‘How long can your cupcakes last?’ It sounds like a joke waiting for a punchline (not very long with cupcake-lovers around…) But there might be many reasons why you need to store your cupcakes; whether you’re batch-baking for an event, or you have simply made too many cupcakes to eat in one day. To store your cupcakes at their best, there’s a few things you can do. Read on for our cupcake storage tips.
How Long Do Cupcakes Last?
There’s many factors which affect how long cupcakes last, but how you store them is the biggest influence. Cupcakes can last between 2-5 days, but by using suitable cupcake boxes they should keep their freshness for up to a week.
Plain cupcakes without any icing or frosting can keep for up to a week on your kitchen counter, but iced cupcakes, or those with a sweet filling, will only last 2-4 days. Cupcakes topped with buttercream or other dairy ingredients need to be stored in the fridge and can last for 3-5 days refrigerated.
Whatever ingredients you’ve used and whether your cupcakes are iced or plain, a closed container will ensure that the sponge doesn’t dry out. Cupcakes are loved for their liberal amounts of frosting swirled on top to form a perfect peak, so a cupcake box with a large domed cavity will make sure that the swirls of frosting remain intact and don’t get squashed.
Shop-bought cupcakes usually have a use-by date of 5-7 days as they have added stabilisers and preservatives. They have handy use-by or sell-by dates on the packaging, but they can often last for longer if you store them in an airtight container.
Homemade cupcakes (or freshly made cupcakes from your local bakery) don’t last as long as shop-bought cupcakes because they don’t contain the preservatives. Homemade cupcakes can last between 2-3 days in a closed container. After removing the cupcakes from the oven, make sure that you cool them on a wire rack before putting them into a box, otherwise the trapped steam in the container will cause condensation which will make them soggy.
What affects how long cupcakes stay fresh?
There are a number of reasons why some cupcakes stay fresher for longer. The biggest factors include:
- How you store them
- The cupcake ingredients
- If the cupcakes are shop-bought or homemade
- The temperature
- Your location and weather (hot and humid, or cold and damp )
Any frosting containing uncooked dairy such as cream cheese or butter needs to be refrigerated and won’t last as long as non-dairy frostings. Eat these cupcakes within three days and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
If the weather is hot and humid then it is likely that any frosting on the cupcakes will melt, so they’ll also need to be refrigerated. Cakes that contain more moistness, such as caramel cupcakes, have the extra moisture to stop the sponge from drying out so will last a bit longer.
How long do cupcakes last in the freezer?
Cupcakes freeze well if they are individually wrapped up in plastic and then foil to prevent freezer burn. We tend to put food in the freezer and not really think about how long it can be stored in there for. Cupcakes can be stored in a freezer indefinitely right? Well, yes, but the quality of the cupcakes will change over time. We recommend that cupcakes are stored in the freezer for up to six months to prevent lowering the quality. So if you have some leftover seasonal cupcakes, don’t wait until the following year to defrost them. Realistically, you probably won’t want to wait six months before defrosting your mouth-watering cupcakes anyway…
How do you know if a cupcake has gone bad?
We’ve jotted down an observational checklist that you can run through to know if a cupcake has gone bad and you need to throw the batch away.
- Break the cupcake in half. Has the texture changed? Is the sponge hard, or dry and crumbly?
- Do you see any mould on the cake? There are numerous mould spores in the air and cake sponge can absorb water from the air, creating the perfect environment for mould to grow (especially in humid weather and accelerated by a hot room temperature).
- If the cupcake has fruit in the middle is it glutinous and slimy? If it is, throw the batch away for safety.
Cupcakes are so shareable: always fashionable, fitting for every occasion, transportable; it makes sense to make batches of cupcakes to store when needed. And it helps to understand how long they’ll last and how to store them so that there’s no wastage. You can even make batches of plain cupcakes to freeze and decorate when the occasion arises. Or perhaps you don’t want to share your batch of cupcakes…can’t say we blame you…