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What is the shelf life of cake?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
What is the shelf life of a cake frosted in buttercream?
3-4 days or 5+ in the refrigerator ?
1-2 days room temperature?
post #2 of 18
I depends on the ingredients. A scratch cake will go stale much sooner than a box mix. The box mix has preservatives.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
For a scratch cake.
post #4 of 18
Mine are all different. After three days, anything with bananas will get very strong. If I brush a cake with alcohol or use a cooked custard fillng, the cake will be good for a week. Heavy cakes that are very moist... red velvet, carrot... keep for days. The more delicate cakes seem to dry out the soonest. For the icings, I usually refrigerate with plastic wrap covering the cut edges and I cover the cake. All of my icings are european buttercreams or custard based. If they are for a customer, I box it, cover the top seams in the box with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. I take the plastic wrap off before delivery. At that point, the cake will be perfectly room temp for the customer.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay i was curious, to know thanks a lot. I do realize the more delicate ones tend to dry out a lot faster.
I asked because a customer came back after four days saying the cake was dry, she got the cake on Sunday afternoon and she said it was lovely and moist.
Now today she calls and says its dry, so I asked how she was storing it,
She said she cut the cake up and then just put plastic wrapped the remainder and put it in the refrigerator and now its dry.
I just have a feeling she didn't store it properly.
post #6 of 18
Most scratch bakers say to enjoy the product the same day as delivery. If she got three days out of it, that is good. In my opinion, scratch cakes are best about 12 hours after icing for the melding of the flavors. After that, most will lose a little quality every day. She may bake box mixes and she is used to a longer shelf life. I don't have this on my site, but a little explanation and storage tips for scratch cakes would be good. Thanks to your question, I'm going to add it now.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by caramelchef

What is the shelf life of a cake frosted in buttercream?
3-4 days or 5+ in the refrigerator ?
1-2 days room temperature?



(Not specifically speaking of scratch cakes...)
Most cakes might "officially" have a freezer life of 6 months, but 1st anniversary tiers are continually frozen for up to 12 months.

The refrigerator isn't typically recommended (unless required for perishable fillings, cream cheese frostings, etc.) because it can cause the cake to dry out faster.

Most cakes stored at room temperature will tend to taste their best on day 4 or 5, yet will start to grow mold at about 2 weeks.
post #8 of 18
CWR41, we must have completely different recipes. I would not keep a cake on the counter for four days.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

CWR41, we must have completely different recipes. I would not keep a cake on the counter for four days.



Perhaps your recipes are delicate.

Most cakes aren't so fragile or sensitive. The "melding of the flavors" only gets better with a reasonable amount of time.

Look at how many decorators start the wedding cake process with baking on a Monday or Tuesday, crumb coat on Wednesday, ice on Thursday (and possibly decorate too, so there's time to fix any problems on Friday), and/or finish up on Friday for a Saturday delivery. That's already 5 days or more.

Think of how our parents and grandparents left cakes out on the counter (not always on a covered cake stand) for the family to nibble on throughout an entire week.

Many "day old" bakery sale items are a lot older than a day!
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41


The refrigerator isn't typically recommended (unless required for perishable fillings, cream cheese frostings, etc.) because it can cause the cake to dry out faster.

Most cakes stored at room temperature will tend to taste their best on day 4 or 5, yet will start to grow mold at about 2 weeks.



The refrigerator isn't typically recommended by whom, pray tell? ALL of my cakes go into the cooler after icing and after decorating - whether buttercream or fondant.

I tell my customers to pitch the cake by day 5. That's just waaaaaay too long IMO. Some cakes do taste better on Day 2 (Italian Cream cake, for example), but there's no way I believe (after 14 years of doing this) that cakes are at their best on days 4 or 5. Yuck.
~ Sherri
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~ Sherri
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post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41


Look at how many decorators start the wedding cake process with baking on a Monday or Tuesday, crumb coat on Wednesday, ice on Thursday (and possibly decorate too, so there's time to fix any problems on Friday), and/or finish up on Friday for a Saturday delivery. That's already 5 days or more.



Sorry to quote you again (you wrote the above post while I was commenting on your previous one) ~ I'm really not picking on you LOL ~ but I have NEVER heard of anyone baking on a Monday or Tuesday for a Saturday event.

If they do, that's so gross! icon_surprised.gif
~ Sherri
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~ Sherri
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post #12 of 18
Most of mine are heavy, and please don't think I am disputing you. I think our differences may be due to bakeries with a primary wedding business have developed recipes that are more durable. You have probably developed recipes that will be better in a few days because that is your serving time.

My cakes are very expensive and I cater to a very discerning clientele. Because most are not wedding cakes, I feel I need to have a recipe that is at its peak at serving time, usually some time that day. I take new recipes that I have decided to use in my business and I either leave them out or refrigerate them. I try to keep them the way I think the public would keep them. I just feel the taste gets stronger,where I developed the recipe to taste best after about twelve hours. I will admit I am anal about this. Wedding cakes are not my main concentration, but I still do everything at the last minute, because I us my regular recipes. I understand that this is not possible in higher production kitchens with multiple wedding cakes.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

The refrigerator isn't typically recommended by whom, pray tell? ALL of my cakes go into the cooler after icing and after decorating - whether buttercream or fondant.

