How Long Does Chocolate Cake Last?

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Is there a more timeless dessert than a piece of delicious chocolate cake? Although we wish we could eat it all the time, chocolate cake doesn’t keep forever, unfortunately, and will eventually go bad. So exactly how long does chocolate cake last?

In general, chocolate cake lasts about 2-3 days on the countertop or up to a week when stored in the fridge. Chocolate cake will last even longer if frozen, but it’s best to eat it within six months for optimum flavor and quality.

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Amount Of Leftover Cake You Are Storing

An uncut frosted cake will usually last a little bit longer. Cakes that have been partially cut or individual slices of cake lose moisture faster in the fridge than a whole cake.

This is because the surface area of the sliced edges exposed to the air is larger, which causes them to dry out quicker, resulting in a stale cake with dry texture.

To prevent dry cake, one clever trick is to smear a bit of frosting on the cut/exposed sides of the cake. This works great with the cut edge of sheet cakes.

The frosting will act as a barrier and prevent moisture loss. And a little extra frosting is always a good thing! Alternatively, you can also wrap the cake in cling wrap or put it in an airtight cake keeper.

Different Types Of Cake

Different kinds of cakes will have a different shelf life. For example, a homemade cake and a store-bought chocolate cake will have a different shelf life because different ingredients are used in both.

Commercial bakeries and supermarkets usually add preservatives and stabilizers to their cakes to give them a long shelf life. This means that a store-bought cake can potentially last longer than a homemade cake. It’s a good idea to check the expiration date listed on your storebought cake when deciding if you should eat it.

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Different Types Of Frosting, Fillings And Toppings

The ingredients used in the cake, along with the filling and toppings, play a significant role in determining how fast your chocolate cake will go bad.

Cakes with a higher amount of dairy ingredients, such as a whipped cream cake, a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, or a spongy cake with custard filling must be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 1 or 2 days.

Similarly, layer cakes with fillings and toppings such as fresh fruit, fruit filling, or fruit compote tend to go bad more quickly. These fruit cakes and other similar kinds of cakes should be eaten with a day or 2, and definitely be sure to refrigerate them.

On the other hand, cakes with chocolate ganache topping, canned frosting, some types of buttercream frosting and fondant are more stable and can last a few days if stored at normal room temperature.

Traditional American buttercream is typically okay to store at room temperature. More delicate buttercreams like Swiss or Italian are prone to melting and should be refrigerated.

Unfrosted cake can be wrapped with a layer of aluminum foil or plastic wrap and kept on the counter or stored in the fridge for about 5 days.

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Where And How The Cake Is Stored 

Where and how its stored is a critical factor in determining the shelf life of cake. A common question is whether cakes be stored at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer. Well, this depends on the type of cake and how long you want it to last.

Storing Cake At Room Temperature

When stored properly at room temperature, a chocolate cake will last about 2-3 days.

Of course, if your cake has ingredients that require refrigeration, then skip the counter and place your cake in the fridge. Also, keep in mind that the air temperature and humidity of the surroundings will also affect how quickly the cake becomes stale, dry or potentially even moldy.

In general, you should store your chocolate cake in a cool and dry place in an airtight container, such as a special cake container.

Another good trick for keeping your cake fresh is to place your cake under an overturned bowl.

If you have a store-bought cake, make sure to keep the bakery box to store your leftover cake.

For uncut cakes, you typically won’t need to wrap them because the frosting seals in the moisture.

For cut cakes and slices, it’s best to wrap the cake in layers of plastic wrap and/or tinfoil.

Storing Chocolate Cake In The Refrigerator

When stored properly in the refrigerator, a chocolate cake will last around 5 days.

If your cake has cream, custard or fresh fruit fillings or toppings don’t leave it outside and refrigerate it immediately. 

When storing cake in the refrigerator, be sure to cover your cake because it could potentially absorb bad odors and tastes from other foods.

Storing Chocolate Cake In The Freezer

Cakes last the longest in the freezer. Many people store the top tier of their wedding cake in the freezer for years!

The key to freezing a cake is to wrap it really well. Use cling wrap to tightly cover any exposed cake, then wrap securely in layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  

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Why Proper Storage Of Leftover Cake Is Important

The number one reason to store your cake properly is food safety. Improper storage can cause your cake to go bad faster. The first signs that chocolate cake is starting to spoil are changes in color, smell and texture.

Fresh chocolate cake should be a rich, uniform brown. If you see any white spots (and you’re pretty sure they aren’t white chocolate chips!), you might be looking at mold caused by potentially harmful bacteria. If you see any mold on chocolate cake, it’s best to throw it out immediately.

It is important to store chocolate cake properly if you want to preserve the flavors and freshness and be able to enjoy it for as long as possible.

The best way to do that is to store it in an airtight container in a dry, cool place such as your refrigerator or pantry for cakes that don’t require refrigeration.

FAQS About Shelf Life Of Chocolate Cake

Q. How do you know when chocolate cake goes bad?

First, check the cake for signs of discoloration, off smells or texture changes. A chocolate cake that is starting to go bad will often develop a gray or white film on the top and sides. Finally, take a sniff of the cake. If it has a sour or unpleasant odor, it is best to discard it.

With a store-bought chocolate cake, it’s best to discard it when the expiration date on the packaging has passed.

Q. Is it bad to eat old cake?

Eating spoiled cake could definitately make you sick. In some cases, old cake might just taste dry and stale. However, if it looks moldy, discolored, or smells funny, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.

Q. How long can you keep a chocolate cake?

You can keep a chocolate cake for 24-48 hours on your countertop (depending on the ingredients and the environment), a few days in the fridge, and up to 6 months if you freeze it.

However, remember that fresh chocolate cake tastes the best! The longer you keep the cake, the less tasty it will be.

Q. How long does chocolate fudge cake last in the fridge?

Chocolate fudge cake will last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Chocolate fudge cake can also be frozen for 2-3 months. To thaw, the cake should be placed in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.

Q. How long does chocolate cake last out of the fridge?

In general, a chocolate cake at room temperature will last 2-3 days. This time frame varies greatly depending on the climate you live in because increased temperature and humidity will cause the chocolate cake to spoil faster.

The ingredients matter too. A cake with frosting, filling or toppings made from dairy products or fresh fruits should be served immediately and then placed back into the refrigerator.

Final Thoughts On Chocolate Cake Shelf Life

Chocolate cake can be kept for a few days in the fridge and even longer if it’s frozen. Keep in mind that there are a variety of factors affecting how long your cake will last, such as the ingredients and toppings used, the weather in your area, and how the cake is stored.

Keep an eye out for the signs of spoilage to avoid getting food poisoning. Don’t eat cake that shows signs of discoloration or mold or smells off, as this could mean it has gone bad and could make you sick.

If you want your chocolate cake to taste good and last as long as possible, be sure to use fresh ingredients, store it properly, and enjoy it within a week!

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Micky Reed, a two-decade veteran in the food and baking industry, leverages her influential Three Snackateers food blog and Instagram presence to collaborate with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's and Crumbl Cookies. Her work has been featured on Delish, PopSugar and more. Her expertise as a product curator for one of the world's largest international snack subscription box companies solidifies her status as a key player in the field.