By Melanie Fincher

Never let cake go to waste!

When it comes to storing frosted cakes, it seems like you only have two options — and neither is great. You could leave it out on the counter, but then isn't there a risk of bacteria growth? Or you could be safe and put it in the fridge, but that leaves you with hardened frosting and dry cake. And does it make a difference whether or not you've cut into the cake yet?

Baking cakes for friends and family is a labor of love, and you don't want that labor or that love to go to waste. Learn how to properly store a frosted cake so that it keeps tasting fresh days later.

Pictured: Strawberry Cake from Scratch | Photo by tessdawn

How to Store a Frosted Cake — Cut vs. Uncut

The good thing about frosted cakes is the many types of frostings can act as a protector for the cake by holding in moisture (much like plastic wrap). An uncut frosted cake that's been frosted with buttercream, fondant, or ganache can last at room temperature for up to five days. Keep it covered with a cake keeper or a bowl to protect it from dust or other particles.

If your cake has already been cut into, that means moisture is already beginning to escape. If you do have leftover cake (is there even such a thing?), use plastic wrap to cover the sliced edges, or the areas where the cake is "exposed." You can also frost over the sliced edges to protect the cake and help seal in moisture. Store the cake as you would normally, using a cake keeper or some sort of covering. A cut cake will last up to four days at room temperature.

When to Refrigerate Frosted Cakes

Storing frosted cakes at room temperature (provided you use the methods outlined above) keeps them from drying up too fast. But there are some times where the fridge might be necessary. A hot and humid kitchen can start a feeding frenzy for bacteria, so if your kitchen gets a little warm during the summer months, refrigeration may be necessary.

There are also some types of frostings or toppings that require refrigeration like fresh fruit (that includes the filling as well as the topping), whipped cream frosting, or cream cheese frosting. Beware of storing cakes in the fridge with tinted fondant, as condensation can cause the color to bleed.

To store frosted cakes in the refrigerator, chill the uncovered cake in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so that the frosting hardens slightly, and then cover with plastic wrap. Before serving, allow the cake to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. Learn how to freeze a frosted cake for up to two months.

Stale Cake? No Problem.

If you just can't finish that birthday cake before it goes stale, you don't have to throw it out. Crush the leftover stale cake and combine with extra frosting to make the filling for these adorable cake balls. Long live your labor of love!

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