Does cake with fondant need to be refrigerated?

Quick Answer

Cakes covered in fondant typically do not need to be refrigerated. Fondant acts as a protective coating that seals in moisture and prevents the cake from drying out. As long as the cake and fondant were properly prepared and applied, the cake can usually be left at room temperature for several days. However, if the cake contains fillings or decorations that need refrigeration, like fresh fruit or whipped cream, then it should be refrigerated. Refrigeration can also help the fondant last longer before getting stale or discolored. But for cakes without perishable decorations, room temperature storage works fine.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Cake with Fondant Icing?

Fondant icing forms an airtight seal around a cake that prevents it from drying out. The icing itself is very stable at room temperature. So cakes covered in correctly applied fondant do not need refrigeration to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage.

Keeps Moisture In

One of the biggest reasons cakes go stale quickly is moisture loss. When a cake is left uncovered, it starts to dry out as the moisture evaporates. But covering a cake in fondant creates a protective barrier that locks in moisture. This keeps the cake layers tender and moist for several days without needing refrigeration.

Prevents Mold and Bacteria

Refrigeration helps slow mold and bacteria growth. But fondant prevents microbes from getting into the cake in the first place. Fondant’s airtight seal stops mold spores floating in the air from landing on the cake layers. And fondant’s low moisture content doesn’t allow bacteria to thrive. So at room temperature, fondant-iced cakes don’t face major risks of spoilage.

High Sugar Content

Cakes and fondant both have very high sugar contents. Sugar acts as a preservative by binding up water molecules. This leaves less moisture available for microbes to grow. The high sugar concentration in fondant cakes further prevents them from easily spoiling without refrigeration.

When Refrigeration is Recommended

While fondant-iced cakes generally keep fine at room temperature, refrigeration can help extend their shelf life in some cases:

Cakes with Perishable Decorations

If a fondant cake includes decorations made with whipped cream, fresh flowers, or fruits like strawberries, these items need refrigerator temperatures to stay fresh and attractive. So refrigerate cakes with any perishable decorations.

Hot Climates

In very hot or humid environments, room temperature conditions may accelerate drying or encourage mold growth. Refrigerating fondant cakes can help prolong freshness in hot climates.

Long Term Storage

If you want to keep a fondant cake for more than 3-5 days, refrigeration can help prevent the fondant from becoming stale, discolored or overly firm.

Buttercream Under Fondant

Buttercream frosting under fondant can soften and break down faster than shortening-based icing in warm conditions. For best texture, refrigerate cakes with buttercream rather than shortening filling between layers.

Storing Cakes with Fondant at Room Temperature

When refrigeration isn’t needed, here are some tips for storing fondant cakes at room temperature:

Cool Spot

Avoid placing cakes near heat sources like appliances or in direct sunlight, which can accelerate drying. Store fondant cakes in the coolest spot in your kitchen.

Airtight Container

For longer room temperature storage, put the cake in an airtight container or under a cake dome to prevent moisture loss.

Elevated Surface

Place fondant cakes on a rack or plate rather than directly on the counter. This allows air circulation to prevent condensation from forming.

Support Base

Use a cake board or sturdy plate to keep the shape intact and prevent sagging or cracking of the fondant.

Ideal Conditions

The best room temperature conditions for fondant cake storage are around 65-75°F with low humidity.

Refrigerating Steps for Fondant Cakes

If you do need to refrigerate a fondant-covered cake, follow these guidelines for the best results:

Allow Fondant to Firm Up First

Let the cake sit at room temperature for at least 2-4 hours after applying the fondant icing. This allows it to dry and form a solid shell before chilling.


Avoid tightly wrapping or covering the cake, as trapped condensation can ruin the crisp fondant texture. Allow airflow by leaving the cake uncovered.

Place on Cake Board

Put the cake on a sturdy board or plate rather than directly on the refrigerator shelf so it can be easily moved without disturbing the fondant.

Monitor Temperature

The ideal refrigerator temperature for fondant cakes is around 35-40°F. Avoid letting the cake touch the cold back wall of the fridge.

Limit Time

Only refrigerate fondant cakes for as long as needed, usually 1-3 days max. Extended chilling can make fondant soggy.

Signs Your Fondant Cake Needs Refrigerating

Watch for these signs that indicate your fondant-covered cake should be refrigerated:

Condensation on Fondant

If you see beads of moisture forming on top of the fondant icing, this is a sign the cake is losing moisture faster than the fondant can contain it. Refrigerate to control condensation.

Fondant Slipping

If the fondant icing starts to slide or loosen its attachment to the cake, the layers are likely softening faster than desired. Chilling will firm everything up.

Sagging Layers

A fondant cake that starts losing its shape with cracking or sagging sides means the interior cake layers are too soft. Refrigerate to stiffen the texture.

