Last Updated on February 17, 2023
If you’re familiar with fondant, you know it can be extremely tricky to store. So, how long can a fondant cake sit out before changing texture?
Today, we will have an in-depth look at the best ways to store a fondant cake. This will ultimately help us determine exactly how long can a fondant cake sit out and what can happen if it sits out for too long.
What is a Fondant Cake?
Have you ever wondered how they make those extravagant cakes on Cake Boss? Or watched those clips on everyday items that are cut to reveal it has been made from cake? Well, all of these are made using a one-of-a-kind ingredient called fondant.
Fondant cakes are not the same thing as buttercream cakes. While they do use buttercream in some ways to make them, the cake is mainly decorated using a dough-like sugar paste. Some people also call it plastic icing.
What makes this decorative paste so unique and sought-after is that it can create extraordinarily detailed cakes. This is something that cannot be achieved using buttercream or any other decorative ingredient.
You can create virtually any type of figurine, realistic textures for life-like items, colorful surfaces, beautifully themed cartoon cakes, and loads more!
How Long Can a Fondant Cake Sit Out on Average?
Now, if you have ever worked with fondant, you know that it dries out quickly. Eventually, it starts becoming rock-solid and cracks. This has made many people wonder how long can a fondant cake sit out once decorated.
Will it dry out? Will it misform? Or will it be completely fine?
Well, here is another thing that makes fondant cakes so special. Once you have completely covered your cake with fondant, the dense dough-like layer actually seals in the moisture and keeps the oxygen (and bacteria) out.
This means that it is a lot more shelf-stable than regular buttercream frosted cakes. So, at room temperature, a fondant cake can sit for roughly 3 to 4 days.
And, don’t worry about the fondant drying out. While it does lose moisture when kept at room temperature, it won’t dry out to the point of cracking.
This is another reason bakers love fondant so much. It won’t be pliable anymore and will be difficult to remove, but it won’t crack or change in any way.
Best Ways to Store a Fondant Cake – 3 Ways
Below, we have assembled the two best ways to store a fondant cake. Our first method is the one we mostly recommend. However, if you live in a humid area or have highly perishable fillings, you should consider our second method instead.
Without further ado, let’s look at how long a fondant cake can sit out when stored using our two best techniques.
Method 1: At room temperature
When storing a fondant cake at room temperature, you will have to cover it with a protective layer. We always recommend investing in a large cake carrier. Trust us, when you buy the right one, it will last you a lifetime! And, it is much more versatile if it is big.
If you don’t have a cake carrier, you can gently wrap the entire cake in plastic or saran wrap. Another option is to store the cake underneath a large overturned bowl.
Furthermore, the fondant cake should be kept away from any heat sources or direct sunlight. This will cause condensation on the surface of the fondant. This in turn will cause the color to bleed and the paste to become sticky.
This is by far the best storage option. When people ask us “How long can a fondant cake sit out?” we always say roughly 4 days if you use this technique.
Method 2: Inside the fridge
Now usually, you shouldn’t store a fondant cake in the fridge. One of two things can happen. The fondant could either dry out completely or it can absorb the moisture in the fridge and start becoming sticky.
However, there is an exception to the rule. If you have highly perishable fillings inside of the cake or if it is a particularly hot or humid day, you should do it.
However, make sure to eat the fondant cake as quickly as you possibly can. Furthermore, if you start seeing signs that the fondant is changing in any way, freezing would be your next option.
You should still place your fondant cake inside an airtight container to protect it from odors and drying out.
Method 3: Freezing the cake
Unfortunately, a fondant cake cannot sit outside indefinitely. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent changes from happening on the surface. So, your final option to help preserve its quality is freezing.
Freezing a fondant cake will extend its shelf life to potentially a year! But, you have to ensure that it is frozen and protect it from freezer burn. Otherwise, it will never last.
Wrap it with plastic, then foil, and then place it inside a container. Make sure your freezer works at a stable temperature far below freezing.
Shelf Life Of a Fondant Cake
The bottom line to the exact shelf life of a fondant cake is that it will last about 3-4 days at room temperature.
