How to Cool a Cake Fast?

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Ever found yourself in a baking situation where you’ve whipped up an amazing cake, but time is against you? Maybe unexpected guests are arriving sooner than you thought, or perhaps you’re racing against the clock to get your cake frosted and decorated for a special occasion and you need to cool a cake fast.

In these instances, waiting for your cake to cool naturally can feel like an eternity. But, we all know the cardinal rule: never frost a hot cake unless you want a melty, sliding disaster!

How to Cool a Cake Fast?

This is where quick-cooling techniques come into play. The good news is that there are several ways to cool a cake quickly, ensuring it’s ready for frosting and decoration in a fraction of the typical time.

Techniques to Cool a Cake Fast

Unfortunately, we don’t have all the time to wait for our cake to cool down—especially if hungry visitors are waiting for it to be done. 

Take a look at these techniques to speed up the cooling process: 

  • Let it come up to room temperature: The first step is to simply let the cake sit out at room temperature for a little while. Don’t try to rush things by putting a hot cake in the fridge or freezer—that rapid change in temperature can lead to condensation and make the cake soggy.
  • Remove it from the pan: About 10-20 minutes after the cake comes out of the oven (when it’s cool enough to handle), gently remove it from the pan. This allows air to circulate around the cake and speeds up the cooling process. You might want to use a wire rack for best results.
  • Use a cooling rack: A cooling rack allows air to circulate around all sides of the cake, speeding up the cooling process. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can elevate your cake on some makeshift props, ensuring airflow underneath.
  • Place it in an ice bath: One of the fastest ways to cool a cake quickly without putting it in the refrigerator is to cool it in an ice bath. To do this, you’ll need a separate larger container and enough ice to surround your cake pan. Fill the larger container with ice, then set your cake pan on top of the ice and let it cool for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, just in case the ice melts and the cake sinks into the water.
  • Cut it into pieces: If you’re really pressed for time, you can cut the cake into smaller pieces to cool. Be careful with this method though—cutting a warm cake can lead to more crumbs, and this might not be the best option if you need the whole cake for decorating.
  • Refrigeration or freezing: As a last resort, once the cake has cooled somewhat at room temperature, you can put it in the fridge or freezer to finish cooling. Wrap it lightly in plastic wrap to prevent drying out or absorbing other food odors. Monitor it closely to prevent the cake from freezing completely, which would make it more difficult to frost.

Factors to Consider Before Rapidly Cooling Your Cake

The Type Of Cake

There are many different kinds of cake; some require special care during the cool-off process. For example, a freshly baked sponge cake must be removed from the pan and immediately transferred to the rack. 

Not doing so will make the bottom of the cake extra moist and slushy, an undesirable texture for these kinds of cake. 

Cheesecake, on the other hand, requires an entirely different method for cooling, which involves leaving it in the oven for 20 minutes, then transferring it to wire rack to cool for 2 hours, followed by at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Why Should You Let a Cake Cool Properly?

Allowing a cake to cool properly before frosting is a cardinal rule in baking, and it’s important for several reasons:

  • Prevent melted frosting: Frosting, whether it’s buttercream, cream cheese, or ganache, tends to melt when spread over a warm or hot cake. This can lead to a frosting layer that’s runny, thin, or uneven. It can also cause layers to slide off if you’re making a layered cake.
  • Improved texture: When a cake comes out of the oven, the cooking process hasn’t completely stopped. The residual heat continues to cook the cake, helping it settle and firm up to its ideal texture. Cutting or frosting it too soon can interrupt this process, potentially leading to a crumbly or less stable cake.
  • Easier to handle: A fully cooled cake is simply easier to handle. It’s less likely to crumble when you’re applying the frosting, and it’s easier to cut if you’re leveling the top or slicing it into layers.

While it can be tempting to rush the process, allowing your cake to cool completely before frosting will result in a more beautiful, delicious, and structurally sound dessert. Cooling might take some patience, but it’s an essential step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

FAQs

Can I speed up cooling a cake?

Speed up the cooling process by placing your wrapped cake in the fridge or freezer, placing it in an ice bath, or cutting it into pieces.

Can you put a cake in the fridge to cool down?

Yes, place your wrapped cake in the fridge to speed up the cooling process. This is much more effective than leaving it out on the countertop.

Can you put a warm cake in the fridge to cool?

It is not advisable to place the warm cake in the fridge as the temperature difference might cause it to crack, and it can also cause the temperature in the refrigerator to go up, which is bad for the other food stored in there. Allow the cake to cool down on the countertop for about 10- 15 minutes before transferring it to the fridge.

Conclusion

To cool your cake fast, you may slice them into several pieces and allow them to cool on a baking rack. 

At the same time, you may utilize your refrigerator, put your cake in an ice bath, wrap your baking pan with a towel, or use a fan.

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