How Long do Birthday Cakes Last in the Fridge?

by Shannon Salzano

Published October 03 2023

How Long do Birthday Cakes Last in the Fridge?
 

The expression "have your cake and eat it too" might be rooted in an age-old dilemma: how do you keep cake tasting good after you’ve taken a slice. As experienced as we are in making and eating cake, we can’t always polish off a whole cake, and are often left with a few slices to spare. Or, perhaps we’ve made a cake for a milestone celebration that is a few days away and we want our hard work to be tasty at its big debut. We are here to answer your burning question: How long do birthday cakes last in the fridge? We’ll even throw in some general cake shelf life tips.

Importance of Cake Storage

First of all, a moment to explain the importance of cake storage. Let’s be real, making a beautiful, delicious, colorful cake takes a lot of effort! Whether you’ve rolled up your sleeves and baked something showstopping, or left the baking to us and ordered a birthday cake for delivery right to your doorstep, some serious time and energy went into making that cake, and it deserves to be enjoyed for as long as possible. With a few simple moves you can extend the shelf life of your cake and have something sweet at the ready when the mood strikes.


Birthday Cake

You’ve never tried a birthday cake like this. Our bestselling Birthday Cake, inspired by the boxed vanilla funfetti cake we loved as a kid, has grown up and gone gourmet. It has three tiers of heavenly rainbow-flecked vanilla birthday cake, layers of creamy frosting & crunchy crumbs, all topped with rainbow sprinkles.

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Types of Birthday Cakes and Their Shelf Life

Now that you know why storing your cake is key, it’s important to know what kind of cake you are working with. Different birthday cakes have different needs, and the components of your cake will impact how long your cake will last. When it comes to cake storage and shelf life, one of the main issues you need to consider is moisture. Made with perishable ingredients, a cake can get too dry and lose its taste or it can get soggy and moldy. Cakes that have heavy ingredients like fudge sauce and thick jams are packing a lot of moisture, which leads to a quicker spoiling rate, meaning less leftover cake for you to enjoy if not stored properly. Simpler cakes that are oil based and only have a layer of say buttercream frosting or fondant have less moisture to deal with and may last longer if stored properly.


The Birthday Classic

A birthday-flavored no-brainer fit for any kind of celebration. 1 Birthday Cake + 1 dozen B'Day Truffles = 1 very yummy party.

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Factors Affecting Cake Longevity

Aside from the ingredients used in the birthday cake mix itself, there are a number of environmental considerations that can impact your cake’s life expectancy. The temperature you keep your kitchen at, the amount of light getting to the cake, the humidity in the air, all impact your cake’s freshness. If you are looking to get the most time from bake to plate possible, wait until the day you want to serve to compile the cake elements - an unfrosted cake sponge will last longer in the freezer wrapped tightly with plastic wrap or saran wrap.

 

Proper Storage Techniques to Maximize Freshness

The first step in keeping your cake’s freshness is to keep the air away from it. Wrapping your cake in cling wrap and/or storing it in an airtight container helps stop the cake from absorbing outside flavors and moisture. The last thing you want is a cake that tastes like the hard boiled eggs it was stored next to in the fridge. Wrap that cake up tight! Most cakes can be stored in a freezer for up to one month, or in the fridge for one week. Cakes are best sliced frozen for crisp edges, but for the best flavor, allow your leftover cake to hang at room temperature for thirty minutes to an hour before digging in. Many folks keep their wedding cake in the freezer for the first year of marriage as a first anniversary treat. While this cake might not taste as delicious as it was on the big day, it's probably safe to eat in that moisture-free environment.


The Ultimate Birthday

We at Milk Bar take birthdays very seriously (in that we believe in unapologetically large dessert spreads when it’s time to celebrate). Go big with this supersized collection of classic Birthday Cake, B'Day Truffles, Milk Bar® Pie, and assorted cookies (Compost, Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow, Confetti, Chocolate Confetti, Blueberry & Cream, and Corn) for an epic party spread. P.S. — it doesn’t have to be anyone’s actual birthday.

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Signs Your Birthday Cake Has Gone Bad

If you haven’t followed our cake storage protocols and are trying to decide if your frosted cake is past its prime, here are a few ways you can tell. A spoiled cake that has gone bad will have an “off” odor, something a little sour or musky. If your cake has changed colors in any way, it may be on its way out the door. You can especially see this when your cheese cake frosting starts to get yellowed at the outer parts. Cake that has crumbly or scraggly looking edges or sheds when you cut it has dried out and might be less flavorful than you would like - you can revive it by splashing some milk or flavored liquid on it for a little boost - we like to add a few drops of vanilla extract to milk for birthday cake vibes.

 

From one cake fan to another, there is nothing sadder than seeing a good birthday cake go to waste, especially if the cake was an idea for a birthday gift for someone special. We spend hours building ours to cake perfection for you to enjoy and want to make sure you enjoy every single slice of it. So take your time to consider what your cake ingredients mean for moisture levels as you are slicing in. Wrap those cake slices tight and toss them in the freezer for the longest shelf life possible. Keep the party going for days to come by making your birthday cake last in the fridge for up to a week!

About the author

Shannon Salzano is a New York Times best selling author and hospitality industry veteran. A graduate of Northern Illinois University's Literature and Communications program, Shannon spent half a decade in editorial publishing before making the pivot to hospitality. She served as the Creative Director to Chicago's lauded Girl & the Goat restaurant empire for five years where she oversaw the design and launch of several brick and mortar concepts, a line of home chef sauces and spices, and multiple cookbooks. In her Director of Special Projects role at Christina Tosi's Milk Bar, Shannon has executed partnerships with household names like Google, Verizon, Converse, Cheetos and Pillsbury, and oversees brand voice.