As an avid baker who loves making cakes for family and friends, I’m often asked how long cake lasts in the fridge. Properly storing cakes is crucial for maintaining freshness and avoiding spoilage. In this article, I’ll discuss the shelf life of different cake types in the refrigerator and provide tips on how to maximize cake freshness.
Why Refrigerate Cake?
Refrigerating cake helps slow down spoilage and extend its shelf life. The cool temperature helps preserve delicate ingredients like dairy, fruit fillings, and frostings. However, certain cakes with sturdy ingredients like sugar and flour can be left out at room temperature for a few days.
Storing cakes in the fridge prevents mold growth, retains moisture, and maintains texture better than room temperature storage. Just be sure to properly cover the cake first.
Shelf Life of Plain Cakes
Plain cakes without frosting or fillings, like pound cake, can be left at room temperature covered for 2-3 days. To extend the shelf life, store plain cakes in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
I like to enjoy cake at room temp, but refrigerating extends the freshness. For maximum longevity, plain cakes can even be frozen for 2-3 months. Just be sure to double wrap in plastic and foil.
Cakes with Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream-frosted cakes have a shorter shelf life since the dairy-based frosting is perishable. Store cakes with buttercream in the fridge and they’ll last around 5-7 days.
If the frosting doesn’t contain cream or egg-based custard, the cake can stay fresh at room temp for 2-3 days before refrigerating. But I prefer to refrigerate right away to be safe.
Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Any cakes with cream cheese frosting, fillings, or components need refrigeration. The dairy in the cream cheese shortens the shelf life. Expect cakes with cream cheese to last around 5-6 days refrigerated.
Even if the cake layers are plain, the cream cheese impacts the overall shelf life. So pop the whole cake in the fridge once assembled and frosted.
Fruit-Filled or Topped Cakes
Fresh fruit fillings and toppings make cakes taste amazing but perish quickly. The high moisture content causes fast spoilage. Store cakes with fruit in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days for best quality.
Whipped cream is also highly perishable. So cakes topped with fruit and whipped cream need prompt refrigeration and will only last 2-3 days.
How to Refrigerate Cake Properly
To retain freshness in the fridge, cakes need proper coverage to prevent moisture loss. Use plastic wrap pressed directly against the frosting, or a cake box with a tight-fitting lid. This protects the texture.
Avoid using paper towels or paper plates to cover cakes in the fridge. These porous materials allow the cake to dry out. Proper coverage is key for maintaining freshness!
How to Tell if Refrigerated Cake Has Spoiled
With cake, trusting your senses is important to avoid eating spoiled food. Signs of spoiled cake include:
- Odd or sour smell
- Excess moisture or drying
- Mold growth
- Discoloration of frosting or cake layers
Discard cakes that are over a week old or exhibit any signs of spoilage. Don’t take risks with old cake! The odor and appearance will indicate if it has gone bad.
Should Cakes Be Refrigerated Before Decorating?
I don’t recommend refrigerating cake layers prior to decorating. The cold temperature leads to condensation, which causes complications with frosting and decorating.
Condensation on cold cakes leads to weeping and icing blowouts. It’s best to allow cakes to come to room temp before decorating. Refrigerate only after the cake is fully assembled and frosted.
Key Takeaways on Cake Storage
- Refrigerate cakes to extend shelf life, especially those with dairy and fruit
- Expect refrigerated life of 5-7 days for plain and buttercream cakes
- Cream cheese and fruit cakes last around 4-6 days refrigerated
- Prevent moisture loss with proper coverage like plastic wrap
- Inspect cakes for spoilage signs like odor, mold, and discoloration
- Allow cake layers to reach room temp before decorating to prevent icing issues
Proper cake storage helps avoid food waste and safely enjoy cake at its best quality. Use your senses, follow temperature guidelines, and keep cakes well-covered. With these tips, you can master the art of cake refrigeration. Let me know if you have any other cake storage questions!