You've spent the last hour following grandma's famous chocolate cake recipe step by step. After carefully measuring, mixing, and baking, the cake turned out perfectly. There's only one problem. It's almost bedtime, and you're not sure how to store warm cake overnight. Should it go in the refrigerator or sit on the counter? We've looked into the best overnight cake storage ideas to keep your cake fresh.
The best way to store warm cake overnight largely depends on the cake itself. Cakes that contain perishable ingredients, such as cream cheese, will require refrigeration, whereas most store-bought cake mixes are shelf-stable. Perishable cakes can be left in the baking pan and popped in the fridge to cool, while many shelf-stable cakes can sit on your countertop overnight.
Now, you'll know, depending on cake type, whether to refrigerate or leave it on the countertop. But, how to store a freshly baked cake? For that, please keep reading as we delve into the best cooling and storage methods for your cake to taste like it just came out of the oven when you slice into it the next morning!
The best overnight storage for warm cake
Keeping your cake properly stored is essential for food quality, freshness, and safety. Below we'll briefly look at the best overnight storage methods for warm cake.
- Cake pans - Most cake pans come with lids so that you can bake and store your cake in one pan; it doesn't get much easier than that!
- Plastic wrap and aluminum foil - These kitchen staples will keep your cake moist for longer. However, it's best to let your cake cool a bit before wrapping.
- Cake keepers - Cake keepers add a decorative touch and offer airtight protection.
- Refrigerator - A must for perishable cakes or to quickly chill other cakes before frosting.
- Countertop -Many cakes can sit overnight on the countertop with no problem.
- Oven - if you're worried about insects or other pests, use a cooled oven for overnight storage.
Can you leave freshly-baked cake out overnight?
Many cakes can be baked and left at room temperature overnight. The exception to this would be cakes including perishable ingredients like mousse and freshly prepared fruit fillings. Additionally, cakes frosted in icings containing whipped cream, milk, or eggs should be placed in the refrigerator. One type of cake that should always be refrigerated after baking is cheesecake, as it will likely spoil at room temperature after only two hours.
Most freshly-baked cakes can and should be left out overnight. Sponge cakes, pound cakes, fruit cakes, and the majority of commercial cake mixes are all examples of shelf-stable cakes. It would be best if you steered clear of refrigerating these cakes directly after baking, as they will quickly dry out and harden. After allowing your cake to cool on the countertop overnight, move it to an airtight container to keep it fresh for up to five days.
Check out "How To Store A Sponge Cake" for more baking and storage ideas.
Can you put a warm cake in the fridge?
Placing a warm cake in the fridge is a debatable topic amongst bakers. Many argue that you should never place hot or warm cakes in the refrigerator because it dries out the cake, and condensation is likely to form. Condensation is bad because it creates a wet layer on the top of your cake, which makes frosting a cake messy and uneven.
On the contrary, some bakers claim refrigeration is better for icing a cake, claiming that the coldness helps to seal in cake crumbs. So, with these conflicting opinions, what is the correct answer? Research shows that leaving warm cakes at room temperature is your best bet. If you're in a huge hurry for your cake to cool, it's okay to put it in the fridge or even the freezer for quick chilling, but it should be left at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. If crumbs are a concern, let the cake cool completely, add a very thin layer of icing, or a crumb coat, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Can you let a cake cool in the pan overnight?
In short, yes. Since cakes need to cool completely before frosting or adding other decorations, it's feasible to let non-perishable cakes sit in the pan overnight. If you're worried about the cake sticking, there's a couple of things that will help.
Using a piece of parchment paper slightly bigger than your cake pan, place it in the bottom of the pan and spray with cooking spray or add a light dusting of flour. After baking, allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edges. When the cake has sat overnight on your countertop or in a cooled oven, it will easily slide out of the pan when you turn it upside down. Carefully peel the parchment paper, and your cake is ready to be decorated.
How long can a cake sit out unrefrigerated?
We already know it's safe to leave shelf-stable cakes out of the refrigerator to cool overnight, but how many days should it sit out in total? The maximum number of days is five. The exception to this would be fruit cake, which can last for one month or longer.
Once cut, cakes will quickly become stale if not covered properly and need to be kept in an airtight container. Cakes that contain a lot of butter, such as butter cake and pound cake, will do best if left out for one to two days. Afterward, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge; doing so will keep it moist for up to one week.
Fondant covered cakes are an example of cakes that do best when sitting out at room temperature. Be sure to check out "How To Store A Fondant Cake? [5 Easy Solutions]."
How do you keep a cake moist after baking?
No one likes to eat a dry cake. Luckily, keeping a cake moist after baking can be easily achieved. Once your cake cools for about 30 minutes, wrap unfrosted cake layers in plastic wrap. If you're leaving the cake in the pan overnight, stretch the wrap over the top of the pan. Aluminum foil can be added on top of the plastic wrap for extra protection if desired.
Frosting a cake is a delicious way to lock in moisture, but you should never ice a cake while it's warm. Frosting will quickly melt if added to warm cake layers. Letting your cake cool completely for two to three hours will ensure you have a picture-perfect frosted cake.
Properly storing your cake is the most crucial part of keeping it moist. Use cake keepers and other airtight containers to seal out dust and keep moisture locked in. Refrigerated, perishable cakes need to be covered for freshness and prevent odors from seeping into your dessert.
Now we know the essentials for storing warm cake overnight. Depending on the ingredients used in the baking process, cakes can either be left out or placed in the fridge overnight. Using the proper tools and storage containers, like plastic wrap and cake keepers, cakes will stay fresh and moist for up to one week. We hope that your grandma's cake recipe turns out perfect every time by following these guidelines.