What To Make In Advance



Baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes can be very stressful if you are trying to do it all in one day... hint: don't ever do that!


In my cake decorating classes I tell all my students to make as much as you can in advance and one of the questions I get asked most often is "how far in advance can I make...."


So here is my go to guide on what you can make in advance to make your bake day go more smoothly!



How long can I keep buttercream?

You can make your buttercream several days, sometimes weeks in advance providing you are not adding anything with a short shelf life (eg milk) Just check the ingredient with the shortest shelf life and as long as you are storing your buttercream as advised on that item you have a good idea of how long it'll last.  

Be sure to bring to room temperature before trying to use / mix chilled buttercream


How long can I keep Ganache?

This is a funny one and everyone seems to have differing opinions on it.  My opinion is that once the cream is heated it becomes a stable product and can therefore be stored for up to a month if stored in the fridge.

Once it is on a cake and covered with icing to make it airtight I would expect it to last several days.


How far in advance can I bake Cupcakes?

This is one item I never make in advance.  I always bake my cupcakes fresh at maximum 24 hours before I need them. Whilst they will still be edible for several days, and won't actually go off (just dry) they will be at their best a few hours after baking.  

Store these in a cupcake box.  I find storing these in a fridge or in tupperware or tin causes the cases to peel as the cakes start to go sticky.  


Putting a thin layer of buttercream on them as soon as they are cool will help keep them moist for a while longer.


How long can I store a big cake covered in fondant/sugarpaste icing?

Once you have covered your cake with icing and it is airtight, it will last for ages depending on what fillings you have used.  

This is how I work my big cake week:

Monday:: Bake

Tuesday: ganache/buttercream

Wednesday: cover

Thursday: decorate (pre-make decorations)

Friday: deliver & Saturday: eat


How long can I store An Iced cake board?

This could be made years in advance!!  Really?  YES... you aren't going to eat it!!  But realistically anything from 48 hours to 6 months would be fine!

But store it as per the domed toppers below or it'll sweat and go glossy!


How far in advance can I make...

Domed cupcake toppers?

These toppers should be made 24 hours in advance but can be made weeks or months in advance as long as they are stored correctly.  Check the exp date on the packed of sugarpaste/ fondant icing and eat before that date.  Store these in a cool dry place in a cardboard box (a cake box is ideal) never store these in a tin or Tupperware box as the fondant will start to 'sweat' and will go shiny and possibly 'wilt'

Be sure to leave them on the dome formers for at least the first 24 hours - ideally 48.

These will go harder over time but will still be edible as they will go soft once in your mouth. They will feel similar to hard decorations you'd buy in a supermarket.

Remember that most people will remove this part and just eat the cake anyway!


How far in advance can I make...

Sugarpaste /Fondant models  & other decorations?

These you'd want to make at least 24-48 hours in advance but again if stored correctly (as per domed toppers) you could make them months in advance.  If you are using gum trag / tylose etc it will not affect the lifespan of the item but it will make the item harden quicker which is recommended.


How far in advance can I make...

Florist paste decorations

Anything made with florist paste should ideally be made several days in advance but they can be made months in advance and stored until needed.  

Florist paste is obviously used to make flowers but it can also be used to make anything delicate such as letters or tiny details.  

Store as per domed toppers



Never store any of the above decorations in the fridge


I am very much a believer of making life as stress free as possible and this means I would NEVER bake, make and decorate in a day!  I would usually aim to make decorations a minimum of 5 days in advance. 

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