Madeira cake

One of the questions I seem to have been asked a lot recently is

“How long can I keep a Madeira cake for?”

The official answer is 1 week in an airtight container and 3 months when frozen.

How long I keep it for.

PHASE ONE: When I have a cake to make for a Saturday party I bake on Wednesday (usually at night once the kids are in bed- so late!) and as soon as it is completely cold I wrap it in cling film. I don’t put it in a tin as it tends to sweat and the outside edge gets sticky – yuck!  I leave it on the kitchen work surface. Avoid storing your cake in the fridge. It does something to the butter in the cake mix and makes it go all hard.

PHASE TWO: On Thursday I cut the cake in half and add the buttercream and jam filling shape and give it a crumb coating. Then I cover it in sugarpaste. Once it’s completely covered in sugarpaste it is essentially sealed and airtight. The buttercream coating keeps it moist and the sugarpaste seals it in.

PHASE THREE: If it’s a simple cake I can finish the decorating on Thursday (unlikely). If it’s a more complicated cake design I will finish it off on Friday and won’t go to bed till it is completely done. That is sometimes VERY, VERY late – or should I say very early in the morning. Of course this is because I work full time and can’t do cake decorating with little sticky fingers swiping as much sugarpaste into their mouths as possible! So I do it all in the evenings once the wrigglers are in bed. If I had the day time to do my cake decorating I would bake on Thursday and decorate on Friday.

What about once it’s been cut? 

Really if  the cake was baked on Wednesday and cut on Saturday it should be eaten within 2-3 days, but it’s like bread. The slice that is left in the open (ie isn’t covered in sugarpate and buttercream) goes a bit stale. Cut that off and what’s underneath is still fresh and tasty.

My mum always makes a huge rectangular cake – whatever the celebration. Way more than we can eat at one party. The left over cake gets cut up into huge chunks (teh equivalent to a 6″ square cake) for each family. Once eating it at home we slice it into slim pices to make it last the whole week and it’s still good at the end of that week…… if it lasts that long.

Freezing Madeira cake 

If you want to freeze Madeira cake you can. Once it is completely cold wrap it in two layers of cling film and freeze for up to three months. It will take about an hour to defrost on a wire cooling rack. Never cover a cake that isn’t completely defrosted with buttercream or marzipan or sugarpaste. You will end up with a sticky gooey mess!

Can I freeze a decorated cake?

Yep, you can. But the icing/ sugarpaste will become tacky once it’s defrosted so only do this once you have celebrated your occasion and you are freezing left overs. It will still taste as good as new it just might not look so pretty.

Hope that helps

EmmaMT

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3 Comments on FAQ: How long can I store a cake before eating it.

  1. I’ve read every comment regarding the choc madeira cake, and as they are all awesome I’ve decided to use that recipe instead of my old faithful to make a carved car. It’s only now that I’ve read this page that I’m a little stumped- if refrigerating messes with it and makes it hard, does freezing do the same or is there some sort of magical secret about freezers I don’t understand? I had planned to freeze before carving, but now I’m not so sure I should. I’ve frozen cakes a gajillion times before, but I’ve never used this recipe. Can anybody offer some insight please?

    • Hello,

      You can refrigerate cakes but I have found that they tend to become a bit hard and stale much quicker. They loose their light and fluffiness. When you freeze it the cake gets cold in a different way and somehow doesn’t have the stale texture when you defrost it. I’d go ahead and freeze it. This recipe will be fine.

      Hope that helps

      EmmaMT

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