How to Store Cake So It Stays Fresher Longer
I know the idea of leftover cake is anathema to many. Who has cake left over? But now and again, you are faced with more cake than you're likely to eat on the day it was sliced. And while you can always freeze baked goods to make them last, a properly stored cake can last as long as a week in your kitchen, with little or no loss of quality.
Depending on the type of cake you have, storing it properly will keep it at its most delicious for the longest amount of time. From preventing it from drying out, to maintaining the frosting, to making sure it doesn't spoil, knowing the different methods of keeping your cake at its peak will give you days of dining delight. But first ...
How NOT to store your cake.
Do not store cake in a warm or damp environment. These are a recipe for bacterial growth or mold, and you don't want to get sick from eating cake that has gone off! Also, be sure to store cakes properly covered (more on that to come) to prevent attracting bugs or other vermin.
If I bought it refrigerated, do I keep it refrigerated?
The general rule is that a cake you purchase cold should stay cold for storage. But that doesn't mean you want to eat it cold. As long as the cake is not an ice cream cake, take any cake out of the fridge between 30 minutes and 2 hours before slicing and serving for optimum flavor and texture. Once everyone has been served, you can store any leftovers in the fridge.
How to store cake
Loaf or Bundt Cakes
These cakes can be stored at cool room temp, glazed or unglazed. For loaf cakes, I save the cut heel-end, only serving the center pieces, and then put the heel back on the cut end of the loaf to help retain moisture. For Bundt cakes, you can place a slice of soft sandwich bread on the cut ends to achieve the same effect, or cover the ends in plastic wrap. Then put in a covered cake keeper, or on a plate with an inverted pot on top to keep the freshness in.
These cakes are often unfrosted, or have a simple glaze, or might have a crumbly streusel topping. Think coffeecakes and the types of cake that are good for afternoon coffee or tea. These should be stored in their pan, with the cut sides covered with plastic wrap, and the top loosely tented with foil.
Cakes frosted with American-style frosting or buttercream (we like cream cheese frosting!) can be stored the same way as Bundt cakes. Cakes frosted with any of the European-style buttercreams or whipped cream, or filled with any cream, custard or fresh-fruit fillings, should be stored in the fridge. Place plastic wrap against the cut edges, then place the cake in an airtight cake saver if you have one. If you don't, you can use a large Tupperware-style bowl or container flipped upside-down to create a dome. If you don't need to keep the cake whole, it can be easily sliced into portions, placed on plates and covered with plastic wrap.
Cakes with any fresh fillings or frostings like whipped cream, custard or fruit will last about three days, frosted cakes about five, and loaf or Bundt cakes up to a week. If you have a lot of cake and are unlikely to eat it up within that window, it will be fresher if you freeze it—or make someone's day and give the cake away!
How to freeze (and thaw) cake
Portion slices and place on a parchment-paper-lined sheet pan and place in the freezer, uncovered, until frozen solid, four hours to overnight. Wrap each frozen portion in plastic wrap, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. To thaw, remove from the bag and unwrap, place on a plate and loosely cover with the plastic wrap and thaw overnight in the fridge.
Whether you have had an epic celebration, or have just been on a baking spree, it is always good to have cake in the house. And when stored properly, cake can provide days of enjoyable eating without any loss of texture or flavor.
In the mood for cake? Try some of our healthy cake recipes!