How To Store Cakes

Learn how to store cakes to keep them looking and tasting their best. Whether homemade or store-bought, these pro tips will have you enjoying these tasty creations much longer.

Chocolate cake on a white cake stand
Image courtesy of pixelshot via Canva.com

The thing about learning how to store a cake is that they’re not the most shelf-stable treats in the world. They’re best enjoyed shortly after they’ve been made.

But if you could store cakes for future enjoyment, it creates the possibility of making a cake for a special occasion ahead of time!

Then we have cake leftovers which you don’t want to waste a single bite of.

Can you freeze it? Should you store it in the fridge? How about cakes with fruit or creamy frostings? Here’s all you need to know.

Should cakes be stored in the fridge?

Cake wrapped in cling film in the fridge
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Storing cakes in the fridge is not a great idea. For starters, we keep lots of food in the fridge, and the spongy cake will absorb all its aromas (including onion smell). 

Refrigerators have low moisture levels and dry out anything stored in them. That means the frosting and the cake will become dry if stored long-term.

Of course, a few hours in the fridge won’t do the cake any harm.

If the aim is to store it short-term, here’s how to do it:

1. Wrap the cake in cling film, especially if unfrosted and cut.

2. Store for no more than two days for unfrosted cakes and up to four days for whole buttercream cakes.

3. Place in the back of the fridge on the top shelf. This is often the coldest spot in the fridge with the most consistent temperature.

How to freeze frosted cakes (whole)

Pink ombre cake on a white stand
Image courtesy of Ruth Black via Canva.com

Frosted buttercream cakes are quite delicate, but the good news is that one can freeze frosted cakes with ease. Here’s how to do it.

  • Place the whole cake on the cake board or plate in the freezer. Allow it to freeze for about 2 hours until the frosting on the outside is firm.
  • Remove the cake and wrap it in plastic film and a layer of aluminum foil before putting it back in the freezer.
  • Store for up to 2 months.

How to freeze an unfrosted cake

If you want to freeze a whole cake or cake layers before icing them, allow them cool to room temperature. and wrap in cling film.

Separate the layers with parchment paper if you’d like to wrap them together.

Cake layers wrapped in cling film being placed in freezer
Image courtesy of Qwart via Canva.com

You can also store them in large freezer bags.

Storing cut cakes

Slices of cake on plates
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Storing cut cakes or cake slices with exposed surfaces stale much faster than whole cakes. Try not to keep them in the fridge longer than a day or two.

Before storing, spread the cut sides with extra frosting to keep the cake moist and protect from drying out too quickly.

Alternatively, you can wrap cake slices in a few layers of cling film.

For freezer storage, place the slice of cake on a small plate, wrap it in cling film and aluminum foil.

Store it in the back of the freezer for up to two months. 

Why the back of the freezer? Because it has the most stable temperature and it’s least susceptible to sudden changes caused by opening and closing the freezer door continuously.

A vacuum-sealed freezing bag is a fantastic alternative as well. Even a small air-tight container will do the trick as long as you’re not planning on storing the cake for extended periods.

The secret here is keeping the moisture at bay and preventing the cake from absorbing odors from other foods in the freezer.

Storing cakes with fruit fillings or toppings

Slice of strawberry cake on a plate
Image courtesy of Denis_Vermenko via Canva.com

Cakes with fruit fillings and toppings need special consideration. They’re not freezer material and they don’t fare well at room temperature for more than a few days either.

The real problem behind cakes with fruit filling is that fruit is over 90% water, and water expands when frozen.

This can cause the cake to lose some of its structural integrity. And then there’s the thawing. Frozen fruit will dampen the cake’s layers. There’s a big chance the cake will become soggy.

For cakes with fruit fillings, freeze and thaw only the cake layers and assemble with the filling right before serving.

As for fruit toppings, they should be placed a few hours before serving as well and should be removed if planning to store leftovers for extended periods. 

Fresh fruit is way better than frozen fruit anyway, so there shouldn’t be any problem if the cake is stored without fruit. It’s worth the effort.

How to defrost a cake

If a frosted cake is frozen solid, remove the wrapping and transfer it to the fridge at least twenty-four hours before serving. It can later return to room temperature on the kitchen counter. 

The secret here is defrosting the cake in stages, never drastically. If the cake is moved from the freezer to the countertop, condensation may form on the cake quickly.

These drops of water can ruin your cake and frosting, especially if you used food coloring.

For unfrosted cakes, one can thaw them while still wrapped in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature if they will be enjoyed without frosting.

If they’re layer cakes, I find it easier to frost cakes while they’re still cold from the fridge.

More FAQs

What’s the best way to store cakes overnight?

The best way to store cakes overnight depends on the cake. For entire cakes with frostings, a plastic cake box will do.

An upside-down mixing bowl can protect it as well. If they’re aren’t any strong flavored foods in your fridge, for example onions, whole frosted cakes may be stored uncovered overnight.

For cake slices, one can use an air-tight container or wrap the slice in cling film.

Frosted or unfrosted cakes will be okay stored on the kitchen counter overnight as well. Cover to protect from sneaky night-crawlers. 

How long can you store a slice of cake in the freezer? 

If there are no significant temperature changes in the freezer, meaning the cake hasn’t thawed, then the cake will be safe for months on end. 

Some ingredients, though, might make the cake less stable, like fruit. Vegan cream cheese frostings can also split or curdle after freezing and thawing making for a less attractive cake.

Can I freeze cake that was previously frozen and thawed?

Every time any food is thawed, it’s exposed to bacteria, which tend to thrive on warmer food. It is not safe to eat food that has been frozen and thawed or reheated more than once, that includes cake.

Cake Recipes to try

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