How do I store my buttercream cake for the next day?

Quick Answer

To store a buttercream cake overnight, take these steps:

  1. Let the cake cool completely before storing it. This prevents condensation from forming.
  2. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap. Make sure there are no gaps where air can get in.
  3. Refrigerate the wrapped cake. The ideal temperature is around 40°F.
  4. Keep the cake level while refrigerating. Do not stack anything on top of it.
  5. Remove the cake from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to let it come to room temperature.

Properly stored, a buttercream cake can last 2-3 days in the refrigerator before quality deteriorates. Avoid freezing buttercream cakes because the frosting will not hold up.

How Long Can I Store a Buttercream Cake?

With proper storage techniques, you can keep a buttercream frosted cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before it will start to go bad.

Here are some general guidelines on buttercream cake storage times:

Storage Time Cake Quality
1-2 days Best quality. Cake and frosting will still taste fresh.
3 days Still good but some loss of texture and flavor.
4-5 days Dry cake and frosting starts to lose creaminess. Use for trimmings.
1 week Cake will be stale. Frosting can get watery. Not recommended.

The fridge environment helps slow down the growth of mold and bacteria that causes cakes to go bad quickly at room temperature. However, cakes still have a relatively short shelf life compared to other baked goods.

For best results, plan on eating or serving your buttercream cake within 2-3 days of baking it. Don’t wait longer than 5 days.

Should I Refrigerate or Freeze My Cake?

Refrigeration is the best method for storing buttercream cakes. Do not freeze buttercream frosted cakes. The frosting will not hold up well.

Here’s why refrigeration is better:

  • Slows mold growth. The cold fridge temperature inhibits mold.
  • Retains moisture. Keeps cake from drying out.
  • Minimizes air exposure. Plastic wrap prevents oxygen from shortening shelf life.
  • Maintains frosting texture. Buttercream stays creamy when chilled.

Freezing buttercream cakes can ruin the frosting:

  • Causes frosting to weep. Moisture beads up and separates from the cake.
  • Alters texture. Makes the frosting grainy, stiff, and flat.
  • Changes flavor. Mutes the sweetness.
  • Damages decorations. Intricate piping will not hold shape.

The butter and dairy in the frosting do not stabilize well in frozen storage. Refrigeration is kind on both the cake layers and frosting.

How to Store Buttercream Cakes

Follow these steps to properly store a frosted cake in the refrigerator:

1. Allow cake to cool completely

It’s important to let the cake cool thoroughly before attempting to wrap and refrigerate it. Cooling takes 1-2 hours. Rushing this step causes problems:

  • Condensation will form inside the wrap if the cake is warm, leading to soggy sponge.
  • Warm cakes give off moisture as they cool. This moisture gets trapped if you wrap too soon.
  • Buttercream needs time to set and crust. Warm cakes can leave frosting smudges on the wrap.

Test the cake and frosting with a toothpick to ensure no residual warmth. Refrigerating should happen at room temperature.

2. Seal cake in plastic wrap

Once cool, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container. This prevents air from contacting the cake during storage.

  • Press the plastic directly against the frosting, leaving no gaps.
  • Make sure the cake is fully enclosed.
  • Wrap multiple layers if needed so no part is exposed.

You can also use an airtight cake storage container. Cake rounds prevent messy frosting smudges on the plastic.

3. Refrigerate cake promptly

Put the wrapped cake in the fridge immediately after sealing, ideally within 30 minutes. Extended time at room temperature allows mold growth.

Aim for a constant fridge temperature around 40°F. Higher than that shortens shelf life. Monitor the temperature if possible.

Leave refrigerated for up to 3 days maximum for best quality.

4. Keep cake level in fridge

Store the wrapped cake on a flat shelf or plate in the fridge. Do not stack anything heavy on top that could crush or deform the shape.

Keeping the cake level also prevents the layers or frosting from sliding around in transit. Stable positioning retains the decoration.

If short on space, find a clear area big enough for the cake. This prevents damage.

5. Remove cake 30 minutes before serving

Take the cake out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. Allow it to gradually come to room temperature.

This prevents condensation from forming on the cold cake when exposed to warmer air. It also improves the texture and flavor.

Keep the existing plastic wrap on until ready to serve. Monitor for any temperature changes.

After 30 minutes, the cake is ready to display, decorate, and eat!

