Ice cream cakes are a delicious frozen dessert that are popular for celebrations like birthdays and holidays. But if you have leftover ice cream cake stored in the freezer, how long does it stay safe to eat? Here is a comprehensive guide to how long frozen ice cream cake lasts, proper storage methods, signs of spoilage, and more.
Properly stored, an uncut ice cream cake will last 2-3 months in the freezer. A cut ice cream cake will last 1-2 weeks in the freezer. Make sure to wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or foil and store away from freezer door to prevent freezer burn.
How Long Does an Uncut Frozen Ice Cream Cake Last?
An uncut, whole ice cream cake that has been continuously frozen can safely stay in the freezer for 2 to 3 months past the printed expiration date on the packaging. The cake may still be safe to eat after 3 months, but quality declines over time in the freezer.
A high-quality ice cream cake from a bakery or brand like Carvel, Dairy Queen, or Cold Stone Creamery that is properly stored in a 0°F (-18°C) freezer should easily last 2-3 months in the freezer past any printed sell by or best by date.
Homemade ice cream cakes or lower quality store-bought ice cream cakes may not last quite as long – closer to 1-2 months is a better estimate for maximum quality.
What Factors Determine How Long an Uncut Frozen Ice Cream Cake Will Last?
Several factors impact how long an uncut ice cream cake lasts in the freezer:
- Ingredient quality – Higher fat content, lower air content, and higher quality ingredients lead to longer freezer life.
- Packaging – Cakes well wrapped in plastic wrap or foil last longer than loosely wrapped cakes.
- Freezer temperature – Colder freezers near 0°F prolong shelf life.
- Freezer maintenance – Consistently well-functioning freezers extend shelf life.
- Exposure – Cakes stored deeply in the freezer last longer than cakes near the door.
How Long Does a Cut Frozen Ice Cream Cake Last?
Once an ice cream cake has been cut into and partially eaten, it will have a much shorter shelf life left compared to a whole uncut cake.
A cut ice cream cake will only last 1 to 2 weeks in the freezer, compared to the 2-3 months an uncut cake lasts.
Cutting into the cake exposes all the ice cream to air, which can lead to freezer burn. It also increases the risk of ice crystals forming throughout the thawed portion as the cake re-freezes.
Tips for Storing a Cut Cake
To maximize the shelf life of a cut ice cream cake, follow these tips:
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap pressed directly against the ice cream’s surface before returning to the freezer.
- If storing for more than 2-3 days, consider placing the cut cake in an airtight plastic freezer container or bag.
- Minimize openings and only remove from freezer right before serving.
- Let sit at room temperature 10 minutes to slightly soften before slicing more.
How to Tell if Frozen Ice Cream Cake Is Bad
Watch out for these signs that indicate your frozen ice cream cake has gone bad and should be discarded:
- Ice crystals – Large ice crystals throughout cake mean freezer burn has occurred.
- Hard, dry spots – Dry, crumbly areas that don’t soften at room temperature.
- Color changes – Unnatural colors or excessive brown spots signify oxidation.
- Off odors – Smells like sour milk or spoiled dairy products.
- Mold – Fuzzy or discolored growths of any kind.
If you see any mold growth, toss the cake. With other issues like freezer burn, you may be able to salvage parts of the cake by cutting away affected areas. But if the quality seems very poor overall, it’s best to discard the whole cake.
How to Store Ice Cream Cake for Maximum Freshness
Store ice cream cake in the coldest part of your freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, foil, or an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. The ideal freezer temperature for long-term storage is 0°F (-18°C).
Follow these tips for storing ice cream cake:
- Do not store ice cream cake in the freezer door, where temperature fluctuations cause freezing and thawing.
- Place ice cream cake on a lower shelf towards the back where temperature is most stable.
- If the cake came in a box, do not store in the same box in the freezer long-term.
- Wrap the cake tightly in a layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- For cut cakes, an airtight container is best to prevent freezer burn.
- Avoid opening the freezer door unnecessarily to limit temperature changes.
How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer?
The shelf life of ice cream also provides a good gauge for how long frozen ice cream cake will last. Here is how long the different types of ice cream last:
|Type of Ice Cream
|Freezer Shelf Life
|Ice Cream (Unopened)
|Ice Cream (Opened)
|Low-fat Ice Cream
|Soft Serve Ice Cream
|Homemade Ice Cream
|Sherbet or Sorbet
In most cases, ice cream cake will last about as long as the ice cream it contains. So if you know how long ice cream lasts, you can estimate the shelf life of frozen ice cream cake.
Does Ice Cream Cake Go Bad?
Yes, ice cream cake can go bad, but it takes quite a while if stored properly in the freezer. An uncut cake stored continuously at 0°F can remain safe to eat quality-wise for 2-3 months.
