How Long Does Cake Last in the Fridge? What You Need to Know

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Whenever there is a celebration of sorts, it is pretty common for there to be a cake baked or bought in order to help everyone celebrate. Whether it is a birthday or just a general celebration, a cake is easily the most common food to make an appearance. When you buy a cake it can be easy to misjudge how many people the cake will serve.

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Some cakes are denser than others and will therefore be more filling, it is inevitable that you are eventually going to have some leftovers of a cake that you want to eat another day. Storing a cake and knowing how long it will last in a fridge, freezer, or at room temperature, is incredibly important to ensure you are only eating cakes that are still fresh and tasty.

Birthday cake

Table of Contents

Is Storing cake a Good Idea?

Storing a cake can sometimes be quite challenging. As you know, a lot of cakes are very different.

The ingredients used in cakes can vary depending on what type of cake is being baked. For instance, some cakes will use standard ingredients. Others will use more adventurous ingredients such as spices, fruits, nuts, and more. Does it have dairy in its ingredients, like butter or milk?

Whether a cake is iced or not will also make a difference to its shelf life and storage methods. A thick layer of mostly sugar are going to have an effect on how quickly it goes bad.

While almost all cakes can be stored in some way to allow them to keep for an extra few days, the conditions in which they should be stored can vary quite a lot. Some cakes should be refrigerated immediately after they are no longer wanted, to avoid them staying at room temperature for too long. Other cakes should be left at room temperature permanently until they are either bad, too stale to eat, or no longer wanted.

All cakes differ in density, ingredients, and shelf life. So it can be quite a challenge to know which types need to be stored where and for how long.

Christmas cake

Cake Shelf Life

As mentioned previously, cake can be quite tricky to store. It should be kept in the most optimal conditions available. This’ll ensure it has the longest shelf life it can achieve.

Hopefully, by storing a cake as well as possible, you can increase how long it lasts, enough for you to eat it to avoid any food waste.

How long does Cake last in the Fridge?

Assuming your cake is meant to be stored in the fridge, it should be done after the cake has reached room temperature. A lot of cakes can be quite moist when they are warm or freshly cooked. This temperature and moisture environment can be perfect breeding conditions for bacteria, causing accelerated growth.

Let your cake rest, covered, on the side until it is at room temperature. Then you should store it in the fridge. The best way to store it is in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap.

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It is important to limit the amount of fresh air that can get to the cake as this will both cause it to go stale quicker and also spoil quicker. Even if it is not spoiled, eating a stale cake is never fun.

Storing your cake in the fridge is going to allow its shelf life to rise from 1-2 days to up to 5 days/a week. This is not the largest increase but it should give you enough time to eat the remainder of the cake.

How long does Cake last in the Freezer?

Freezing your cake is a very long-term solution. It should be carefully thought about before you do so.

The only reason I say this is because it might be more effort than it is worth.

When people freeze a cake, it is mostly a cake of significant importance to them. This can be a wedding cake or an anniversary cake. Freezing a birthday cake from a supermarket is a good way to avoid wasting it. But is also worth more hassle than it should be.

A good idea is to store it at room temperature or in the fridge for as long as possible. Then either try your hardest to finish it or throw it away.

I only suggest this because when you freeze a cake, it has a very noticeable impact on the flavor and texture of the cake. Unless it is a special cake such as an ice cream cake, freezing it will make it horrible once it is properly thawed.

When it comes to freezing your cake, you need to let the cake cool down to room temperature. As mentioned when placing it in the fridge, if it is still warm and moist it will promote bacterial growth and breeding. Needless to sat, this is bad.

To optimally freeze a cake or a slice of cake, you should wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. You can also place the cake in an airtight container and then freeze it yet this can lead to freezer burn. Tightly wrapping the cake in plastic wrap will remove all oxygen and air from its exterior, making it less prone to freezer burn.

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Freezing cake can extend its shelf life of it up to 3 months. After this, it may still be safe to eat. But it is also known to have a large decrease in quality after three months in a freezer.

While it is not going to immediately become no longer safe to eat, the FDA cannot guarantee that it will remain as such after this period of time has passed.

How long does Cake last at Room Temperature?

Cake can be left at room temperature for a while. A lot longer than meat or other similar goods can be. But it is not without a caveat.

Cake is very prone to going stale if there is contact with a lot of air. This causes the bread-like part of the cake to oxidize and harden – leading to it becoming stale.

Cakes that are decorated with perishable ingredients (such as fruit or whipped cream) will not be good to keep any longer past their serving time. This is typically a few hours, anything between 2-4 ideally.

However, any cakes that do not have perishables on them can be stored for 24 hours at room temperature on the side without anything bad happening to them. They might go stale if stored incorrectly yet an airtight container will fix this.

Cakes with specific storage conditions

Searching for any of the following questions?

  • How long does buttercream cake last in the fridge?
  • How long does cheesecake last in the fridge?
  • How long does fruit cake last in the fridge?
  • How long does rum cake last in the fridge?

You may want to check the ingredients list to see if they are made with any very perishable components.

The reason that these are mentioned specifically is that they all contain ingredients that alter their shelf lives. Buttercream, cheese, and fruit cakes all have ingredients that are very quick to spoil. Therefore, they should be stored in the fridge with extra care.

Rum cake, on the other hand, is quite an easy-to-store cake. Bacteria have a hard time breeding and living on anything that has alcohol. While the alcohol content of rum cake is incredibly low, it is still high enough for it to be almost impossible for bacteria to breed on. This thus increases its shelf life a lot.

In fact, Rum is used as a food preserver in a lot of situations. Which is why the cake can be stored so easily.

How to tell if Cake has gone Bad

Telling if your cake has gone bad or not can be quite difficult. Especially for people that are not informed what they should be checking for.

The most important thing to check for is a different smell than usual. Bacteria, when high enough in quantity, will produce a very easily identifiable smell that is putrid and unpleasant. Most, if not all, cakes will have a sweet and delicious scent that people like. So it will be very easy to distinguish a bad cake from a good cake by smell alone.

Other than the scent, it can be helpful to inspect the cake to see if mold is growing anywhere. Due to how moist cake can be, it is common for mold to be an insanely easy warning that your cake is bad. If there is any mold, you cannot simply cut it off and enjoy the rest of the cake. The entire thing needs to be discarded.

FAQs on Cake Shelf Life

Is cake still good after 6 days?

Depending on what type of cake it is, it will most likely be good after 6 days. The only issue is that this might be enough time for the cake to become stale which is unpleasant to eat.

How can you tell if cake is bad?

The best way to tell if your cake is bad or not is by smelling it. Cake will naturally produce a very pleasant and delicious scent as the ingredients are mostly sweet and flavored. As soon as you smell something putrid and rancid, you will know that there are enough bacteria on your cake that it is now dangerous to eat.

How long will a sponge cake last covered in icing?

A sponge cake covered in icing will typically last for up to five days in the fridge. It will last for a day at room temperature out in the open but will succumb to being stale quite easily. It is best to wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

How long does cake last unrefrigerated?

Typically, cake will last for an entire day without being refrigerated. It is not uncommon to leave a cake out for this long although after a few hours it will become noticeably stale. To prevent this, it is best to place it in an airtight container. After a day has passed, you may want to place the cake in the fridge so that it can keep for another few days.

Can cake give you food poisoning?

Cake can definitely give you food poisoning if it is spoiled enough. When left in the wrong conditions, a cake can grow enough bacteria and mold to become somewhat of a health risk. While it is not guaranteed to give you food poisoning, eating a spoiled cake can make you feel ill or poison you.

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By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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