Among all types of sweet treats and desserts, properly baked cake takes a special place on the list of sweetness and deliciousness.
The cake is a classic and it can be served on so many occasions, from birthday parties to wedding receptions.
But, aside from the proper preparation and baking, a cake needs to be handled and stored properly as well. In order to do that, you need to know where and how it is best to store it and what its exact shelf life is.
Since some types of cakes require refrigeration, the main question is “How long does cake last in the fridge?”. The answer to this question mainly depends on the type of cake, as well as the proper storage conditions.
If you want to know more about this instructive topic, I suggest you continue reading.
How Long Does Cake Last In The Fridge?
As I already said in the introduction, there are several factors that determine the exact shelf life of a refrigerated cake.
The first main factor is the proper storage of your sweet dessert. Everything will go in vain if you don’t store it the right way. So, in this article, the main storage tips will be represented and explained in detail.
The second important factor that determines the shelf life of refrigerated cake and cakes in general, is the exact type of cake. The broad classification of cakes refers to store-bought and homemade cakes.
In general, homemade cakes can last for up to 5 days if stored properly.
On the other hand, store-bought cakes can last a bit longer because of the preservatives it contains.
Their shelf life is estimated at about 7-10 days if stored the right way, of course.
However, that’s not all. There are many types of cakes with various types of ingredients that determine the shelf life of each and every type of cake. And, you will find out their exact shelf life later in this article.
Finally, the last factor that determines the shelf life of cake is based on the presence as well as the type of frosting and filling. Unfrosted cakes do not last as long as frosted cakes in different storage conditions.
So let’s get straight to the point and see how long unfrosted cake actually lasts in the fridge.
How Long Does Cake Last In The Fridge Without Frosting?
Although in most cases, you will be dealing with a cake that has some type of frosting and filling with ingredients that are quite sensitive, there can also be a cake with no perishable ingredients like dairy products or fruits.
A plain unfrosted cake can be safely stored at room temperature for a couple of days, i.e. in most cases for about 5 days if you store it properly.
In order to do that, you need to cover it with plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container. The container with wrapped unfrosted cake must be stored in a cool, dry place.
However, we are talking about the shelf life of refrigerated cake in this article.
I have to say that you can store it in the fridge as well where it will stay good for up to 7 days if stored properly.
Just like with storing it at room temperature, you must also wrap it tightly with a plastic wrap and put it in an airtight container when refrigerating it in order to prevent it from drying out quickly.
How Long Is A Cake Good For In The Fridge If It Is Frosted?
Unlike plain unfrosted cakes, cakes with any kind of frosting or filling require refrigeration. That is especially the case with frostings and fillings that have perishable ingredients like dairy products (cheesecake) and fruits.
Cake With Buttercream Frosting
Most cakes that are covered or filled with buttercream requires refrigeration.
If stored properly in the fridge, cake with buttercream frosting or filling will stay good for up to about 5-7 days.
However, you also have to know that there are some types of buttercream that don’t require immediate refrigeration. One of those types is American buttercream.
If that’s the main ingredient of your frosted cake and if there are no other perishable ingredients, you can leave your cake at room temperature for up to 3 days. After that time frame, it needs refrigeration as well.
Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
There is no doubt about a cake that has a frosting or filling made from cream cheese. It needs to be refrigerated immediately because this type of ingredient is highly perishable.
If you store this cake properly in the refrigerator, it will last for up to about 5-6 days.
That leaves fairly enough time for you to enjoy your delicious cake or plan what to do with it.
Cake With Fruit Filling
Fruit fillings are very sensitive and need to be refrigerated right away.
If you do that the right way, your cake with fruit filling or topping will preserve its freshness and quality for 4 days.
Some say that it can be kept in the fridge for an extra day or two. And, it is true that it won’t go bad in that time frame. However, if you want to consume the best version of it, I would recommend you stick to those 4 days.
How Long Does A Cake Stay Fresh?
Although this is a more complicated question, it can be answered to some extent for some types of cakes.
I won’t be giving you the exact amount of time in which your cake will stay fresh because it is best to stick to the previously mentioned time frames, but I will give you some information that is very important for preserving the freshness of the cake.
You first have to know that frosted cakes stay fresh for longer because the frosting or icing protects them from the air which can dry them out quickly. This is especially true for cakes with a non-dairy frosting.
Cakes with a dairy frosting and other perishable ingredients need refrigeration and you shouldn’t play with that.
When it comes to cakes with dairy and fruit fillings, they also need to be refrigerated. But, those dairy products and fruits can negatively affect the freshness and quality of the cake, so it is better to consume them earlier.
When it comes to unfrosted cakes, they can be left at room temperature for a couple of days, but please note that they will become dry if you keep them there for too long.
You can definitely refrigerate them and extend their shelf life. But, their freshness and quality will start deteriorating after just about two days.
Finally, freezing is a storage method that is always great if you want to extend the shelf life of food for a couple of months.
But, you have to know that the freshness and quality of your cake will suffer and that is especially the case with those cakes that have a frosting made from dairy products such as buttercream or any other type of cream.
Does Cake Go Bad? Cake Spoilage Signs
Besides the fact that cake can deteriorate in terms of freshness and quality, it can also go bad if it is not handled properly.
The main cause of spoilage is harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning or foodborne illness.
Fortunately, there are a few major signs of spoilage that can tell you whether you can consume your cake or not.
First, if your cake has been sitting on the countertop for too long, especially if it hasn’t been covered properly, it is most likely spoiled and you shouldn’t consume it even if you don’t see any signs of spoilage.
Also, if it has been sitting in the fridge for more than a week, it is probably not suitable for consumption anymore and you should get rid of it.
If you are not sure how long it has been stored in one of these two places, you should use your senses.