Signs that ice cream cake has gone bad and may not be safe to eat include mold growth, unusual odors, excessive ice crystals, and dry or hard texture.
If any amount of ice cream cake has been left out of the freezer for over 2 hours, it is best to be safe and discard it. Bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Ice Cream Cake?
Ice cream cake that has partially or fully thawed can be safely refrozen, although texture and taste may be compromised.
To refreeze thawed ice cream cake, remove any melted areas with a spoon and then quickly wrap and return cake to freezer before it softens further. Use within 2-3 days for best quality.
Do not refreeze ice cream cake if it was left at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
How Long Does Store-Bought Ice Cream Cake Last?
Store-bought ice cream cake lasts just as long as homemade in the freezer if frozen solid. An uncut store-bought cake stays fresh 2-3 months past the printed date, while a cut cake lasts just 1-2 weeks.
Higher end ice cream cake brands like Carvel, Cold Stone Creamery, Dairy Queen, and Baskin Robbins will typically last longer thanks to higher quality ingredients and standards. Generic store-bought ice cream cakes may have shorter shelf lives around 1-2 months.
Signs Store-Bought Ice Cream Cake Has Gone Bad
Check store-bought ice cream cakes for the same signs of spoilage as homemade cakes:
- Freezer burn
- Ice crystals
- Hard, dry texture
- Off odors
Can You Freeze Thawed Store-Bought Ice Cream Cake?
It is safe to refreeze store-bought ice cream cake once thawed if done properly. Remove melted parts, quickly rewrap in plastic, and return to freezer before more thawing occurs. Use refrozen cake within 2-3 days for best quality.
Does Ice Cream Cake Need to Stay Frozen?
Yes, ice cream cake always requires freezing as it is a frozen dessert. Letting ice cream cake thaw too much will lead to a melted messy cake that cannot be safely consumed or refrozen.
Ice cream cake should be kept frozen solid until you are ready to serve it. Thaw it just 10-15 minutes to slightly soften before slicing and eating the cake.
Never leave ice cream cake out at room temperature longer than 1-2 hours. The dairy ingredients are prone to rapid bacteria growth if allowed to sit out too long.
Can You Freeze Homemade Ice Cream Cake?
Absolutely! Homemade ice cream cakes freeze beautifully for long-term storage.
To freeze a homemade ice cream cake:
- Freeze cake until solidly frozen, at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Wrap cake tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
- Return cake to freezer, placing it in the coldest location towards the back of a shelf.
- Label cake with date of freezing for best quality tracking.
- Store frozen for up to 2-3 months.
Tips for Freezing Homemade Cakes
- Do not freeze cake in the same pan used to construct the cake. Wrap thoroughly first.
- Cakes with higher fat and lower air content freeze best.
- Let cake thaw 10-15 minutes before serving to make slicing easier.
- Avoid opening the freezer often to minimize temperature fluctuations.
How Long Does Homemade Ice Cream Cake Last in the Fridge?
Homemade ice cream cake will last 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Since it is made with dairy ingredients like cream, milk, and eggs, homemade cake must be kept chilled at 40°F or below.
For any longer storage, homemade ice cream cake needs to be frozen solid. Fridge temperatures are not cold enough to maintain frozen ice cream cakes.
How Long Does Baked Ice Cream Cake Last?
Baked ice cream cake that contains eggs or other cooked components will have a slightly shorter shelf life than regular ice cream cake. Expect an uncut baked cake to last about 1-2 months in the freezer.
Once cut, a baked ice cream cake generally lasts just 1 week in the freezer due to greater risk of freezer burn on exposed baked sections.
Storage Tips for Baked Ice Cream Cakes
- Let bake fully cool before freezing so it freezes evenly.
- Wrap in two layers of plastic wrap or foil.
- Eat baked cakes within 1 week of thawing for best taste and texture.
Does Freezing Affect Ice Cream Cake Quality?
Freezing should not significantly impact the taste or texture of an ice cream cake if stored properly.
Allowing freezer burn to occur by not wrapping the cake airtight can dry out parts of the cake. Large ice crystals may also develop throughout the cake if stored for very long periods.
Eat ice cream cakes within a few months and minimize opening the freezer to prevent quality decline. Well-wrapped cakes kept at 0°F can stay delicious frozen for 2-3 months.
Keeping ice cream cake fresh and tasty starts with proper freezer storage. Uncut cakes last 2-3 months while cut cakes only 1-2 weeks. Wrap cakes tightly, avoid temperature fluctuations, and store toward the back of the freezer. Look for ice crystals, dry texture, and off odors as signs of spoilage before eating frozen ice cream cake.