Should I put my cake in the fridge overnight?

Quick Answer

Putting a cake in the fridge overnight is generally recommended if you want to preserve the cake and prevent it from staling or drying out too quickly. However, certain types of frosting and decorations may not hold up well in the fridge.

Should you refrigerate cakes overnight?

Yes, refrigerating cakes overnight helps slow down the staling process and keeps the cake tasting fresher for longer. The cold environment of the refrigerator helps firm up butter-based frostings and keeps moisture locked into the crumb.

Here are some benefits of refrigerating cake overnight:

– Slows down starch retrogradation – This is the process where starches in the cake start to crystallize and cause the cake to become stale. The cold temps of the fridge dramatically slow down this process.

– Prevents moisture loss – Leaving a cake out at room temperature overnight leads to more moisture evaporating from the cake and causes it to dry out. Keeping it chilled prevents this drying effect.

– Firms up buttercream frosting – If your cake is frosted with buttercream, the chilled temps of the fridge help keep the frosting nicely firm instead of softening into a messy texture.

– Inhibits microbial growth – Refrigeration prevents spoilage microorganisms from growing. This is especially important with dairy-based frostings, fillings, and toppings.

So refrigerating your cake creates ideal conditions to maximize its freshness and shelf life. It’s usually recommended to store frosted cakes in the fridge and unfrosted cakes at room temp in an airtight container.

What types of cakes can you refrigerate overnight?

Most cakes and cupcakes do well being refrigerated overnight, including:

– Cakes with buttercream frosting or ganache – The fat helps keep the cake moist.

– Most frosted cupcakes – The small size prevents drastic textural changes.

– Pound cakes and dense cakes – Their low moisture content and density prevents staling.

– Cheesecakes – Their high fat content needs refrigeration to firm up after baking.

– Fruit cakes – The dried fruits do not get negatively affected by chill.

Avoid refrigerating overnight:

– Cakes with fresh fruit – Can damage fresh fruits like strawberries.

– Whipped cream frosting – Will deflate and lose volume.

– Meringue – Becomes soggy and weepy.

– Cream-based frostings – Can turn hard or crack.

How to store a cake in the fridge overnight

Follow these tips for properly storing cakes in the refrigerator:

– Let the cake cool completely first – Refrigerating a warm cake can cause condensation.

– Double wrap in plastic wrap – Make sure entire cake is sealed airtight.

– Place on a flat plate or cake dome – Provides more stability than a wobbly cake stand.

– Keep away from foods with strong odors – Absorbing fridge odors can ruin the cake flavor.

– Give it time to warm up before serving – Let it sit out for at least an hour to come closer to room temp before eating.

– Avoid opening the fridge door frequently – Prevents temperature fluctuations.

– Consume within 3-5 days – Keeps it at peak quality, after that staling occurs.

Proper refrigeration methods help lock in your cake’s precious moisture and fresh taste.

What happens if you don’t refrigerate cakes overnight?

Leaving a frosted cake out at room temperature overnight can negatively impact its taste and texture in several ways:

– Accelerated staling – The cake crumb will stale much quicker unrefrigerated.

– Dries out – Moisture evaporates faster, leaving a dry, crumbly texture.

– Frosting deteriorates – Warm temps cause buttercream and whipped cream frostings to soften and become runny.

– Soggy texture – Condensation can make parts of the cake gummy.

– Promotes mold growth – Leaving cakes in warm kitchens creates an ideal environment for molds.

– Attracts pests – Fruit flies, ants and other pests can be attracted to uncovered cakes sitting out.

While an uncovered cake may still be edible after sitting out overnight, its quality and shelf life drastically decline compared to proper refrigeration. Always opt for refrigerating a frosted cake unless it contains ingredients like fresh fruit or whipped cream that don’t fare well in the cold.

Signs your cake has gone bad from improper storage

Here are some red flags that indicate your leftover cake has spoiled and should be discarded:

– Mold growth – Fuzzy mold spots indicate microbes have taken over.

