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To Refrigerate or not to Refrigerate ?
Is it ok to put a Fondant covered Cake in the Fridge in the HOT WEATHER ?
As soon as we experience Hot weather like we have for the past few weeks this issue is debated an awful lot on facebook groups and other platforms alike.
So this is what I do, in my experience as a cake artist it’s the best way to avoid your cakes from melting, and damage
I refrigerate all of my cakes in this hot weather, both fondant covered cakes and also buttercream. They will sweat when you take them out of the fridge, this is completely normal, scientifically the temperature of the cake is cold enough to cool down the water vapor in the surrounding air, so it turns from gaseous to liquid state. Therefore, drops form more steadily during warm weather than cold weather (this is when your cake is sweating)
Condensation is the basic transformation of a substance from gas to liquid. All air in the atmosphere contains some degree of water vapor. Condensation will occur more easily in saturated air than dry air, in other words, when you take your cake out of a cold fridge if it is also Humid as well as Hot then your cake will take along time to dry out. Its completely normal, wont damage your cake, if anything you will SAVE IT !
What are the benefits of Refrigerating a cake?
Firstly it means that all your fillings inside that cake ( I use an awful lot of filling in mine ) will be solid and hard when the cake is collected, this then means if there is a sharp break in the car, it is less likely to cause any damage, because none of the cake will move. If those fillings are soft, even if its covered in fondant, it poses a much bigger risk
Hot Weather can also mean Humidity, when it is Humid it means there is more water in the air around you. Hot Air holds more water than cold air, this is why sometimes you will find your fondant covered cakes always tend to dry in the winter but in the summer you struggle to get the fondant to dry or even your edible Sugar models, they can go soft again if the weather is too humid. When it comes to your cake, if left out of a fridge you risk it bulging at the sides where you have added your fillings. Just because the fondant wont set if its too humid, you go to bed, your fillings are getting softer and softer, then the weight of the top half of the cake pushes down and BOOM you have a bulge. Place it in the fridge and this cant happen
Bacteria/Micro-organisms THRIVE from Heat and Moisture. Now cakes are already low risk, its highly unlikely to go mouldy BUT it only takes one Micro-organism to start multiplying too fast (everything has micro-organisms in, its healthy bacteria until it multiplies rapidly and turns into what`s called a pathogen, so as soon as you open your cream to make your ganache the bacteria feeds from the air and multiplies, this is why cream must always be kept in a fridge the same with other foods like chicken. When a product is kept at 5`C or less the bacteria will still multiply ( this is why some items have a use by date ) BUT it wont multiply as fast and therefore the product like fresh cream can still be eaten two days later but if you left it on your kitchen side it would go off due to the bacteria being able to multiply faster ) It`s just basic science, so if you keep your cakes in a cool environment, it doesn’t have to be 5`c because it’s a Cooked Cake but by doing this you will be preventing the bacteria from multiplying at a faster rate than usual, and just make your product last longer.
Tips on Refrigerating
If you get to the point where you have enough orders to justify having a separate fridge just for your cakes it means you can have it set at a different temperature so its not as cold as your normal fridge. So when you bring it out in this hot weather it wont sweat as much
Portable Air Conditioning Units – These are great for both when your baking and when you decide to take your cake out of the fridge as it going from one cold environment to another and will sweat even less and dry out faster
Whilst your cakes are sweating it is advisable to place them in a cake box to prevent any small fragments in the air from sticking to your cake