In the fridge, when stored correctly, your fondant cake can last up to 9 days! But, there is the risk it changes texture and appearance entirely.
But, how long can a fondant cake sit out after it has been thawed? Essentially, you will want to eat it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will deteriorate rapidly!
How to Store a Fondant Cake Overnight
The best option to store your fondant cake overnight is to store it at room temperature. You should store it in an airtight container or in a cake stand with a dome to keep your cake fresh overnight.
Store your cake in an area that is cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. This is important as fondant is sensitive to humidity and heat, as the texture will change when exposed to both.
If your cake contains perishable fillings such as pastry cream, jam, or cream cheese frosting then you should store your cake in the fridge overnight. Cakes with perishable fillings or frostings should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours even if they are covered in fondant.
Since fondant can harden when exposed to air for too long it is essential to keep your cake covered when not serving.
How to Store a Buttercream Cake With Fondant Decorations
In most cases, cakes with buttercream frosting can be stored at room temperature for two to three days. This is the same if your buttercream cake has fondant decorations as well.
For best results, store your cake in an airtight container or a cake stand with a dome. Store in a cool, dry location, as both buttercream and fondant, are sensitive to heat and humidity.
You can also store your buttercream cake with fondant decorations in the fridge for up to one week in an airtight container or cake stand with a dome. If only your decorations are fondant and your entire cake isn’t covered in fondant, you shouldn’t have to worry about it affecting your cake.
If you are worried about the fondant hardening or see any changes in your fondant in the fridge, you can always remove the fondant decorations. Store the fondant decorations at room temperature and return them to your cake when ready to serve.
If your cake contains perishable fillings such as pastry cream, jam, fruit, or cream cheese frosting then you should store your buttercream cake in the fridge at all times when not serving.
Will Fondant Harden in the Fridge?
Fondant can harden upon being stored in the fridge. It will harden faster if the cake is not covered, as being exposed to air will speed up the process of fondant hardening.
It is typically not recommended to store a fondant cake in the fridge, however, exceptions can be made. If your fondant cake contains perishable ingredients or you live in a hot, humid climate the refrigerator is a better option for your fondant.
The main reason you do not store fondant cakes in the fridge is not that the fondant hardens but because of condensation. When removing your cake from the fridge, the temperature change can cause condensation to form on the fondant.
Condensation can cause the fondant to soften and lose its shape from too much moisture. If you must keep your fondant-covered cake in the fridge, use a paper towel to remove any moisture when bringing it to room temperature.
If you need your fondant to harden, the fridge is not the best way to do it. To harden fondant, try using a fan or blow dryer to help speed up the process. You can also place a table light above your fondant as well to help it dry.
How Long Can a Fondant Cake Sit Out? Wrapping Things Up
As you can see, there are many answers to how long can a fondant cake sit out. However, on average we recommend eating it within 3 days.
If you have found this article useful and educational, feel free to let us know in the comments below! And, please share it with your fellow bakers or anyone who just started exploring the world of fondant!
Does a fondant cake need to be refrigerated?
A fondant cake doesn't need to be refrigerated. However, if you live in a humid area or it is a particularly hot day, it is best to store it in the fridge. Storing a fondant cake in a humid or hot area will cause it to become sticky and leach color.
How long does a fondant cake last on the counter?
When stored inside of an airtight cake container or gently wrapped with plastic wrap, the fondant cake will last about 3-4 days on a counter at room temperature. However, you have to ensure that it is kept away from sunlight or heat sources.
How long in advance can I make a fondant cake?
We would say that you can safely make a fondant cake about 2-3 days in advance. The cake layer itself can be made a long time ahead and frozen, Once ready to be used, simply thaw it and make sure it isn't too moist. This will make it difficult to decorate with fondant.
How do you store a cake after fondant?
The best way to store a cake once you have decorated it with fondant is at room temperature. The fridge could potentially cause drastic changes in the texture of the fondant, which ruins the entire cake. Place the fondant cake in an airtight container and store it in a cool dark place.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.