Lemon cake is a delicious and refreshing treat that can last between 5-7 days when stored properly. The shelf life of lemon cake depends on several factors like the ingredients used, how it is stored, and if it contains dairy products like buttercream frosting. With proper storage techniques, the cake’s fresh lemon flavor can be maintained and enjoyed for almost a week.
How Long Does Lemon Cake Last At Room Temperature?
At room temperature, lemon cake will stay fresh for 2-3 days. After baking, the cake should be cooled completely before storing at room temperature. It should be kept away from direct sunlight and heat which can cause it to dry out quicker. An airtight container or covering the cake with plastic wrap can help retain moisture. The lemon flavor will start diminishing after the third day and the cake may develop mold if left out too long.
How Long Does Lemon Cake Last Refrigerated?
Refrigerating extends the shelf life of lemon cake to 5-7 days. The cold temperature of the refrigerator slows down mold growth and keeps the cake moist. To store in the fridge, let the cake cool completely after baking, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Avoid storing it uncovered or the fridge odors may seep into the cake. The cake should be kept on the top shelf of the fridge where the temperature is most consistent. After 5-7 days, the texture may become stale and the bright lemon taste will start fading.
How Long Does Lemon Cake with Frosting Last in the Fridge?
Lemon cake with buttercream or cream cheese frosting will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. The dairy in the frosting shortens the shelf life compared to an unfrosted cake. Make sure the cake and frosting are both completely cool before assembling and refrigerating. Frosting traps moisture, so only frost what you plan to eat in 3-5 days. Then store the remaining unfrosted cake layers in the fridge separately. Tightly cover the frosted cake to prevent the frosting from absorbing fridge odors.
How Long Does Lemon Pound Cake Last?
Lemon pound cake has a dense texture with little to no rise. This density allows it to stay fresh at room temperature for 4-5 days when properly stored in an airtight container. The lemon glaze or syrup on pound cake also helps retain moisture compared to regular cakes. In the refrigerator, lemon pound cake keeps well for 1 week. The fridge’s cool temperature prevents premature staling.
How to Tell if Lemon Cake Has Gone Bad
There are a few simple ways to know if your leftover lemon cake has gone bad and needs to be discarded:
- Mold growth – This appears as fuzzy spots or unusual colors like green or black. Mold renders the cake unsafe to eat.
- Dry, cracked texture – As it goes stale, the cake dries out and becomes hard or tough.
- Off smell – A sour, unpleasant smell means the cake has spoiled.
- Weird flavors – The lemon taste fades and is replaced by bitterness or staleness.
How to Store Lemon Cake
Proper storage is key to maximizing how long lemon cake stays fresh. Here are some tips for ideal storage:
- Let the cake cool completely after baking before storing.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil to prevent drying out.
- For frosted cakes, wait until frosting sets before refrigerating.
- Store cake layers separately then assemble right before serving.
- Avoid storing lemon cake unwrapped or uncovered.
- Refrigeration is best for longer shelf life.
Freezing Lemon Cake
Freezing is a great long term storage method to extend the shelf life of lemon cake for 2-3 months. To freeze properly:
- Let the cake cool completely after baking then wrap airtight in plastic wrap and foil.
- For frosted cakes, freeze the cake layers and frosting separately, then thaw and assemble.
- Avoid freezing lemon cake with custard or cream based fillings.
- Thaw frozen cake overnight in the fridge before serving.
- Consume thawed cake within 3-5 days for best quality.
How to Maintain Freshness
Follow these tips to keep homemade lemon cake tasting fresh for as long as possible:
- Use airtight packaging like plastic wrap or containers with tight lids.
- Store lemon cake in the refrigerator to slow staling.
- Avoid refrigerating unfrosted cakes longer than 5-7 days.
- Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of frosted cakes.
- Prevent exposure to air, light, and heat which accelerates staleness.
- Freeze for long term storage up to 2-3 months.
Signs Lemon Cake Has Gone Stale
Here are some common signs that leftover lemon cake has become stale and lost its freshness:
- Dry, crumbly texture
- Dull-looking crumb
- Soggy or stiff texture
- Lack of lemon aroma
- Off flavors and bitterness
- Mold growth
- Weird sour smell
At the first signs of staleness, lemon cake is best discarded. Freezing can preserve freshness, but it still eventually stales with time in the freezer.
Tips for Reviving Stale Lemon Cake
If your lemon cake has gotten a little stale, you may be able to revive it using these tricks:
- Microwave in 10 second intervals – The heat helps soften a stiff, dry texture.
- Wrap in foil and reheat in oven at 300°F for 5 minutes – This adds moisture back.
- Brush slices with simple syrup – The sugar syrup infuses moisture and sweetness.
- Serve with whipped cream or lemon curd – This masks stale flavors.
- Use in trifles or cake pops – Breaking it up camouflages the texture.
However, lemon cake that has grown mold or smells bad cannot be safely revived and should be discarded.
With proper storage techniques, lemon cake can stay fresh and delicious for 5-7 days. Refrigeration is best for extending its shelf life by slowing down staling. Freezing the cake extends shelf life even longer – up to 2-3 months frozen. Keep the cake well wrapped, refrigerated, and free of moisture to get the most days of enjoyment from your homemade lemon cake.