How Long Does A Cake Take to Cool Before Frosting?

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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A creamy layer of frosting should be the crowning glory of any baking delight. I totally get that excitement when it’s time to jazz up my beautiful cake! But here’s a little secret: having the cake frosted all over while it’s still warm from the oven might not give you that picture-perfect finish. 

How Long Does A Cake Take to Cool

So, how long does it take a cake to cool before decorating? Let me share some of my insider knowledge, drawn from my years of experience both in the kitchen and as a self-proclaimed cake aficionado.

How Long Does It Take For A Cake To Cool?

Different cakes might not share the same cooling needs, ranging from 2 to 3 hours! Some smaller cakes call for only 30 to 60 minutes to cool down.

Take my beloved Texas sheet cakes, for instance, which can actually be frosted while still warm. That way, the icing gets all gooey, just like it’s supposed to be, adding a special touch to the color and taste of my long-awaited dish! 

But on the flip side, a classic chocolate cake requires slightly more patience so that the exuding warmth from its baked layers does not mess up your frosting.

Let me share the estimated cooling times for some other common types of cake as well: 

  • Cupcakes are usually all set to be frosted or gobbled up after chilling for about 10-15 minutes. These little guys cool down pretty quickly since they’re on the smaller side.
  • For an angel food cake, patience is key. It takes 1-2 hours for the delicious cake pieces to cool completely while still keeping their fluffy, delicate texture.
  • A Bundt cake should chill in the pan for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack; it then needs another 1-2 hours to cool down completely. This signature ring-shaped delight deserves the time!
  • Light sponge cakes need 20-30 minutes to cool in the pans before you move them to a rack. Then, another 30-45 minutes should do it for a full cool-down.
  • One of my favorite airy wonders, the chiffon cakes, require about 1-2 hours to cool in the pan. Afterward, you should invert these baking cakes onto the racks to cool down completely, which may take an additional 1-2 hours. 
  • And finally, layer cakes! They’re usually cool enough in my pan after 10 to 15 minutes. But sometimes, I will give them another hour on the cooling rack to reach that ideal temperature for frosting and stacking.

Again, remember that these are just some estimations. The actual cooling time for hot cakes varies depending on different factors and your own cake recipes! 

How to Cool A Cake Fast: Some Common Tips

taking cake out

1. First things first, make sure your cake is fully cooked using the classic “toothpick test.” Stick a toothpick (or any thin skewer) into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean without cake crumbs or batter, your treat is ready to cool! 

2. For faster cooling, consider cutting your warm cake into layers. Give your larger cake about 20 minutes to cool slightly, then use your butter or serrated knife to cut it gently and horizontally into cake layers on a flat surface. This trick always works great for me, especially for huge-tiered cakes!

3. Consider the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry and have little time for room-temperature cooling; just cover the entire cake in plastic wrap and store it in either option. You can warm it up later, but serving it cold is also an option! 

The fridge method works well enough for short bursts, but be wary; too much cooling time there might dry out your baked cake. The freezer, for me, is a much safer bet.

What If There Is No Time to Wait For Your Frosted Cake? 

When your frosting plans hit a snag, it’s time to consider plan B alternatives. Here are some decoration ideas that don’t need a cooled-down fluffy cake:

  • Chocolate it up! You’ve got options here – try chocolate chips, chocolate glaze, or melted chocolate to add some pizzazz to your unfrosted cake.
  • Get fruity! Trust me, fresh fruits can bring in just as much magic as buttercream frosting, especially on sponge cakes. Think oranges, strawberries, or even melon balls for that vibrant touch.
  • Stick to the classics. Dusting your creamy cake with confectioners’ sugar should give it that simple, traditional charm. I even use my cake decorating supplies to create lovely patterns on my birthday cake when I feel a little artsy!


When it comes to the cake-cooling process, patience is always the key. But what if time isn’t on your side? Then, there’s no harm in relying on quick and easy decorations (like powdered sugar or chocolate) to add that extra oomph to your delicate cake!

Need more advice? Feel free to drop me a line!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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