If only cake could last forever, what a blessing that would be. No more would we have to worry about keeping a cake fresh or how to keep a cake from going stale. We’d just be living the buttercream dream, slice after slice. This guide may be your route to cake paradise. Here we have the storage hints and tips to help you work out how to keep a cake moist after baking.
How long does cake last for?
Whether your cake is frosted, covered in fondant, filled with cream or is just an uncut sponge, most cakes can withstand room temperature conditions for several days. Just place your masterpiece onto a cake stand with a cover, or upside bowl, to protect it from the dust in the air.
If you’re worried your cake is going to melt - for example, if it has a fruit filling - it may be best suited for the fridge so it can stay cool. To ensure the fruity flavour is still intact, cover and put it in an airlock container. This will stop the cake from absorbing any off-fridge funky smells.
Typically, a cake will only stay fresh for up to three or four days before the moisture is drawn out and the texture becomes drier. A cake can last in a fridge for a little bit longer if it has been frosted as the frosting keeps the moisture in the sponge. To keep its shape, put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes in an airlock container or loosely cover to allow for the icing to set. Then cover well in plastic wrap and put back it in an airlock container in the fridge.
How to freeze a cake?
Depending on what type of icing you use will depend on how long your cake will last as it may need different storage requirements. Here are some of the most common toppings with their preferred storing method:
Fondant and Buttercream icing
Not surprisingly, covering a cake in a layer of icing helps seal the moisture into the cake as the air can’t get to the sponge. Buttercream and fondant are both great types of icing for this. A well-frosted cake can last for as long as five days in a room with a stable temperature. You'll just need to protect it from dust by storing it in a covered cake stand.
Fondant and buttercream decorated cakes can be frozen to preserve its shelf life. To avoid the icing freezing and snapping off, transfer the cake to the fridge so it can slowly cool and set. Next, wrap the whole cake tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airlock container and place in the freezer. Typically, sponge cakes with this type of decor can last up to four months with the correct storing.
Cream cheese frosting
Cream cheese and whipped cream frosting is notoriously unstable and will not function well in warm weather. So, unless you want a sad-looking sponge, keep these types of cakes in the fridge if you’re not devouring them straight away.
This also means that these type of cakes are not good for freezing as the properties of the frosting will change the texture when it's under the cold conditions. If you have a cake with a whipped cream filling or frosting such as a classic sponge, you can freeze just the sponge and defrost and decorate with fresh ingredients when needed.
Storing ganache cakes will follow similar guidelines to buttercream and fondant styled cakes. It can last in the fridge for up to a week and it can be frozen for several months. However, if your ganache is made with water instead of cream, you won’t be able to freeze your cake. This is because water expands when it’s frozen, which will cause pockets of air that can change the appearance, taste and make your cake go stale.
How long does a wedding cake last for?
Consuming the top tier of your wedding cake on your one year anniversary is a longtime tradition that is said to bring luck and happiness to the participating couple. But, to ensure the cake is as delicious as that first bite of matrimony, it will need to be stored correctly.
- Strengthen the wrap with a layer of aluminium foil and place in a sturdy airtight container so it won't lose its shape.
- Pop it in the freezer and leave until you wish to tuck in a whole 365 days later.
- To thaw, move the cake from the freezer to the fridge a couple of days before the big day. The slow defrost will ensure the cake and icing soften together. Once it’s defrosted, unwrap the cake and take out of the fridge to allow it to reach room temperature so you can enjoy with maximum flavour.
Help, my cake is stale!
If your storing techniques go a little wrong, don’t panic, as you may be able to save a stale cake. One of the easiest ways to save a stale and dry sponge is to drizzle sugar syrup on to the cake. Make sure the syrup soaks through the entire sponge, as this is the key to locking in all the moisture.
Alternatively, you can also repurpose a stale cake. You can use the cake to make a variation of bread pudding or you can crumble the mixture down and mix with frosting or cream cheese to make cake pops. You can sprinkle the cake crumbs on ice cream, or use as decoration to get a similar sprinkled look to a classic red velvet cake. A stale cake sponge can also work well as a layer of trifle.
With these storing tips, you can keep your cake for longer and make sure it’s still full of flavour with each bite.