Baking a cake is a labor of love that takes a lot of time, skill, and effort. Nobody likes seeing a delicious cake go to waste simply because it was not stored properly. It might be tempting to eat a whole cake in one go, but if that’s just too much for you, then you’ll have to find a way to store your cake for later while preserving its texture and taste.
Here’s how to store frosted cake overnight:
- Store your frosted cake at room temperature.
- Store your frosted cake inside the fridge.
- Store your frosted cake in the freezer.
In this article, I’ll take you through three different ways of storing frosted cake, including some extra steps and precautions you might need to take. I’ll also discuss various ingredients that will affect your storage method of choice and the possible consequences of consuming cake that may have gone bad. Let’s get started!
1. Store Your Frosted Cake at Room Temperature
Frosting can act as a layer of protection for your cake. Whether it’s ganache, buttercream, or fondant, the frosting can help seal in moisture. If your cake is still uncut, you can leave it at room temperature for up to 5 days. Just make sure to keep it safe inside a cake keeper, cake dome, or covered in a large bowl to keep dust, insects, and other unwanted particles away. Ensure that the containers and covers do not touch the cake so as not to ruin it.
If your frosted cake has already been partially consumed, the frosting can no longer effectively keep moisture in. You may still store it at room temperature, but cover the exposed parts with plastic wrap. You may also frost over the exposed parts if you still have leftover frosting. A cake that has already been cut can last up to 4 days at stable room temperature.
A stable room temperature is about 70℉ (21℃). Room temperature varies from house to house depending on location, current weather conditions, and other environmental factors. Make sure that the temperature in the area where you plan to store your frosted cake doesn’t fluctuate.
If the room temperature isn’t stable, your frosted cake will be at risk of spoilage. Its elements may also be damaged, such as the frosting and the cake decorations. It would be better to store your cake in the fridge or freezer if you aren’t confident about your room’s temperature stability.
Kinds of Buttercream Not Suitable for Room Temperature Storage
There are different kinds of buttercream and not all of them can withstand room temperature storage. Some of the ingredients used in certain buttercreams may make your frosted cake go bad quickly. Keep this in mind when deciding on how to store your frosted cake.
These are the kinds of buttercream not suitable for room temperature storage:
- Swiss meringue buttercream. It contains beaten egg whites and cooked sugar. This buttercream frosting forms a silky smooth covering – not a crust – over your cake. The eggs are perishable and may not hold out at room temperature.
- Italian meringue buttercream. This contains whipped egg whites and boiling hot sugar syrup. It forms a light, luxurious texture around your cake. The eggs can make this frosting go bad sooner if left on your kitchen counter overnight.
- French buttercream. This type of buttercream contains whipped egg yolks and boiling hot sugar syrup. It forms a custard-like frosting around your cake and may not hold up well at the average room temperature.
- German buttercream. This contains whole eggs and butter and is particularly known for not holding up well in higher temperatures. It forms a light, fluffy layer over your cake.
- Russian buttercream. This buttercream contains whipped butter and condensed milk. It forms a light texture that is just slightly thicker than whipped cream. The combination of milk and butter may make this frosting susceptible to spoilage.
- Korean buttercream. It is similar to Italian buttercream, except it is made with cold butter. This ingredient allows the mixture to form a glossy frosting over your cake. Like Italian buttercream, it may not survive overnight on your kitchen counter.
Traditional American buttercream is best suited for room temperature storage. It is made by simply mixing butter, confectioners’ sugar, and milk or cream. It forms a thin crust around the cake and helps in locking moisture in.
2. Store Your Frosted Cake in the Fridge
If your home is particularly hot and humid, or if temperatures tend to fluctuate, you will need the help of a trusty refrigerator when storing your frosted cake. Heat, humidity, and unstable conditions provide a great environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Keeping your frosted cake in the fridge is also an excellent idea if you don’t think you can consume it within the next 3 days.
If you choose to store your frosted cake in the fridge, keep in mind that doing so will make it dry out faster. You need to take extra steps to ensure that your cake stays deliciously moist.
How To Store Frosted Cake in the Fridge
Frosted cake can last up to 4 days inside the fridge. Here is how to properly store your frosted cake:
- Place your uncovered frosted cake inside the fridge. Leave it there for about 15 minutes to allow the frosting to set
- Take your cake out of the fridge and cover it loosely but securely with plastic wrap. This helps ensure that moisture won’t easily escape.
- Place your wrapped frosted cake into a cake dome and store it in the fridge. You can improvise with an upturned bowl or a large airtight container if you don’t have one.
It’s important to note that extra care should be taken when storing cake with tinted fondant in the fridge. Condensation might cause the colors to bleed, which could ruin your cake. Make sure to place your plastic-wrapped frosted cake inside an airtight container to further prevent moisture from escaping.
If your cake has already been cut, pay extra attention to the cake’s exposed parts while wrapping. Moisture will easily escape through there.
