Did you make a cake a few days before your event? Were you not able to eat the entire cake that you baked and now need to keep if fresh for the next day? Did you just make too much cake and want to save it for later?
There are plenty of reasons why you may need to store a cake and learning how to properly keep a cake fresh and delicious is very important.
These easy to follow tips and tricks will teach you how to store a cake, how to keep a cake fresh and also how to keep a cake moist- all extremely important after you spent so much time baking that delicious cake!
After all, you want it to be just as delicious for longer than one day!
How to Wrap a Cake for Storage
Whether you plan to store your cake in a fridge, freezer or just on the counter, you want to be sure to wrap it well.
Even the most juicy, moist cake in the world will get dry when not properly wrapped. Constant contact with the air will suck the moisture out of the cake, causing it to be dry and unappetizing, not something you want!
The best tool to wrap a cake is plastic wrap. Not only does plastic wrap keep a cake from drying out in the air but it also prevents water from getting on your cake when stored in the fridge or freezer. Plastic wrap is also very malleable so it can conform to your cake, ensuring that it is completely sealed.
If your cake is un-frosted, simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then continue to store it wherever you decide is best (more details on this below!). If you have already frosted your cake in buttercream or fondant, let the frosting harden slightly in the fridge then wrap the cake gently in the plastic wrap.
If you happen to have a cake box handy, place the cake inside the box and then wrap the entire box in plastic wrap.
If you do not have plastic wrap on hand to seal your cake, any airtight container will do. A covered cake stand is another beautiful way to display and store a cake. A cake box is also very versatile and economical, perfect for storage and transportation.
Cake slices can be perfectly stored inside Tupperware as well. The main ideas is to block air and water, protecting the integrity of your cake as much as possible!
Where to Store a Cake
Once you have your cake wrapped well, what next? Where should you store a cake? Well, there are many answers to this question and various benefits and downfalls to each.
However, all of these places to store a cake will work!
Store a Cake at Room Temperature
If you plan on eating or serving your cake within a few days, keeping it at room temperature is a great idea. Place the cake on a pretty cake stand with a lid or just gently wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it on the counter. A cake will keep at room temperature for about three to four days.
When you store a cake at room temperature, it will be nice and soft whenever you are ready to eat it. Keeping a cake at room temperature will also keep the integrity of the cake as the texture will not change at all, something that can happen when a cake is frozen and thawed.
The danger of keeping a cake at room temperature is that it is right there on the counter, begging you to eat it…it is harder to resist!
Store a Cake in the Fridge
Storing a cake in the fridge will help your cake stay fresh longer. The fridge is also ideal for cakes that have a cream filling, a fruit filling or anything that may be perishable.
You will also want to opt for the fridge if you live in a hot or humid area where a cake could melt if left at room temperature. When stored in the fridge, a cake will keep for about a week.
Before storing a cake in the fridge, wrap it well. Sealing the cake will prevent it from getting dry and also help block the cake from being exposed to any other foods in the fridge. You don’t want your cake to absorb the essence of garlic!
You also don’t want any moisture from the fridge to build up on your cake.
Store a Cake in the Freezer
If you make a cake and want to enjoy it at a much later date, you can definitely freeze it- most cakes freeze very well!
When wrapped properly (see the first part of this article about how to wrap a cake), a cake will keep for about six months in the freezer. Freezing a cake is a perfect way to make a cake far in advance and then be able to enjoy a homemade cake whenever you need it.
When you are ready to enjoy the cake that you previously froze, transfer it to the fridge the day before you would like to eat the cake. Then, on the big cake eating day, take the cake out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature, slice and serve!
Your cake will taste fresh and delicious!
Storing a Frosted Cake
One of the best ways to store a cake is to frost it before you store it. While you can definitely can store a cake that is un-iced and frost it later, the frosting on a cake will actually help seal in the moisture, protecting the cake from getting dry.
Not only can you ice a cake with frosting before storing it but you can even cover a cake in fondant before packing it away. If you plan on storing a fondant covered cake in a fridge or freezer, opt for a fondant designed to withstand moist environments.
When your cake is thawing after being frozen or coming to room temperature after being in the fridge, moisture may form on the cake surface. A fondant designed for humid environments will greatly help in this situation by absorbing the moisture and preventing the fondant from becoming sticky.
Once your cake is iced, place it in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the icing harden (this holds true for fondant and buttercream iced cakes). Then, wrap the cake in plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly on the firm icing.
Continue to store the cake where you would like (keep reading for tips on where to store a cake). If you do not want the plastic wrap to touch your cake, place it in a box instead. The frosting will still help to protect the cake!
What to Expect When Storing a Cake
While it is nice to imagine that your cake will stay fluffy and oven-fresh long after it is baked, your cake may change a little bit depending on how it is stored. For one, that very fluffy texture may become a little more firm.
As your cake ages, whether it is in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a few months, it will dry a little (no matter how tightly you wrap it!) and the crumb texture of the cake will become more crumbly.
Wrapping a cake well is the best way to combat this textural change but it is definitely something to expect when storing a cake.
If you store a cake covered in fondant in the fridge or freezer, you need to be prepared to bring it to room temperature slowly. This means you will have to plan ahead and take the cake out of the fridge or freezer a few hours (or days) ahead of time.
The temperature change should happen slowly to prevent moisture from escaping the cake too quickly and causing the fondant to get wet and tacky.
Expect the cake to take a while to come back to room temperature and also be prepared to dry any damp fondant. Pointing a fan on the cake as it thaws is a great way to prevent moisture build up as well!
Improperly Stored Cake
Even if you have the best cake intentions, you may find that you did not store your cake properly. So what exactly does it mean when a cake is not stored correctly?
The most common problem with improperly stored cakes is that they will be dry. When a cake is not wrapped well, stored too long or thawed incorrectly, the air will take the moisture right out of that soft cake.
Cakes will slowly loose their moisture as they age so if a cake is stored for too long, it will dry out over time, no matter how well it is wrapped.
Always consume your cake within the time period that is recommended. For a cake being stored at room temperature, three to four days is best. A cake that has been kept in the fridge is best when eaten within a week.
A cake will keep for about six months in the freezer. After these time periods, the quality of the cake will decrease.
If you are storing a cake with frosting or fondant and it is not stored correctly, any decorations may be ruined. Delicate cake decorations can become tacky, be crushed or melt.
Always be aware of the temperature at which you are storing your cake and adjust your storing methods accordingly, especially when the cake has icing or decorations.
Cakes are one baked good that definitely can retain their integrity when stored properly. Remember that wrapping the cake well is key to keeping a cake moist, making sure the cake stays fresh and keeping any decorations on the cake looking flawless.
When deciding how to store a cake, think about when you want to eat it and that will definitely help determine where you should store it. Follow all of these tips to be sure you not only store the cake correctly but also prepare it correctly after being stored.
While you are surely a cake storage expert by now, you do have one final option for storing a cake: don’t sore it. Just eat it all right away! After all, who can resist a fresh cake!!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.