Tips for Refrigerating Buttercream Cakes

Here are some additional pointers to help retain the appearance and taste of your buttercream frosted cake:

  • Double wrap very soft frosting that imprints easily.
  • Keep unfrosted cake layers in airtight freezer bags before assembling.
  • Chill cake pillars or supports so they don’t lean or sink.
  • Use wooden cake boards rather than heavy ceramic plates.
  • Slice large cakes into smaller tiers before chilling.
  • Brush frosted cakes with simple syrup to retain moisture.
  • Avoid opening the fridge door excessively so temperature remains stable.
  • Eat cake within 30 minutes of removing wrap to prevent drying.

With practice, you’ll get your personal system down and be able to reliably store buttercream cakes. Pay attention to airflow, moisture, temperature and stability for best results.

Storing Unfrosted Cake Layers

For convenience, you can bake cake rounds or layers in advance and chill them unfrosted:

  • Cool completely after baking – no residual warmth.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or seal in a container.
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days maximum.
  • Freeze for up to 2-3 months; defrost overnight before frosting.

Plain cake holds up better to freezing than assembled cakes. Well wrapped, unfrosted layers maintain moisture and freshness for frosting later on.

Leave frozen cake in the wrapping until fully thawed before unwrapping. Defrost in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

Alternative Storage for Cut Cake Pieces

Leftover buttercream cake slices require a different storage approach than whole cakes. Exposed cut surfaces dry out faster.

For best results, store cake slices:

  • In air-tight containers or resealable plastic bags.
  • With pieces of plastic wrap pressed directly on any cut sides.
  • For no more than 3-4 days maximum.
  • Frozen for up to 1 month if well sealed.

Consume leftovers quickly. Rewrap and return to the fridge promptly after serving. Discard pieces that dry out or look old.

Portioning cake into smaller servings helps minimize waste if you won’t eat it all before it spoils.

Storing Backup Buttercream Frosting

Extra leftover frosting also requires refrigeration for food safety and lasting quality:

  • Let frosting cool to room temperature after making it.
  • Spoon into an airtight container, smoothing the top.
  • Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface before sealing the container.
  • Refrigerate up to 5 days.
  • Freeze up to 3 months.

When ready to use, thaw frozen frosting overnight in the fridge. Whip briefly with a mixer to restore texture.

Discard frosting that smells odd or shows any mold growth. Keep refrigerated except when piping onto cakes.

Signs Your Cake Has Gone Bad

Monitor refrigerated cakes closely for any signs of spoilage. Discard the cake if you notice:

  • Visible mold growth – fuzzy spots or greenish patches.
  • Strong sour odor.
  • Dry, cracked surface.
  • Weeping or watery frosting.
  • Slimy texture or mushiness.
  • Off colors like grey, beige or black.

When a cake does spoil, throw it away immediately. Don’t try to salvage any part of it. Botulinum toxin can grow even without visible mold.

Prevent waste by freezing cake portions if you won’t eat it all fresh. Follow all refrigeration guidelines to get the maximum shelf life.


Here are answers to some common questions about storing buttercream cakes:

Can I store my cake on the counter instead of the fridge?

No, leaving a buttercream cake out at room temperature will cause it to spoil much faster. Refrigeration is essential for food safety.

What temperature should my fridge be?

The ideal fridge temperature for cakes is around 40°F (4°C). Colder is okay, but avoid letting it get warmer than that.

Can I freeze my decorated cake?

It’s not recommended. The frosting will not hold up well. Refrigerate only for best preservation.

How do I thaw a frozen cake?

Thaw frozen unfrosted cake layers overnight (12 hours) in the refrigerator. Keep them wrapped until fully thawed.

Can I cover the cake plate in cling wrap instead?

Plastic wrap pressed directly on the cake works better. It minimizes airflow and prevents drying out.

How do I stop frosting streaks on the plastic?

Let layers cool completely before wrapping to avoid smears. Chilling assembed cakes helps set the frosting.

What temperature should I remove refrigerated cakes?

Take cakes out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving or decorating. This prevents condensation.


With the proper storage methods, buttercream frosted cakes can easily last 2-3 days when refrigerated without sacrificing taste or decorative appeal. Allow adequate cooling time, wrap tightly in plastic, maintain an ideal 40°F temperature, and prevent moisture loss. Do not attempt to freeze decorated buttercream cakes. Follow these guidelines and your lovely cake creations will stay fresh!

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