First, if it smells strange or if it has a bad taste, it is probably not good anymore.
If it has a dry or crumbly texture or if you notice a hard exterior, it is best to toss it in the trash.
A slimy filling is also a major spoilage sign of the cake.
Finally, mold can easily contaminate your cake and that is a sign of spoilage for sure. If you see mold on the surface of your cake, do not eat it under any circumstances.
Also, it is not recommendable to just scrape away those moldy parts and eat the rest of the cake because the mold can easily hide in parts where you can’t see it. It can be underneath the icing or it can grow between the layers.
So, if you see mold anywhere on the cake, it is best to get rid of the entire cake.
How To Store Cake Properly?
The best way to store your cake depends on the type of cake, as you could have seen in previous paragraphs. Some cakes are good at room temperature while others should be stored in the fridge or the freezer.
Storing Cake At Room Temperature
As you already know, plain unfrosted cakes can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days. However, you need to store them the right way.
In order to do that, you first have to cool it to room temperature, i.e. 70 degrees F.
After it is cooled properly, it needs to be wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap so it doesn’t come in contact with air which can accelerate its deterioration.
One layer of plastic wrap is enough if you are planning to consume the cake the next day.
If you are planning to leave it on the kitchen counter for a couple of days, it is best to double-wrap it so that it doesn’t dry out quickly.
After wrapping it the right way, put it in an airtight container or cake carrier if it can be sealed tightly.
Finally, you can leave the container or the cake carrier on the kitchen counter. Just make sure it is a cool, dry place.
Storing Cake In The Refrigerator
If you are dealing with a frosted cake with frosting made from perishable ingredients like fruits or dairy products, you have to store it in the fridge.
After making your cake with frosting, you must let it cool to room temperature and then put it in the fridge for about half an hour uncovered. That way, the icing will harden to the desired consistency.
After that time frame, you can pull it out of the fridge and cover it with a layer of plastic wrap.
Put the properly wrapped cake in an airtight container and place the container on the top shelf of the fridge.
The reason for not putting the cake deep in the fridge lies in the fact some cake ingredients don’t do well at low temperatures.
When you decide to eat the cake, remove it from the fridge for about half an hour before serving it so that it can reach room temperature and can be enjoyed in its best quality.
One more note. Many people ask me whether they can refrigerate the cake before icing it.
Although it is possible, I wouldn’t recommend it because cooling will cause condensation and, when the icing is placed on it, large air pockets will form and cause icing blowouts.
Freezing The Cake
If you have any leftover cake and you don’t want to just toss it in the trash, it is best to freeze it.
Properly frozen cake leftovers will stay good for 6 months or even more.
First, if you have some leftover frosting, you can spread it on the exposed area of the cake slice if you want to preserve it.
After that, it is best to put the leftover cake in the freezer for about half an hour in order for the frosting to harden.
After that time frame, you can pull it out of the freezer and wrap it with plastic wrap. To be 100% sure of its safety, you can also add a layer of aluminum foil over the plastic wrap.
Properly wrapped cake must be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag before it goes into the freezer. If you choose to store it in a freezer bag, you must suck out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly.
Finally, label the bag or container with the exact storage date and put it in the freezer.
Once you decide to use the cake, you must first defrost it. In order to do that successfully, it is best to transfer the cake from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw for at least 8 hours.
Shelf Life Of Different Types Of Cakes
There are different types of cakes and each and every cake has a different shelf life. In order for you to know what cake you are dealing with, I will provide you with information about their shelf lives below.
• Chocolate Cake: It is most people’s favorite type of cake and, besides that, it can last quite long.
Chocolate cake can last for up to 7 days at room temperature, 5 days in the refrigerator, and 4-6 months in the freezer.
• Carrot Cake: It is not recommended to store carrot cake at room temperature but, if you refrigerate it, it will last for up to 7 days.
If you are up for long-term storage, freeze it and it will stay good for about 3 months or even more.
• Layered Cake: Layered cake is a general term used to describe any type of frosted cake with filling.
It is always good to refrigerate this type of cake and it will last for about 5 days in the fridge.
If you freeze it, it will stay good for 6 months or longer.
• Sheet Cake: As the name suggests, this type of cake is baked in a sheet pan. It doesn’t last too long, so it is best to eat it right away.
However, if you want to extend its shelf life for a couple of days, it is best to store it in the fridge and it will stay good for 2-3 days.
If long-term storage is your intention, freezing is a good idea as it will extend its shelf life by 4-6 months.
• Coconut Cake: This cake is usually filled and iced with cream cheese, so it needs refrigeration.
If you store it in the fridge, it will last for up to 5 days.
If you freeze it, it will stay good for about 3-4 months.
• Bundt Cake: It is a cake baked in a special Bundt pan and it looks like a donut because of its specific shape. Most often, the only decoration on this cake is a bit of powdered sugar or a sugar glaze, so it can be stored at room temperature without any problems.
Stored at room temperature, the Bundt cake will last for up to 5 days.
Proper refrigeration will make it last for about 4-5 days.
You will extend its shelf life for up to 6 months by freezing it.
• Red Velvet Cake: It is a vanilla cake with red food coloring and cocoa powder, and it is frosted with cream cheese icing, so it needs refrigeration.
If you store it in the fridge properly, it will last for about 3-5 days.
If stored in the freezer the right way, a red velvet cake will last for up to 6 months.
Refrigerated Cake Shelf Life Summary
Cake is a type of dessert that can be eaten almost all the time. It is a staple food used for almost every occasion.
But, it is a perishable food and it needs to be handled properly and in order to do so, it is important to know its shelf life.
And the question was “How long does cake last in the fridge?”.
To sum things up, the exact shelf life of a cake depends on the storage conditions, the type of cake, and whether or not it has frosting and filling.