Serving Your Frosted Cake From the Fridge
Before serving your frosted cake, take it out of the fridge and let it sit on your kitchen counter until it comes back to room temperature. Do not unwrap your cake yet. Condensation will occur, and it is better to let moisture develop on the wrapping rather than on the cake. Bringing it back to room temperature ensures that the original taste and consistency are achieved.
Perishable Cake Ingredients
The ingredients you used in your cake’s filling or frosting will also determine if you need to refrigerate it. Some ingredients go bad sooner and may make your cake taste rancid and sour if stored at room temperature. If your frosted cake has any of the perishable ingredients below, you might have to keep it in the fridge.
Cake filling and frosting ingredients:
- Dairy products
- Fresh fruit
- Cream cheese
- Whipped cream
Your cake tasting rancid and sour isn’t the biggest issue if you fail to refrigerate a frosted cake that contains these ingredients. Perishable elements are more prone to bacteria and mold growth, especially when left at room temperature. Aside from making your cake taste bad, bacteria and mold will also make it begin to rot. Consuming spoiled cake can be harmful to your health.
Consequences of Eating Spoiled Cake
It’s never okay to eat cake that may have gone bad. If you suspect that your frosted cake has started to spoil, throw it out at once. Don’t think twice about all your hard work going down the drain because the consequences of eating spoiled cake are far worse.
Food poisoning happens when you eat food that is contaminated or spoiled. Here are some issues you might expect if you eat cake that has gone bad:
- Mild fever
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
What To Do if You’ve Eaten Spoiled Cake
Consuming just a small portion of cake that has gone bad probably won’t do any harm. However, if you’ve eaten a large quantity, call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately. Food poisoning can last for as long as 8 weeks if you’ve consumed a larger portion and if the bacteria or parasites that have contaminated your food are particularly potent.
Here are some life-threatening consequences of eating spoiled cake:
- Fever higher than 102°F (38.9°C)
- Diarrhea that won’t go away after 3 days
- Blood in your urine
- Difficulty in keeping fluids down
- Difficulty in talking and seeing
- Severe dehydration (includes dry mouth and producing very little urine)
3. Store Your Frosted Cake in the Freezer
Freezing cake is an excellent way to save it for later while making sure that you get to enjoy it as if it was freshly made. Freezing is also a great way to prepare for a special occasion, so you don’t have to be too busy and stressed on the actual day. If you decide to freeze your cake, keep in mind that you need to allot more time preparing it for storage and defrosting it before serving.
It is also important to note that not all cake frostings do well when frozen. Some ingredients may separate when stored in the freezer. Others might become soggy when the cake is thawed. Mushy, sloppy cake is not only an eyesore – it tastes unpleasant too.
If you have these ingredients in your frosting, your cake may not be suitable for freezing:
- Light cream
How To Store Frosted Cake in the Freezer
A frozen frosted cake will be safe to eat for a year. However, it is best to consume it within 2 – 3 months from the day it was first frozen. But who can really leave a delicious cake sitting in the freezer for this long without eating it?
Here is how to properly store your frosted cake in the freezer:
- Place your uncovered and unwrapped frosted cake inside the freezer for at least 4 hours. Allow the frosting and decorations to set and to avoid damaging the cake.
- Take your cake out of the freezer and wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap. Double wrapping your frosted cake helps avoid freezer burn.
- Wrap your plastic-wrapped frosted cake in aluminum foil. This further ensures that moisture is locked in.
- Place your wrapped cake inside a freezer-safe airtight container.
- Store your frosted cake in the freezer.
If your frosted cake has already been sliced and you want to freeze it, follow the same procedure mentioned above. Pay particular attention to the exposed parts of the sliced cake. Ensure that these areas are completely sealed by plastic wrap and aluminum foil. You can even wrap and freeze individual cake slices if possible. This saves space and ensures that each slice of cake is properly protected.
How To Serve Frosted Cake From the Freezer
Like refrigerated cake, you should not serve frozen cake straight out of the freezer. This is how to do it:
- Take your frosted cake out of the freezer.
- Loosen the wrappings and place the cake in the fridge to thaw. Leave it for about five hours until defrosted.
- Move the cake out of the fridge and into room temperature. Don’t take out any of the wrappings while thawing, so condensation forms on the wrapping and not on the cake itself.
- Serve your cake once you’ve brought it back to room temperature.
How To Tell if Your Frosted Cake Has Gone Bad
Properly preparing your frosted cake for storage – whether at room temperature, in the fridge, or the freezer – is not a guarantee that it will not spoil. No matter how well you wrap it and make sure temperatures are just right, other factors may still contribute to spoilage. It is always best to check the quality of your cake before consuming it.
Here are some clues to watch out for:
- Texture is harder and drier than normal
- Unpleasant smell
- Slimy cake filling
- Mold formation
You can store your frosted cake in the fridge, inside your freezer, or even just on your kitchen counter. Depending on the ingredients and frosting used, choose the storage method that will best preserve the quality of your cake. Never let a good frosted cake go to waste again by making sure that it is always stored in ideal conditions.