The Best Ways To Store Cake

The moisture makes the cake, so keep it fresh with these storage tricks.

Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
Photo: Photographer: Alison Miksch; Prop Stylist: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

You put a lot of time and love into baking your family's favorite cakes. Whether a moist and tender chocolate cake for a birthday celebration or a velvety-textured pound cake topped with fresh fruit for a neighborhood potluck, you work hard to correctly measure, sift, blend, and stir so that the finished product will inspire praise (and requests for the recipe).

Don't let all that hard work go to waste by allowing the cake to dry out. If you need to bake in advance, follow the tips below on how to properly store a cake, whether it's frosted or not (and even if you've stolen a slice or two).

How to Store Unfrosted Cake Layers

Wrapping a warm cake layer will lead to messy condensation, so wait until it is completely cool before applying the plastic wrap.

Step 1. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap.

Wrap each unfrosted cake layer individually and tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to secure the top, sides, and bottom of the layers.

cake layers ready to go into freezer
Emily Laurae

Step 2. Store the layers in a zip-top plastic bag.

Place the wrapped layers in a zip-top plastic bag, and store them on the kitchen counter for up to five days, but make certain to store the cake in a cool, dry place away from any direct sunlight.

How to Store Frosted Cakes

A Southern cook can never have too many casserole dishes or pretty cake keepers. A keeper, also called a cake carrier, not only transports a cake to a party with style and ease, but also can store a frosted cake at room temperature for four or five days. The cover will protect the cake from dust, dirt, pet hair, and more.

If you don't have a cake keeper, a large overturned bowl also works well in a pinch. Don't worry about using plastic wrap, as that would only mess up the frosting, which, in fact, acts as a barrier and protects the cake from air and moisture.

How to Store Cut Cake

As soon as you cut a cake, whether frosted or unfrosted, moisture begins to escape, and the cake starts to grow stale. On those rare occasions when you have leftover cake, you have two options for keeping it fresh:

Option 1. More frosting

Cover the sliced edges with more frosting to protect the cake from moisture loss (and who doesn't love more frosting?)

Option 2. Plastic wrap

Firmly press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the open, sliced sides. Then continue covering and storing the cake in a cake keeper as outlined above. A cut cake keeps for a little less time than an uncut cake, about three days at room temperature.

slice of frozen cake
Emily Laurae

Should Cake Be Refrigerated?

Most cakes—whether frosted, unfrosted, cut, or uncut—are fine for a few days when properly stored at room temperature.

So when should you refrigerate a cake? Here are three scenarios that may call for chilling:

  • If you live in the deep South and your kitchen stays hot and humid during the summer months, cover and refrigerate your cake.
  • If you made a cake that won't be served for a few days, cover and refrigerate your cake.
  • Lastly, if your cake includes a fresh fruit filling or topping, or has a frosting made with whipped cream or mascarpone, cover and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve, and refrigerate any leftovers as well.

How to refrigerate cake

Storing a cake in the fridge is simple; just remember to bring a refrigerated cake out 30 minutes to an hour before serving, and let sit at room temperature for the best texture.

Unfrosted: Before refrigerating, wrap the cake or cake layers in plastic wrap to protect them from drying out or absorbing refrigerator smells.

Frosted: Chill the cake uncovered for 15 minutes to harden the icing, then loosely wrap it in plastic wrap. If you have the fridge space, also store it inside a cake keeper to help keep it fresh. Depending on the type of cake, it may last as long as a week in the fridge.

When Should You Freeze Cake?

If you need to keep unfrosted layers or a frosted cake for more than a few days, another solution is to put your freezer to use. In fact, cake can be stored for as long as three months in the freezer.

Unfrosted: Double wrap each layer in plastic wrap, then put it into a freezer-safe bag or wrap with aluminum foil.

Frosted: Place the cake in the freezer for an hour to set the icing, and then wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. Add a layer of aluminum foil or store the frosted cake inside a cake keeper.

How to defrost a cake

To defrost a cake, leave it wrapped, and place it in the fridge the night before you plan on serving it, or for at least eight hours. This will allow the cake to defrost with minimal condensation. Pull the cake out of the fridge, remove the wrap, and enjoy.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles