Make Ahead Desserts

I'm looking for cake and cookie recipes that I can make ahead and freeze or otherwise store for up to three weeks. Ideas??

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8 Comments

minibakersupreme October 26, 2012
A little-known secret is that an efficient bakery is run out of the freezer. Like cookie recipes, many cake recipes also freeze well. We freeze assembled ice cream sandwiches, lemon bars, brownies, crumb bars, cakes, pies, eclair shells, and pre-portioned cookie dough. Basically, you can freeze almost anything except things containing gelatin. When you make the cake layer, let it cool completely and wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap. The night before you want to frost your cake, leave it wrapped as it was in the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. This way, the cake stays cold and there is no danger of the layers caving in when you attempt to frost it the next day. Also, in the interest of time, we put our frozen cookie dough balls straight in the oven from the freezer; it seems to work fine and be very consistent.
 
SallyBroff October 25, 2012
Reine de la saba from the original Julia Child. Freeze and frost with simple ganache before serving.
 
ATG117 October 25, 2012
flourless chocolate cakes freeze wonderfully, as do unbaked pies, and cookie dough, as was mentioned. I tend not to freeze cakes, except when there are leftovers that I just want to keep around for us. That said, I think quick breads and oil based cakes do pretty well in the freezer. The texture of the top of the cake may get a bit gooey upon defrosting, but you can always fix that with some frosting. Another idea is to measure out all the dry and wet ingredients before hand, store those in ziplock baggies or containers, and then bake closer to the time you'll need them. This allows you to get most of the prep work done in advance, while preventing the need for freezing.
 
creamtea October 25, 2012
I often do what ATG117 suggests, measuring out the dry ingreds and putting in ziplocs. Then I do the rest on the day of baking. I usually re-sift the dry ingredients as I go. This reduces time and stress.
 
CarlaCooks October 27, 2012
I agree about the flourless chocolate cakes. In fact, I have a recipe for a chocolate mousse cake that requires freezing (http://food52.com/recipes/12528_chili_chocolate_mousse_cake). I have also made this cake (which includes flour) and frozen it with great success: http://food52.com/recipes/11618_tender_yellow_cake.
 
gravy L. October 25, 2012
My favorite chocolate truffle cake is Molly Wizenberg's, Winning Hearts and Minds cake, and freezing it for up to a month makes it extraordinary. I unthaw it in the fridge for 24 hours. Make sure to serve it with fresh whipped cream. I have this cake in my freezer right now for a birthday party next week. I recently made small cupcakes with this batter for a wedding. I freeze all of my various cupcakes for up to three weeks before big events. They take an hour to unthaw at room temperature and they turn out great. And I also shape and freeze my snicker doodle cookies too. Unthaw on a cookie sheet and bake. Easy for entertaining!
http://orangette.blogspot.com/2004/08/and-then-cake-came-forth.html
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AntoniaJames October 25, 2012
I've frozen Merrill's oatmeal cookie dough many times. It's easiest to drop lumps of cookie dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, then put it in the freezer; once frozen, pop the frozen balls of dough into a freezer container. Then, when you want to make the cookies, just take them out, put them on a cookie sheet, and let them defrost (which doesn't take long at all). This works really well when you don't want to make a full batch at once, or want to be able to bake a batch of warm, fresh cookies on a minute's notice. This sugar cookie dough also freezes well: http://food52.com/recipes/2251_st_clements_orange_and_lemon_cookies

Finally, a good trick for cookie doughs that are shaped into balls is to roll the dough into a log before you freeze it. Then, when you want to bake the cookies, partially defrost the dough, and then cut off cubes -- well they won't be true cubes, but you get the picture -- and you'll be just a few strokes away from having your cookie rolled! ;o)
 
Kenzi W. October 25, 2012
A lot of standard cookie doughs freeze beautifully for that amount of time. Here's a classic and one of my favorites: http://food52.com/recipes/5804_crispy_oatmeal_chocolate_chip_cookies

Unless Merrill corrects me, whip up this dough, toss it in the freezer, and you'll be way ahead of the game.
 
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