Freezing cakes, slices and baked goods without single-use plastic like ziplock bags or cling wrap is so simple!
Whether you're attempting plastic free July, or just want to reduce plastics at home, learn how to do it the right way to protect your food AND always have school lunchbox snacks on hand.
Getting the school lunch box ready this morning I realised the banana bread is probably going to get stale before we eat it all, especially given that we are near the end of the week!
I always get asked how to freeze without single use plastic so I figured this was a great time to snap a few pictures and briefly explain what I do.
This really is a fabulous way to prevent food waste and stock your freezer with yummy snacks!
Freezing Plastic Free
Technically, I don't always freeze completely plastic-free as I DO use plastic containers .We already had a large collection when we started our reduced plastic lifestyle. I don't see this as a problem as they are reusable, its almost a zero waste option, and as they wear out we plan to replace them with more sustainable options.
If you have already converted to glass, then go ahead and use it as it works just as well and is probably a lot safer for food storage. There's still a lot we don't know about how plastics are effecting our food and although we might go BPA free, there is still not enough research on all the other components that may be leeching in to the foods we store in them.
What we no longer use are plastic Ziploc bags and sandwich bags, freezer bags, go-between sheets, glad-wrap/cling-wrap or anything that is single-use. This type of plastic is a poor choice for the environment and you are literally throwing your money away when your purchase items destined for the bin after ONE use.
I do occasionally use reusable plastic food bags for meat, it's not ideal, but we wash and rinse after each use.
How To Freeze Cake Plastic-Free
1. Determine Portion Sizes
If you plan to defrost the entire cake at a later stage then simply freeze it whole in a plastic container and skip the rest of the instructions. It's pretty rare that I would freeze an entire cake and generally, you won't want to do this.
Cut or slice your portion sizes first as trying to slice after freezing is a bit of a nightmare particularly with dense items and you don't want to over handle your frozen cake every time you want a slice of it.
2. Space It & Freeze
This is so important!
Place you cake, slices , muffins, brownie squares, or whatever it happens to be, and leave SPACE between each piece. This prevents all of those carefully cut pieces sticking together in a big chunk of cake once frozen. Obviously make sure the container height is suitable. As you can see below, most of my slices ended up leaning against each other but the base of the cake has about a 1cm gap, which you probably can't really tell from the photo, so they will still be easy to separate.
Alternatively, another method I sometimes use is to lay everything out on an oven tray and put straight into the freezer uncovered (you can't leave it this way though).
3. Pack it
This step is optional, but if your freezer is anything like mine, space can be precious! (Oh, and if you opted to freeze on an oven tray, you actually NEED to do this step)
Once your goodies are frozen, that evening or the next day, they can be stored touching which allows you to pack them in more efficiently and make the best use of your space.
You can pack them in pretty tight and even layer slices on top of each other.
What Type of Cakes Can You Freeze?
I freeze all sorts of stuff including;
- Muffins & Cupcakes
-Mudcake, Chocolate Cake
-Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (of course!)
-Black forest Cake
-Hot Cross Buns
What I DON'T freeze are heavily decorated cakes or those with a LOT of cream, custard or icing. This is partly because none of us like cream much and I don't think the cream would defrost too well.
A little cream in the centre and/or some icing is absolutely fine, but if there is a lot of it, it just isn't going to defrost well.
If you're worried about food waste don't sweat as in my experience, these are the easiest types of cakes to give away to friends and family!
How long will plastic-free freezing last?
Pretty much the same as freezing with plastic.
This can be frozen for up to 3 months, depending on the type of cake. The more delicate or crumbly, the less time it will last well in the freezer and you may find it becomes icy on the outside and is not quite as nice to eat.
This one pictured below was a bit of a dud - a healthy chocolate date brownie/cake thing I made and froze over 6 months ago that the kids absolutely hated. As you can see it has started to get a bit of ice build up but it's very minimal. The past 2 weeks I've been adding these into the lunchbox and they have been eaten every time. (winning the war on food waste!)
This is my designated lunchbox treats freezer container and it makes it a simple action for me, my partner or the kids to retrieve a slice for school snacks.
I don't need to defrost, as by the time they eat it, it will have thawed out nicely.
If you prefer you can remove from the freezer a few hours before eating, or zapped for 15 seconds or so in the microwave.
The lid on my container no longer closes properly but thankfully we have freezer drawers so the contents aren't constantly exposed to air and temperature changes.
If your freezer is getting opened and shut many times a day, make sure to store at the back or the bottom of your freezer AND avoid storing in the freezer door, this is probably the worst place to store anything other than ice packs.
It's so simple and makes me wonder how I ever thought we needed single-use plastic to freeze basic items like this, I hope you give it a go too!
If you're looking for more ideas on how to replace cling wrap, check out my previous post here.