How Long Does It Take For Cake To Cool?

How Long Does It Take For Cake To Cool?

How long it takes a cake to cool can be dependent on so many things. When it comes to baking a cake, the exciting part is in the frosting and decorating and sometimes you can’t just wait to get right into it.

Nonetheless, decorating or eating your cake while it’s hot may turn out to be a bad idea, so you have to wait a while for it to cool. The question now is how long will it take for it to cool?

Frosting a cake while it’s still very warm can be a hot mess and as tempting as your cake may be, it is best to wait for about 2-3 hours at room temperature for it to completely cool off, before frosting or eating it. However, it takes less time to cool the cake in the refrigerator and on a cooling rack. 

If you are thinking that you can simply begin to cut or decorate your cake immediately after it’s out of the oven, kill that thought as things can go south if you don’t allow your cake to cool down well. 

Moving on, if you want to know how long it takes to cool a cake at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and on a cooling rack, stick around for a couple of minutes.

How Long Does It Take Cake To Cool At Room Temperature?

This encompasses cooling the cake on the countertop and cooling rack. The cooling time may differ as the cooling rack allows air to circulate through the cake while countertops only favor the sides and top of the cake.

Allowing your cake to cool at room temperature can take about 2-3 hours especially if it was left to cool on the countertop. However, it takes an average of 45-60 minutes to cool on a cooling wire rack.

Banana Carrot Cake with Ricotta Honey Frosting

To be super sure your cake is cool, it is better to let it sit overnight. But if that is not an option for you, checking on your cake from time to time might be of great help to you.

Also note that the temperature of your room can have an impact on the time your cake takes to cool down, so put on your air conditioner or fan to create a colder environment for your cake.

So how do you properly cool a cake on a countertop or cooling rack?

  • Bring your cake out of the oven.
  • Let the cake sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the baking pan.
  • Line a flat plate with wax paper or parchment paper or spray cooking oil on the cooling rack.
  • Put the cake on the lined plate or the cooling rack and leave it there until it is completely cool.

How Long Does It Take Cake To Cool In The Refrigerator?

In case of an emergency or you don’t have enough time to wait for your cake to cool for too long, the refrigerator comes to the rescue. It allows for a faster cooling time than room temperature.

The refrigerator cuts the average cooling time to about 20-30 minutes. Although it is fast, it is not the best way to cool your cake. And if it is not carefully done it can dry out the cake.

The refrigerator should be used only for a short time because it can dry out the moisture of your cake if left much longer. It is important to note that you need to wrap your cake in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge.

Different Types Of Cake And Their Cooling Time

Type of CakeCooling Time


1-2 hours

Sponge cake

3-5 hours

Angel food cake

2 hours


2-3 hours

Carrot cake

1 hour

Chiffon cake

3-4 hours

Red velvet cake

1-2 hours
crop woman decorating cake with chocolate glaze on stand
Image: SHVETS production //

How To Know If Your Cake Is Completely Cooled?

It is possible to assume that your cake is completely cool when it is not. To be certain that your cake is cool you’ll be needing a toothpick or a wooden barbecue stick. 

Gently stab the top of the cake with the stick and let it stay in the cake for a few seconds. Then remove the toothpick or barbecue stick from the cake, taste or feel the stick to ascertain if it is hot.

If the stick comes out dry and cool then your cake is set for frosting or cutting but if not you’ll have to leave it for a while.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you keep a cake from drying out when cooling?

Keeping a cake from drying out, especially overnight, can be a cause of concern. However, you can keep your cake moist by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap. You can also use aluminum foil paper or a zip-lock plastic bag to secure the moisture. Now you leave it on the countertop or store it in the fridge and still come back to a soft and moist cake.

Can you speed up cake cooling?

Yes, you can speed up the cooling process of your cake. You can simply do so by properly storing it in the fridge or freezer, placing it on a cooling wire rack, or using the layering method. All of these are great ways to cool your cake quicker. It’s best to save the refrigerator method for emergencies only. 

How long does it take for a cake to cool on a cooling rack?

It takes about 30-45 minutes for a cake to cool on a cooling rack. However, the cooling time depends entirely on the room temperature. If the room temperature is cold then expect the process to be way quicker. Some use fans to speed up the process, this can reduce the time to an average of 20 minutes.

Should you cover a cake while cooling?

Yes, you should, especially if you are putting it in the fridge. As soon as the cake is out of the oven let it rest for a couple of minutes to let out some heat then cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and leave it to cool. This will help prevent the cake from getting dry or dense.


Cooling a cake is the easiest part of making a cake but it is also an important part. Letting your cake cool goes a long way not only to secure the structure of the cake but also to ensure that the frosting sets well on the cake.

Leaving the cake to cool at room temperature and on a cooling rack is the best way to cool it off, however, the refrigerator can serve a purpose if you are looking for a faster option.

Be sure to wrap the cake with a plastic wrap to keep moisture within and always keep an eye on the cake. Now that you know how long to cool your cake, let’s frost that cake to perfection!

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