Whether you're looking for answers on how to store a cake while waiting for a customer to pick it up or if you're looking to answer this common question asked by customers who frequent your bakery – it's important to know how to store a cake to maintain its overall quality.
What Do You Need to Consider When Storing a Cake
In a perfect world, having to store a cake would be the least of your worries as your customer would ideally pick it up as soon as you've gotten it out of the oven and packed up. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, and that means finding the best cake storage option that meets your bakery's needs, space, and customer orders.
Now, to find that ideal storage unit, make sure you understand the answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding cake storage:
Does Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?
If you're answering this for your client, then the answer is most likely no. Most cakes can be stored on the counter in the container you packaged them. This is especially true for most frosted cakes as the frosting acts as a barrier between the cake and the environment, helping the cake to retain its moisture.
However, once the cake has been cut or the soft sponge-like material is exposed to the air, it will need to be protected by covering it in an airtight container or on a covered cake stand to prevent it from drying out.
How Long Can You Leave a Cake Out?
If your customer is planning on using the cake right away, it should be fine in the packaging for at least 24 hours. However, frosted cakes that remain uncut can last on the counter in a container for up to five days.
If your kitchen tends to get a little humid, then you'll likely want to store it in the refrigerator if it won't be eaten right away. This is because moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria that can hasten up your cake's spoiling process.
How to Store Different Types of Cakes for Your Customers
Before you can decide on the right commercial refrigerators or walk-in refrigeration units for your bakery, you'll need to outline what types of cakes you'll be making and storing.
Not only will different types of frostings need to be stored in different ways, but you'll want to consider how big the items are and how much space each item takes up in your refrigeration and freezer units. So, before investing in your next refrigerator or freezer for storing your cakes, here's what you need to know about storing different types of cakes:
How to Store Fondant Cake
Uncut fondant cake is one of those cakes that fares very well when stored in a proper container at room temperature. If the cake is going to be used within 2-3 days, then you're okay to store it in a typical display case. However, if you need to refrigerate it because your bakery simply maintains a warmer climate or the cake is filled with fruits or jellies, then you'll want to wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then place it in a cardboard box. Additionally, tape it shut before placing it in your refrigerator.
How to Store a Buttercream Cake
Whether used within the cake to build it up or as your frosting, buttercream is often much softer than fondant. However, it can still be stored in its box on the counter and at room temperature for up to three days.
However, since buttercream is a moister frosting, you don't want to leave it uncovered. If you need to refrigerate it, you'll want to do so in the original container, or place the cake in the refrigerator just long enough for the buttercream to harden a little, then carefully cover it with plastic wrap.
How to Store Cake Pops
Cake pops are a fun way to enjoy a sweet treat on the go. However, given their small size, you want to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator when not on display – perhaps in a refrigerated display case.
However, if you make them in bulk and need to store them for longer than five to seven days, your best bet will be to freeze them in an airtight container. Ideally, you'll want to bake your cake pops and allow them to cool down to room temperature before you place them in the freezer for storage.
How to Store Pound Cake
Since most pound cakes aren't usually frosted, make sure you store them in a refrigerated unit to ensure they do not dry out before your client comes to pick them up. If it will be a few days between making the cake and pickup, it's best to wrap it up tightly and freeze it.
A standard freezer will do just fine, and once it’s near pickup time, you can have it thawed out beforehand, or you can instruct customers on the best way to thaw it out at home.
How to Store Fruit Cake
Fruit cakes are not your standard cake. They take quite a bit of time to make as they do require aging, which can take between one and three months.
Storage is essential when making fruit cake because you need to ensure it doesn't spoil during the aging process. This is done by putting it through a preservative treatment, typically utilizing alcohol, and then wrapping it tightly before placing it in your refrigerator. It's important that you continue to brush the cake with alcohol as per your recipe to help keep it from spoiling while aging.
How to Store Carrot Cake
Unlike other cakes, carrot cakes need to be refrigerated, whether they are frosted or not. This is because a carrot cake includes fresh ingredients, such as carrots, which can and will spoil when not properly refrigerated.
While many frosted cakes can sit at room temperature thanks to the protective layer of the buttercream or fondant, carrot cakes usually use a cream cheese frosting, which will likely melt if not stored in the refrigerator.
If you want to store your cake for a longer period, wrap it in aluminum foil and store it in your freezer. However, when you go to thaw it, make sure you are thawing it in the fridge to prevent the cake from getting mushy.
How to Store Chocolate Cake
As with most cakes, a traditional chocolate cake, whether made with fondant or buttercream icing, will be safe to store at room temperature in most cases. However, if you've prepared a cake for a customer in advance of their pickup date, make sure you store it in your delivery container and place in the refrigerator to maintain its integrity.
Choosing the Right Refrigerator and Freezer for Your Cake Baking Needs
If your bakery bakes different types of cakes, the good news is that you won't need different types of storage units to house your finished products. That's because cakes fare rather well when stored in a typical refrigerator for a few days. And when prepared properly, they will do just fine in your standard freezer should you need to store them for longer periods.