What Is The Shelf Life Of Homemade Cake?
Sadly freshly baked cake won’t last forever. That would be a dream, haha, but there are ways to preserve the freshness of a cake! Almost always, cake tastes best if enjoyed as soon as it’s made since, as the days go on, cake becomes drier and the texture changes.
How long a cake lasts at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer will depend on a variety of factors. For example, whether the cake is store-bought or homemade, the type of cake, the type of frosting, and how it’s prepared.
For instance, if you’ve made a deliciously creamy cake with a custard filling or whipped cream topping like this ekmek with kataifi, it will need to be refrigerated up until serving and will last in the fridge for about two days. Cakes with other wet ingredients, like this milopita recipe with fresh apples, should also be eaten within a couple of days and refrigerated.
Cakes made with dairy icing, fresh fruit, or fruit compote will need to be refrigerated to help them last longer and reduce harmful bacteria. Cakes with custard, whipped cream or fresh fruit will last the least amount of time in the fridge.
What About Store-Bought Cakes?
Store-bought cakes will usually display a best-before date or expiration date on the packaging. Unlike homemade cakes, store-bought cakes usually have preservatives that help them last longer on grocery shelves or in the fridge. Because of this, they can last up to a week at room temperature or in the fridge but keep an eye on that best before date.
If the best-by date goes by a day or two, then it’s good to inspect the cake visually. If you don’t see or smell any visual cues that the cake has gone bad, then it should be safe to eat. If, however, you notice mold or an unappetizing scent, then the cake has, in fact, gone bad. It’s best to throw out the cake so that you don’t expose yourself to harmful bacteria or foodborne illnesses.
How Can You Tell If Cake Is Bad?
You can tell from what the cake looks and smells like to decide if it’s safe to eat. If there’s mold on the cake, it has definitely gone bad and should be thrown away. If the cake is mushy or slimy or hard and dry, then there’s a really good chance it won’t taste very good. Lastly, if your cake has a funky or sour smell, it’s best to throw it out.
Does The Type Of Cake Affect The Shelf Life?
Most unfrosted cakes will last at room temperature for up to 5 days, about a week in the fridge, and for at least 6 months in the freezer. While unfrosted cakes don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, this will depend on the cake filling. If it’s a plain unfrosted chocolate, vanilla or spice cake without buttercream frosting, fresh fruit, whipping cream filling, or fresh fruit filling, then it should last at room temperature for about 5 days.
Frosted cakes with buttercream or cream cheese icing (or another type of icing made with dairy) should be stored in the fridge, and they can last up to 4 days in the fridge.
In general, fruit, dairy or perishable frostings or fillings will shorten the cake’s shelf life, even in the fridge.
The good news is that frosted cakes or cakes with fondant icing keep moisture locked in since the thick frosting or fondant acts as a protective barrier to the air. Frostings or fillings with dairy products (buttercream, whipping cream, sour cream, or cream cheese frosting) should always be refrigerated.
Bundt cakes are made in a round cake pan with a hole in the middle. Bundt cakes are often sprinkled with powdered sugar or drizzled with a sugar glaze. These cakes can be stored at room temperature and will last for up to five days when wrapped well or correctly covered.
Homemade cake with syrup like portokalopita will stay fresh and taste better at room temperature since the sugar in the syrup acts as a preservative, and the syrup adds moisture to the cake. Cakes that are high in sugar tend to last longer.
This type of cake doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but some people enjoy it colder instead of at room temperature. If you top your portokalopita with whipped cream, then it will need to be refrigerated. Or you can add whipped cream when you’re ready to serve it!
How To Store Cake
If you’re baking a homemade cake, it’s important for the cake to cool completely at room temperature before wrapping it with plastic wrap or storing it in the fridge. If the cake is still warm, it will become soggy, and the excess moisture could make it moldy more quickly.
If you’re making a layer cake, it’s best to fully cover each layer of the cake individually in plastic wrap since any air exposure will dry out the cake. You can store the cake in a cool, dry place. There’s no need to refrigerate it if you plan on using it within a day or two. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to freeze it to preserve the cake’s freshness and moisture.
If your kitchen is warm or you live in a hot climate, this may also shorten the time your cake lasts at room temperature (for example, only 2-3 days instead of around 5) since harmful bacteria love warm conditions.
In a warmer environment, storing any leftover cake in the fridge could be better than at room temperature. Or, just be aware that you may not have as long to leave the cake out at room temperature.
If you have any leftover cake that you’d like to freeze instead of placing it in the refrigerator, you can follow the same steps for refrigerating:
- Allow the cake to come to room temperature.
- Wrap the cake tightly with Saran Wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped cake in an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for 4-6 months.
- Having a good preparation method for freezing leftover cake is the best way to limit freezer burn and enjoy homemade cakes months later!
Leftover cake will lose moisture as the days go by, and the texture will become drier. The result may be a more stale cake that won’t be as enjoyable to eat but one that hasn’t necessarily gone bad yet.
Cake can last about 4-5 days at room temperature if it’s stored properly. If you store leftover cake, it will last a little bit longer, about 5-6 days. Long-term, cake can be stored in a freezer if properly wrapped and placed in an airtight container or freezer bag for 3-4 months.
All refrigerated cakes taste better when brought to room temperature for 30 minutes before eating. Now I have to get back to this piece of cake!
Overall, the length of time a cake lasts in the fridge, at room temperature, or in the freezer will depend on the type of cake and ingredients used for the topping, frosting and filling.
How Long Does Cake Last?
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