The length of time for keeping a cake in a fridge will depend on the type of cake it is. Below I will list a number of types of cakes and the length of time they can be kept before they are ‘spoiled’.
How the cake is stored and its ingredients will have a great effect on the length of time that it will remain edible.
What types of cakes can be kept longest in a fridge?
A fruit cake or plain sponge will last for around a week in a fridge, while a cream-filled cake will deteriorate within a couple of days.
The ingredients, toppings, and fillings will mostly determine how long a cake will remain fit to eat.
Fresh fruit used in a cake will deteriorate quickly while dried fruit may last for a very long time.
Time schedule for keeping a cake in a fridge
- Plain Cake – Up to One Week
- Cake with Fresh Fruit – One or Two days
- Cake with Whipped Cream – One or two days
- Cake with Dried Fruit Filling – Years
Cakes can be placed in the fridge without a covering but it is best to use an air-tight container or cover the cake with plastic ‘cling-film’ before storing it in the fridge.
The lifespan of the cake will be governed by the durability of the weakest component of the cake.
Clearly, a cake using fresh cream or fresh fruit will become inedible far more quickly than a cake containing dried fruit.
Buttercream – Fondant icing – Ganache
A cake filled with buttercream or coated with a chocolate ganache or fondant icing will remain in good condition for longer as the cake will more easily be able to retain its moisture.
I have found that the cakes which have the longest lifespan in the fridge are those which are baked using dried fruit and have no icing or other filling.
If such a cake is placed in an air-tight container or covered with plastic film, it will remain edible ‘for years’.
However, in our house cakes never last for more than a few days before being devoured so I cannot personally vouch for that.
Cream Cheese – Whipped Cream – Fresh Fruit
These types of cakes will last for the shortest time in the fridge as the toppings will quickly become inedible.
The exact length of time will vary as fresh fruit will last longer than whipped cream, while cream cheese will remain edible for the longest period of time.
‘Shelf-life and ‘best before’ dates
Where a cake is purchased from a store it is easy to know the optimum times for using it up due to the packaging having ‘sell-by’ or ‘best-before’ dates indicated.
Where a cake is homemade then it will be up to the individual to decide when a cake has ‘gone beyond its best’.
I would suggest that cakes with fresh fruit, cream or cream cheese should be used as quickly as possible as there could be serious health issues due to bacteria developing. If these types of cakes are not consumed quite quickly.
Cakes made with dried fruit do not normally suffer from the above problem and are, often, even better tasting when stored for a longer period of time before being consumed.
General guidance for storing cakes in a fridge
I have found that I do not have to keep cakes in the fridge for more than a day or so as they seem to be devoured by the family.
However, when baking a cake containing dried fruit, such as a Christmas cake, it can be beneficial to store it for a while prior to it being required.
Placing the cake in an air-tight container or covering it in cling film will ensure that the cake does not lose its moisture and become ‘crumbly’.
For cakes with fresh cream or fresh fruit, it is best for them to be consumed as soon after baking as possible.
There are a number of reasons to eat a cake when it is fresh, it being at its best when consumed just after it is made and the possible deterioration, even within a fridge, of ingredients such as fresh fruit or dairy products.
Keeping cakes, other than those made with dried fruit, in a fridge for more than a couple of days is really not recommended as there is always the potential for food poisoning when using fresh or dairy products.
Be careful and take care to make your cakes memorable for their taste, not for their after-effects.
Cakes stored in the fridge should be eaten as soon as possible to avoid any issues.