– Strong sour odor – Smells like vinegar or alcohol due to microbial fermentation.

– Extreme dryness – Cake crumbles apart, feels like sandpaper.

– Weeping frosting – Watery liquid leaking from the frosting.

– Discoloration – Frosting or cake has unnatural colors.

– Strange textures – Spongy, slimy, gritty cake crumb.

– Wilted fruit – Fresh fruit topping appears shriveled.

– Condensation – Beads of water inside the packaging.

– Insect infestation – Small bugs inside packaging.

While a refrigerated cake can last several days, an unrefrigerated cake that’s exposed to room temp will go bad after just a couple days. Always inspect cake before eating and don’t hesitate to throw it out at the first signs of spoilage.

Can you freeze cake?

Yes, freezing cake is a great long-term storage method. Here are some freezing tips:

– Double wrap cake layers in plastic wrap then foil. This prevents freezer burn.

– Place layers in airtight freezer bags or containers. This protects against absorbing fridge odors.

– Freeze unfrosted cakes. Frosting makes cakes prone to texture changes from freezing.

– Thaw overnight in the fridge. This slowly brings the cake back to optimal temperature and moisture content.

– Avoid refreezing after thawing. Refreezing causes more ice crystals to form, damaging the cake texture.

Properly wrapped cakes can stay frozen for 2-3 months. Dense, low moisture cakes freeze especially well. Freezing extends cake’s shelf life for special occasions like weddings or birthdays.

Can you freeze frosted cakes?

It’s best to avoid freezing frosted cakes. The frosting does not hold up well to freezing and thawing:

– Buttercream becomes grainy – The fat crystallizes and separates during freezing.

– Whipped cream deflates – Loses its air bubbles, becoming flat.

– Icing and glazes weep – Freezing causes condensation, ruining the frosting.

– Frosting pulls away from cake – Shrinks and separates from the cake layers.

– Decorations get damaged – Elaborate decor becomes mushy.

If you must freeze a frosted cake, use a thin glaze instead of thick frosting. Avoid elaborate decorations. Thaw the cake very gradually in the fridge to minimize frosting issues.

Overall, unfrosted cakes freeze much better. Frost your cake after thawing for best results.

Can you freeze cupcakes?

Yes, cupcakes can be successfully frozen:

– Wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap so they don’t stick together.

– Place in resealable freezer bag. Squeeze out excess air.

– Freeze for up to 3 months.

– Thaw overnight in the fridge.

– Enjoy within 2-3 days for best quality.

Tightly wrapped cupcakes prevent freezer burn. Their small size makes them thaw fairly quickly. The paper liners help retain moisture after thawing.

Avoid freezing frosted cupcakes, as the frosting will not thaw well. Frost your thawed cupcakes instead for fresh results.

Troubleshooting refrigerating and freezing cakes

Cake dried out in the fridge

Double wrap cake layers to prevent air from drying out the cake. Use an airtight container instead of just foil. Avoid opening the fridge frequently.

Frosting melted

Use a firmer frosting like buttercream instead of whipped cream. Chill the frosted cake 20-30 mins before refrigerating to help it firm up.

Ice crystals in thawed cake

Thaw frozen cakes slowly in the fridge overnight instead of countertop. Avoid refreezing after thawing.

Weeping frosting

Thaw cake gradually and wipe any moisture. Use thin glazes instead of thick frostings.

Mushy decorations

Avoid decor items that don’t freeze well like flowers or intricate piping. Stick to more durable decorations.


Refrigerating cakes overnight is the best storage method for maintaining taste and texture. Double wrap cakes and store on a flat plate in the coldest part of the fridge. Let come to room temperature before serving. Avoid freezing decorated, frosted cakes. With proper handling, cakes can stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. Follow these cake storage tips to help your cake creations last as long as possible!

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