Stale Crumbs

If fondant covered cake layers start to taste stale with dry, crumbly texture, refrigeration can help recalibrate the moisture content.

Soft Spots

Check for any squishy or soft spots on the sides or bottom. This can signal moisture migrating out of the cake faster than the fondant barrier can contain it.

Storing Cakes with Whipped Cream Frosting and Fruit

Cakes with whipped cream or fresh fruit fillings and frosting require refrigeration:

Whipped Cream

Due to its high dairy content, whipped cream must be refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth. Store cakes with whipped cream frosting or fillings at or below 40°F.

Fresh Fruit

Berries, citrus slices, and other fresh fruit decorations need refrigerator temperatures to maintain quality. They will breakdown quickly at room temp.

Limit Time

Only prepare fruit and whipped cream cakes 1-2 days max before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Airtight Container

Keep fruit and whipped cream cakes well covered in the fridge so they don’t pick up odors or dry out.

Freeze for Long Term

For storage beyond 2-3 days, double wrap whipped cream cakes and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

Can You Store Refrigerated Cakes at Room Temperature?

It’s generally unsafe to leave a cake that requires refrigeration out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Cakes with the following items should never sit out more than 2 hours:

Whipped cream

Due to dairy content, these cakes must stay chilled. Leaving whipped cream cakes at room temp for over 2 hours allows bacterial growth.

Fruit filling or whipped cream frosting

Berries, sliced citrus, and other fruits start deteriorating quickly without refrigeration. Store fruit cakes only briefly at room temp.


The high cream cheese content makes cheesecake prone to bacterial growth if left unrefrigerated for extended periods.

Pastry cream or pudding filling

The eggs and dairy in these sweet fillings can spoil rapidly above refrigerator temperatures.

Storing Cupcakes and Mini Cakes with Fondant

Individual cupcakes and mini cakes covered with fondant also do not require refrigeration:

Follow Room Temp Guidelines

The same storage guidelines apply for fondant-topped cupcakes and petite cakes. Keep them at cool room temperature out of direct sun.

Space Out on Racks

Arrange fondant cupcakes far apart on racks for airflow circulation rather than stacking.

Airtight Containers

Once iced, place fondant cupcakes and mini cakes in food storage containers to prevent drying out.

Limit Time

Even when fondant sealed, cupcakes and mini cakes stay fresh at room temp for just 1-3 days. Serve within this window.

Can Fondant Cakes Be Frozen?

It’s possible but tricky to successfully freeze fondant iced cakes. Here’s what to know:

Freeze Before Fondant

Only cakes without fondant can be frozen. Apply fondant after thawing the frosted cake.

Double Wrap

Before freezing, double wrap the unfrosted cake tightly in plastic then foil to prevent freezer burn.

Thaw in Fridge

Slowly thaw frozen cakes overnight in the refrigerator to prevent condensation.

Re-crisp Outside

After applying fondant to the thawed cake, let it sit out to recrisp the outside icing layers for 1-2 hours before serving.

Short Term Only

Avoid freezing fondant cakes for more than 2-3 weeks maximum. Even when wrapped, they will degrade in quality and appearance.

Troubleshooting Fondant Cakes

Issue Cause Solution
Cracking Too cold environment Store at room temperature
Fondant slipping Layers too soft Refrigerate cake
Drying out Not enough simple syrup Brush cake with simple syrup before applying fondant
Mold Warm humid conditions Refrigerate or store in cool drier area
Condensation Cake too cold Let fondant cure before refrigerating

Prevent Cracking

To stop fondant from cracking on cakes:
– Maintain cool room temperature storage
– Check that simple syrup or frosting wasn’t over-applied
– Use cake boards for support to avoid sagging

Stop Fondant Slipping

To prevent fondant icing from sliding off cakes:
– Ensure cake layers aren’t overly moist
– Let fondant dry completely before moving cake
– Apply right thickness of buttercream for fondant to adhere to

Avoid Mold

To prevent mold growth on fondant cakes:
– Refrigerate cakes with fruit fillings
– Store cakes in a cool, low humidity environment
– Avoid adding moisture under fondant from syrup soaking

Key Takeaways

The main takeaways on fondant cake storage guidelines:

– Cakes covered with correctly applied fondant icing can be left at room temperature for 1-3 days without refrigeration.

– Refrigeration can help fondant cakes stay fresh longer, especially in hot conditions or if they contain fillings that need chilling.

– Allow fondant to dry completely before refrigerating to prevent condensation from forming.

– Whipped cream and fresh fruit cakes always require refrigeration to inhibit bacterial growth.

– Limit fondant cake storage to 3-5 days maximum for best quality since fondant will eventually stale.

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