I tell my customers to pitch the cake by day 5. That's just waaaaaay too long IMO. Some cakes do taste better on Day 2 (Italian Cream cake, for example), but there's no way I believe (after 14 years of doing this) that cakes are at their best on days 4 or 5. Yuck.



I find it hard to believe (in almost 6 years), youve never read a thread on CC about refrigeration drying out cake. FACT: air conditioning takes the humidity out. Refrigerators do the same.

You want names? Deb_, bashini, leah_s, classic cake: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-618885-cooler.html
leah_s: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-672154-refrigerating.html+dries
cylstrial: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-637124-refrigerating.html+dries
vlin28i, tonedna, Deb_, Bco, bigsisof3kids, SeriousCakes: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-623971-refrigerating.html+dries
melysa, Crimsicle: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-53786-refrigerating.html+dries
CakemanOH: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-51910-refrigerating.html+dries
just sweet: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-42737-refrigerating.html+dries
SquirrelyCakes, Chefgirl: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5937&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=refrigerating&&start=15
denetteb: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-668947-refrigerating.html+dries
PinkZiab, backermeister: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-629909-refrigerating.html+dries
icer101, noah mummy, indydebi, leah_s, Davwattie: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-709237-meld.html
DianeLM, cheriej, indydebi: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=697179&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=meld&&start=0
NanaSandy: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-712110-moist.html
beenie51: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-710812-moist.html
SugarKissesCakery, DeeDelightful, peggyslee: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-705354-moist.html
leily, CWR41: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-697336-moist.html
Marianna46: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-687075-moist.html
KASCARLETT, indydebi: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-712053-timeline.html

Im certain you can find hundreds, if not thousands, more.

There are several CC members with 30-50 years experience (myself included), who are generous and gracious to share their experiences and knowledge, as well as offer their opinions and advice (all for free!). If its not well-received, everyone is free to do their own thing and discover what works for them (trial and error).

Yuck, or not, these comments are from people that dont have a problem with cakes older than 3 days, sometimes 8 days, or more, as well as up to 3 weeks!
tonedna: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=623971&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=refrigerating&&start=45
Indydebi: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=623971&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=refrigerating&&start=60
mudpie: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5937&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=refrigerating&&start=15
TitiaM, tmgarcia_98: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=697179&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=meld&&start=15
cakesnglass, CWR41: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-710812-moist.html
CWR41: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-687075-moist.html
nanefy, Dayti, cakeandpartygirl, KiddieKakes, Marianna46: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-713184-timeline.html
Mikel79, CWR41, sugarshack, bethola, pattycakesnj: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-708733-timeline.html
silverdragon, Honeychild, CWR41:
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-702142-timeline.html
Crazboutcakes: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-701796-timeline.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

Sorry to quote you again (you wrote the above post while I was commenting on your previous one) ~ I'm really not picking on you LOL ~ but I have NEVER heard of anyone baking on a Monday or Tuesday for a Saturday event.

If they do, that's so gross!



I know you arent picking on me (I havent claimed to need four or five days to make a cake), but there are many who do require that timeline. Again, there are plenty of threads with similar timelines gross, or not, heres one that popped up on a first page search for the other things:

tcturtleshell, becca0926: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-5937-refrigerating.html+dries
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Wedding cakes are not my main concentration, but I still do everything at the last minute, because I us my regular recipes. I understand that this is not possible in higher production kitchens with multiple wedding cakes.



IMO, higher production kitchens with multiple wedding cakes also do everything at the last minute. They are highly-skilled and experienced with the volume, able to whip them out in no time flat, have the extra help, equipment, tools, and space needed, and the capacity for multiple deliveries.
post #15 of 18
OMG you spent a lot of time on that. I was more wondering about your "isn't typically recommended" claim regarding professional bakers/decorators rather than the mishmash of Cake Central users...but even then, what one person swears by, another would NEVER do. LOL My personal experience in speaking with other professionals is that refrigeration IS typically recommended. Of course I've read people here say that their refrigerators dry out cakes...but I've never had any problems putting all my cakes in my residential-grade refrigerators nor the commercial reach-in in my bakery. Some of my cakes have stayed under refrigeration for 3 days without problems (be they in the reach-in or the refrigerated display case). I don't plan on commissioning a study on the moisture levels of cake pre- and post-refrigeration, but I'm quite sure that buttercream is an effective seal against the drying effects of the cooler...and fondant, even more so. My loyal, repeat clientele proves that for me, as the number one comment when they come back to order again is "Oh that last cake was SO moist!" icon_smile.gif

People on the fence who have no experience of their own should make a batch of batter, split it between two pans, bake them at the same time, fill and ice them, then keep one boxed at room temp and one boxed in the fridge. After a day, or two, or whatever, bring the refrigerated cake - still boxed - up to room temp, then slice from each cake and see if there's a difference between the two. That's easy enough to do. icon_smile.gif
~ Sherri
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~ Sherri
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