There’s nothing unusual about having leftover cake, but how do you keep it fresh for as long as possible? Should you keep it at room temperature or refrigerate it? And how long does cake last in the fridge? Read on to find out the answers so you and your family can enjoy this well-loved treat at its best!
🎂 How Long Does Cake Last In The Fridge?
Short answer: As a general guideline, homemade cake stays safe to eat in the fridge up to 5 days, and store bought cakes can last 7-10 days.
In reality, the shelf life of a cake depends a lot on the type of cake and ingredients used to make it. On that note, some cakes are better kept on the counter while others will indeed stay fresh for longer when refrigerated.
Plain Unfrosted Cake
Plain unfrosted cake is rather unpretentious when it comes to storage and has a long shelf life because it doesn’t contain any perishable ingredients such as frosting, buttercream, or fruit.
Plain cake layers or a Bundt cake wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an air-tight container or a cake tin will stay fresh for 3 days at room temperature.
If you store plain cake in the fridge, it will keep for 7 days, giving you more time to eat it.
Cake covered in buttercream, ganache, or fondant has a major advantage: the outer layer will keep it moist so it can be stored at room temperature for 3-5 days.
Storing buttercream/ganache/fondant cake in the refrigerator will lengthen its shelf life to 5-7 days.
Keep in mind that some cakes are best when served at room temperature such as buttercream cakes. As long as they are consumed in time and stored properly, there’s nothing wrong with keeping them on the counter.
And if you choose to store your cake in the fridge, you might want to allow the cake slices to sit out a bit before serving so they warm up.
Cream Cheese Filling Or Topping
Cream cheese is delicious but also a perishable ingredient so any cake that has it as a filling or topping should be refrigerated.
Assuming there are no other perishable ingredients such as fruit, fruit cream, or whipped cream, cake with cream cheese will last for 5-6 days in the refrigerator.
Always keep this type of cake wrapped or covered to prevent it from absorbing smells from other foods as it sits in the fridge.
Fruit Filling, Topping, Or Whipped Cream
Fruit-based filling, topping, fresh fruit, and whipped cream are finicky ingredients and not counter-friendly.
Any cake that’s made with fresh fruit, fruit filling, or whipped cream should be refrigerated.
As long as it’s stored properly, and the temperature in your fridge stays below 40°F (4.4°C), it will stay safe to eat up to 4 days.
🍰 Cake Storage Tips To Make It Last Longer
Follow these easy tips to keep cake fresh for as long as possible and to enjoy it at its best!
- Whether you’re keeping it on the counter or in the fridge, make sure the cake is covered. You can use plastic wrap, a air-tight container, or a cake carrier with a lid.
- Cakes with fondant or buttercream frostings should not be refrigerated. At lower temperatures they harden and are not as enjoyable.
- Plain cake without frosting or filling should be tightly wrapped and placed in an airtight container before refrigerating.
- I recommend you eat cakes with cream or custard filling within one day of baking. They stay safe to eat longer in the fridge but you’ll get the best texture and flavor in those first 24 hours.
❄️ How To Freeze Cake
The simplest way to keep cake fresh for longer periods is to freeze it. Frozen cake will last for 2 months or longer.
If you’re making a homemade cake and you want to prepare it in advance, the best solution is to freeze it unfrosted.
Let the cake cool completely after baking it. If you wrap it while it’s still warm, steam will form and potentially make your cake soggy.
Once it’s cool, wrap your cakes in two layers of cling film or place them in resealable freezer bags. You can even freeze cake in the pan you baked it in although you should still wrap it cling film and add another layer of aluminum foil.
Unfrosted cake stays good in the freezer for 2 months. Be sure to label it with the date and type of cake as this information will surely come in handy later.
Some frosted cakes don’t freeze well, such as those made with meringue-based or whipped cream frostings.
Nevertheless, you can definitely freeze cakes made with cream cheese and buttercream frostings. Here’s how to do it!
Place the finished cake in the freezer as it is, for one hour. This will allow the decoration to firm up.
Then, wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap, with an added layer of aluminum foil.
When freezing slices of cake, you’ll need to wrap each slice individually in two layers of plastic wrap. Place the slices in a freezer friendly container or bag, and label it.
Cake slices will keep for 2 months in the freezer, so you have plenty of time to enjoy it while still fresh!
☑️ How To Thaw Cake
No special skills needed for this part! To thaw cake in the fridge transfer it from the freezer a day before serving. Also, for thawing, it’s a good idea to take the cake out of the container it was frozen in.
It will take at least 8 hours for a cake to fully thaw in the fridge, so be sure to plan this part.
If you forgot to place it the fridge the day before, you can thaw cake on the counter too. The fridge method is best, but thawing at room temperature also works if you’re in a rush.
Note: Don’t remove the wrapping when thawing cakes. Condensation appears on foods as they thaw. If you leave the wrapping on, condensation will form on top of it, instead of the cake.
Tip: If you froze an unfrosted cake, and you need to decorate it before serving, don’t wait for it to defrost completely. Decorating it while partially frozen will make your job a lot easier. The semi-frozen cake is stiffer, holding its shape well and allowing you to spread the frosting with ease.
🛑 How To Tell If Cake Has Gone Bad
Even when stored correctly cake has a limited shelf life. So how can you tell if your cake is still safe to eat? Look out for these common signs!
- Rancid or unappealing smell
- Mold or color changes
- Hardened exterior
- Dry texture
- Slimy cake filling
It’s safe to say a spoiled cake won’t taste good either, but if you accidentally take a bite, you’ll be able to instantly tell if there’s something wrong with it. Don’t do it on purpose, though!
Even one bite of spoiled food can lead to food poisoning so it’s not worth the risk!
👨🍳 Try These Easy Cake Recipes
With so many cake recipes it can be difficult to make a choice when you want to try something new. What about when you don’t have so much time at your disposal and you still want to make some dessert?
Check out our favorite cake recipes. Delicious, quick, and easy so you can spend more time relaxing instead of baking!
- Slow Cooker Apple Dump Cake Recipe
- Cadbury No Bake Mini Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Lemon Bundt Cake
- No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
- Marshmallow Apple Pie Spice Dump Cake
- No Bake Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe
- Mixed Berry Dump Cake Recipe
More Refrigerator Storage Times
It depends on the type of cake. Plain sponge cake, most store bought cakes, and cake with buttercream, fondant, or ganache filling or frosting are still safe to eat after 7 days in the fridge.
Just to be safe, before eating, inspect the cake and check for spoilage signs such as rancid smell, mold, changes in color, and texture.
Yes, spoiled cake can give you food poisoning. Even when stored correctly, cake will go bad eventually.
Refrigerating or freezing it will slow down the bacteria and mold growth but there’s no way to stop it completely.
Place the cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer it to a cold oven. Set the oven to 250°F and bake the cake until it’s moist and at room temperature.
You can keep sponge cake covered in icing at room temperature for a day or store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It might not go bad after 24 hours on the counter but it is prone to drying out.
A cake’s shelf life depends a lot on the ingredients used and with so many different recipes, along with store bought options the expiration date can vary a lot.
Next time you’re wondering how long does cake last in the fridges, consider what kind it is.
In general, homemade cakes stay safe to eat in the fridge up to 5 days. Cake covered in buttercream, ganache, or fondant can be refrigerated up to 1 week.
The same goes for most store-bought cakes although in this case, I recommend you check the label.
Knowing this information can be helpful for many situations, including buying or making a cake in advance. The end result: no leftovers wasted of this popular dessert!