If you’ve made a cake but need to get it cooled, iced, decorated and served up for your guests promptly then you might need to ask yourself: How do you cool a cake fast?
There are several ways you can speed up the cooling of a cake. You should take it out of the tin and place it on a cooling rack. You could also place the cake in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to cool it quickly.
How to Cool a Cake Fast
Below, we have outlined how to go about speeding up the cooling of a cake. We’ve explained each step to take in lots of detail and a few things to be wary of:
Remove from the Cake Tin
The cake tins will retain plenty of heat once they’re removed from the oven which is why it’s a good idea to get the cakes out of the hot tins as soon as possible.
Before you do so, however, allow the cakes to sit in the tins for 10 minutes or so. This will allow the cakes to settle before you pop them out of the tins. If you’re impatient and pop them out of the tins instantly, you’ll find the cakes will crack and crumble.
Place on a Cooling Rack
As the name suggests, a cooling rack is designed to cool things. The cake should be placed directly onto the cooling rack. The reason a cooling rack works so well (versus a plate or chopping board) is that it allows air to circulate under the cake.
It can be a good idea to place some kitchen towels under the cooling rack to collect any crumbs that might break off from the cake.
Make sure your cooling racks are placed somewhere with plenty of circulating air – even near an open window. They won’t work if you push them into a dark corner of the kitchen.
Cut it Open
If you’re planning on spreading icing, jam or curd in the centre of your cake as a Victorian sandwich, then cut the cakes in half now so that they can cool much quicker. It will allow heat to escape from the centre almost immediately.
As before, it’s a good idea to leave the cake to cool naturally for 10 to 15 minutes before you do cut it open otherwise you risk the whole cake collapsing and crumbling.
Opt for a sharp cake slicer or use a serrated knife to avoid ripping the sponge. Slow and steady is the right approach to take when cutting a warm cake in two.
Put it in the Fridge
If you’re really pushed for time then you can place a cake in the fridge to cool down. You can even use the freezer!
If you’re going to do so, then only leave it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. If you leave it in the fridge for too long it will dry out and you’ll be left with a cake that has an undesirable texture.
The other thing to remember is that a fridge will cool the exterior of the cake really quickly but the centre may still be warm. Insert a metal skewer into the centre of the cake to test whether it has fully cooled or not.
Yes, you can put a hot cake into the fridge. However, you should let it cool a little at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. You should also only leave it in the fridge for up to 15 minutes to cool it.
How Long Does a Cake Take to Cool?
The time it takes for a cake to cool will depend hugely on the steps you take to speed it up. If you leave a cake in the tin it was baked in then it will take a lengthy period to cool. It can take 3 to 4 hours to cool in the tin.
Removing the cake from the tin will instantly reduce this. This small step can drop the cooling time to around 2 hours. Of course, this is still a long time to wait to apply the icing or buttercream.
If you’re really pushed for time, then you can reduce the cooling time to around 30 minutes or so by placing the cake in the fridge or the freezer. If you opt for the freezer, then ensure you wrap it in cling film first.
Whatever You Do… Don’t Decorate a Hot Cake!
If you put frosting, icing or decorations on a hot cake, it won’t last long. Before you know it, the icing will melt, and the decorations will slide off. Be patient, and wait for it to cool!
Cooling Cakes FAQs
If you’ve still got more questions about cooling cakes, then these additional FAQs might help you out:
Cooling a cake at room temperature on the worktop takes between 2 and 3 hours for an average-sized cake. Of course, this will be significantly impacted by the flow of air in the kitchen and the temperature of the room.
No! This is not a good idea. Whether you want to decorate your cake with a glaze, buttercream or royal icing; doing so when it is hot will cause your icing to melt and slide off the top of your cake.