Keeping cake in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life. But just how long does cake last in the fridge? It depends on how you store it and what type of cake it is.
Mmm cake. One of life’s guilty pleasures. Between the moist cake itself and the sweet frosting, what’s not to like? But making it last as long as possible can come down to how you store it, especially if you’re thinking about keeping in the refrigerator.
Whether your cake is homemade or storebought, it can stay fresh on average for about 5 days in the fridge. But that can vary depending on different types of cakes and your storage method.
Read on to find out how to store your cake in the fridge properly, so you can enjoy it for longer!
How to store cakes in the fridge
The cold air in the fridge can quickly dry out a cake. So a key to keeping cake at maximum freshness is having a protective barrier between that cold air and your delicious treat. Here are the best ways to do it so you don’t end up with stale cake.
Method 1 – Use plastic wrap
Wrapping your cake with cling wrap will help keep it moist in the fridge. Simply wrap it around the cake until it creates an airtight seal. If your cake already has icing on it, place a few toothpicks in the top of it and gently place the plastic wrap over them and around the cake. This will help keep the frosting from sticking to the cling wrap.
Method 2 – Use a cake carrier
A plastic cake holder is another great way to keep your cake fresh in the fridge. Just place your cake inside, snap on the lid, and set it in the refrigerator. The lid should create a tight seal against the cold air and keep your cake moist for several days.
Method 3 – Use a sheet pan with a lid
Many sheet pans come with lids, so if you’re making a sheet pan cake, you can simply store it in the fridge with the lid on. They just snap on and off, and they’re usually tight-fitting to keep foods fresh.
Do you need to store cake in the fridge?
If you plan to eat your cake within a few days of making it, then in most cases you don’t need to keep it in the fridge. But the type of frosting can make a big difference.
Most cakes that have buttercream, ganache, or fondant frosting can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Though you certainly can keep them in the refrigerator if you wish using one of the methods above. That can extend the shelf life of cake for another 3-4 days.
However, if your cake has fresh ingredients like fresh fruit, whipped cream, or if it’s a cheesecake, then you’ll need to store it in the fridge to keep it from spoiling. This is also true for cakes with cream cheese frosting, so typically red velvet cake and carrot cake would fall in this category.
A cheesecake can stay fresh for about 4 days in the fridge. A carrot cake will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
Is better to refrigerate cake before frosting it?
You always want to let a cake cool completely before applying frosting. If you don’t, the icing will melt and turn it into a goopy mess.
A way to speed up the cooling process is to cover the unfrosted cake layers in plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for an hour so. This will help the cake set and make it easier to frost later.
Can you freeze cake?
If you need to store leftover cake for longer periods, your best option is the freezer.
First, make sure to completely cook your cake. Then wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. This will help prevent freezer burn and help keep odors from other nearby foods from seeping into the cake.
Cake should keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
💡 Tip: It’s a good idea to freeze cake in portions so when you’re ready to eat it, you only need to defrost some of it instead of the whole cake.
How to thaw out cake
The best way to thaw out frozen cake is to move the wrapped cake or slices to the fridge to defrost overnight. After it’s thawed, take it out of the fridge and let it rest on a kitchen counter out of direct sunlight for about an hour before you serve it.
That way it will be at room temperature instead of being cold when you eat it.
It generally takes frozen cake about 8 hours to thaw out, depending on how big it is. Slices of cake frozen cake will defrost in less time.
Signs that cake has gone bad
Several clues can help indicate whether your cake has begun to spoil or simply is past its prime.
- If the texture of the cake is dry or crumbly, this means it may have been stored for too long in the fridge or left exposed for a while on a kitchen counter. If that’s the case, it will no longer taste its best.
- A hard or crunchy frosting can also mean the cake has been left out too long or has simply dried out.
- If you notice mold on the cake, then that’s a clear sign the cake has spoiled.
- A slimy appearance or texture is another tell-tale sign your cake may have gone bad. You may notice this more on cakes with fruit fillings.
- Discoloration can be another indication of a bad cake. This can be particularly true for cakes with fresh fruit, as that fruit can start to change color as oxidation sets in.
If you notice any of these signs of spoilage, it’s a good idea to simply discard the old cake.
Typical chocolate sponge cakes with ganache, fondant, or buttercream frosting will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge if covered with plastic wrap or kept in a cake carrier.
Generally, birthday cakes made with sponge cake and buttercream or fondant can last for up to 5 days in the fridge. If you have an ice cream birthday cake, you’ll need to store it in the freezer to prevent it from melting.
If your cake is made with custard, whipped cream, fresh fruit, or has a fresh fruit filling, it will be best within 1-2 days in the fridge after it was made.
Store-bought cakes generally will last a few days longer than homemade ones due to preservatives that they may include. While a homemade cake can last up to 5 days, a store-bought cake may keep for up to 10 days if stored well in the fridge.
More food storage tips
Get more answers on how to store your favorite foods. Check out these posts.
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