How to store and freeze cupcakes (frosted + unfrosted)

Posted: January 25, 2024 Last modified: January 28, 2024
How to store and freeze cupcakes (frosted + unfrosted)

I’m not the only one that enjoys homemade cupcakes. Are you wondering what’s the best way to store cupcakes? Look no further, you’ve come to the right place. I will tell you everything about how to store and freeze cupcakes. I’ll share my tips voor frosted and unfrosted cupcakes, and even tell you a bit more about cupcakes decorated with fondant or marzipan. This way, you always have fresh cupcakes.

What are cupcakes?

For those just starting out in baking, you may not immediately know what cupcakes are. They are actually small one-person cakes that used to be baked in a “cup,” hence the name. If you’re looking for a nice recipe: these strawberry cupcakes are one of my favorite cupcake recipes.

Although I myself always thought that cupcakes came from England, the very first cupcake recipe can be found in a cookbook written by the American Eliza Leslie in 1828. By the way, cupcakes were eaten in England at the same time as they were at tea parties.

You can fill cupcakes, decorate them with marzipan or fondant, or just spray a nice clump on them. In fact, you can do anything, but a plain vanilla cupcake is still delicious.

Cupcakes are little cakes, so they are stored in the same way as a loaf cake most of the time. This only changes if you have decorated your cupcakes with a nice swirl or perhaps fondant or marzipan. You are probably wondering what’s the best way to store your (un)decorated cupcakes? And where is the best place to store cupcakes? We’re going to cover all of that today so you will know how to store and freeze cupcakes.

How to store and freeze cupcakes 1

Storing unfrosted cupcakes

I like to prepare plain cupcakes this way and bake them in a large batch, so I can be sure the cupcakes will be at room temperature by the time I want to decorate them. And actually, cupcakes are so delicious on their own that decorations are not necessary at all. Especially when you flavored the batter of the cupcakes.

Undecorated cupcakes are always stored in an airtight container outside the refrigerator. This is because they will dry out in the fridge. You can only store them in the fridge if they are frosted. More on that later.

The cupcakes will keep for a couple of days (about 4-5 days). Plenty of time to prepare cupcakes for a birthday, bake sale, wedding or another special occasion. If you really want to prepare your baked goods in advance, you can also freeze cupcakes. Wrap them in freezer bags before putting them in the freezer. I prefer to do this in small portions of 3 or 4 cupcakes. They will keep in the freezer for 3 months.

Freezing cupcakes is ideal for preparing a lot of cupcakes, but also for those leftover cupcakes. It’s always a good idea to have some cupcakes in storage if you’ll ask me.

How to store unfrosted cupcakes

​Store at room temperature

After you baked the cupcakes in their cupcake liners in a baking tray, place the warm cupcakes on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. After that, store them in an airtight container or wrap them in aluminum foil, they will keep for 4-5 days.

Store in the fridge

Can you put cupcakes in the fridge? I wouldn’t do that with unfrosted cupcakes. It’s not necessary and the fridge will dry out your cupcakes.

Store in the freezer

Use a freezer bag for freezing cupcakes. They will keep for 3 months. Make sure they are packaged air tight, because air (and moisture) can cause freezer burn. Freeze them in small portions so you’ll always can take out some frozen cupcakes to enjoy.

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Storing frosted cupcakes

I always wait with piping swirl just before serving. It’s the best option and gives the best results for frosted cupcakes in my experience. To make your baking life easier, I prepare the cupcakes and frosting in advance. it varies by frosting how I store them. Here are some examples of my most used frostings:

  • Buttercream frosting: outside the fridge, in a (dark and) cool spot. I only do this when I make the buttercream at the end of the day and need it the next day, preferably in the morning. Use a plastic container or plastic wrap to store the frosting. Storing it this way reduces the chance of the buttercream splitting. If it does split (mostly after storing in the fridge or freezer), you can just whip it again until it is smooth.
  • Cream cheese frosting: In the fridge in an airtight container
  • Ganache frosting: In a plastic container in the fridge.

After the cupcakes are frosted, I alway try to serve them within hours and store them in a cool place outside of the fridge in the meantime (only with buttercream frosting). If that’s not possible for you or you live in a warmer climate, you can store them in the fridge. I would do this for 1-2 days. Remember: frostings like cream cheese frosting should always be stored in the fridge.

I would not freeze cupcakes with a swirl whole. When the buttercream thaws, there is a chance that the cream will split, which is not a good look. It is better to freeze the buttercream separately so you can whip it when it thaws. Or make the buttercream fresh just before you’ll need it.

How to store frosted cupcakes

Store at room temperature

If you have a large and high storage container: use it! There are also special (reusable) cupcake carriers available, which are ideal if you bake cupcakes often. They are available as single layer or double layer carriers.

Depending on the frosting (and temperature), it’s okay to store them for a few hours outside the fridge. But also: when transporting your cupcakes, this will mostly be at room temperature.

Store in the fridge

Most cupcakes with a nice (buttercream) swirl on top are stored in the fridge, especially during summer or if you live in a warmer climate. You can use the cupcake carrier and place that in the fridge as a whole.

I would advice to wrap them before you store them in the fridge. Proper storage is important. Remember: cake will dry out in the fridge. Storing them right will prevent this as much as possible.

Store in the freezer

I never freeze frosted cupcakes. Due to space, but also because the frosting can easily split when thawed. It just has too many risks. I would not advice to store frosted cupcakes in the freezer.

How to store and freeze cupcakes 3

Storing fondant and marzipan cupcakes

Many years ago, I decorated a lot of beautiful and delicious cupcakes with fondant and marzipan. Their shelf life is longer because you seal the cupcake completely with the fondant or marzipan. You are actually wrapping it very well.

You can’t store these cupcakes completely airtight, otherwise there is a chance that the fondant and marzipan decorations will become soft and sticky. Decorated cupcakes will keep outside the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.

You can also freeze these cupcakes. Place them in a cake box and wrap a plastic bag or saran wrap around them to protect them from moisture. The cupcakes will keep for 3 months in the freezer.

Although I do not recommend storing cupcakes in the refrigerator, it is best to let them thaw here after you take them out of the freezer. Defrosting “slowly” in the refrigerator reduces the cold/hot differential, which also reduces the chance of condensation. This condensation could cause your fondant decorations to melt. Also, the cupcake is sealed from the outside air by the decorations, which reduces the risk of drying out.

How to store fondant and marzipan cupcakes

Store at room temperature

​Place them in a container and don’t place the lid completely tight on it. Otherwise, the decorations could become sticky.

Store in the fridge

I don’t recommend to store decorated fondant or marzipan cupcakes in the fridge. The moisture can cause the decorations to melt.

Store in the freezer

Wrap them airtight and you can freeze them for up to 3 months.  Defrost them ‘slowly’ in the fridge, it the best option due to condensation. Note: there will be condensation, but this way it’s minimal. After defrosting, place them on the counter and remove packaging so the dryer air can ‘remove’ the condensation.

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