moisture levels, but nearly all cakes can safely be frozen. Even cakes with frosting hold up well as long as you give the spread about an hour to firm up before wrapping. 

Freezing can increase the shelf life from a few weeks to about three months, and though it could be safe to eat when frozen for even longer, the flavor and texture of the cake may degrade. Thus, it's a good idea to label it with the date of freezing, and when the craving strikes, a few simple steps can resurrect a properly frozen coffee cake to its former glory.

Double wrap coffee cake before freezing

Before freezing your coffee cake, ensure that it has completely cooled down. A freshly baked cake will need to rest on a wire rack till it's completely cooled, as sealing a warm one will trap the steam and leave you with mush. If it's a leftover coffee cake that's been out of the oven for a few hours, you won't face this issue. You might even consider slicing the cooled cake before freezing it so you can take out only what you need, without having to thaw it whole.

To protect it from the freezer's frigid air, which can dry out the sponge and sap the cake's flavor, wrap it tightly in transparent plastic film. Aluminum foil also works but may be less effective at creating an airtight seal. Whichever you use, wrap a few layers tightly around the cake to ensure no part of it is exposed. For good measure, you can even place the wrapped cake in a large re-sealable freezer bag as an added layer of insulation against the cold, and a final barrier for smells. 

Reawaken coffee cake with a slow thaw and gentle heat

Of course, freezing coffee cake is only half the process; the other half is thawing it out in a way that rejuvenates that signature crumb. Unfortunately, we can't recommend any speedy methods for doing this, as microwaving frozen coffee cake will turn it soggy. The best way to bring it back is to let it defrost at room temperature. If you have the time, you can place it overnight in the refrigerator to begin the thaw, and for coffee cakes with icing, this is the better way to go anyway. 

Before defrosting, whether at room temperature or in the fridge, make sure to uncover the cake or the residual condensation will, again, promote sogginess. You must also ensure you don't leave the cake uncovered too long because it'll dry out. Thinner cakes will defrost faster (about 2 to 3 hours), so check on them every hour.

Once the cake reaches room temperature, it's ready to eat. However, a final step can give it that freshly baked texture and help recover some of the moisture that may have been lost during freezing and thawing. Simply place in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes if you're warming a few slices or 10 to 15 minutes if it's an entire cake. The result should be a gently warmed coffee cake with its aromas and spongy texture reawakened, ready to be enjoyed fresh out of the oven ... again.