Last Updated on February 6, 2023
One of the cupcakes’ biggest downsides is that they don’t last very long. But, how long are cupcakes good for? And, how can you make them last longer?
Today, we will look at exactly what affects the shelf life of cupcakes and how to prevent them from going off. And, we have included three different techniques you can try to help preserve them
Freshness Matters: Why Eating Unspoiled Cupcakes is a Recipe for Good Health and Happiness?
Eating fresh, unspoiled cupcakes is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it affects our health. Consuming expired or spoiled food can lead to food poisoning, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This not only makes us feel terrible, but it can also lead to more serious health problems, especially if we have weakened immune systems.
Aside from health concerns, which are honestly the most important, the quality of the food we eat also affects the taste and enjoyment of our meals. A cupcake that has been sitting too long just does not taste as delicious as a fresh one, and worst of all, it can ruin the experience of enjoying a sweet delicacy.
Furthermore, we mustn’t forget to mention that eating unspoiled food helps us to maintain a balanced diet. Consuming moldy or outdated cupcakes can bring dangerous elements into our body systems and disrupt the delicate nutritional balance that our bodies require to function normally.
Finally, we have a newly popular way of tackling the issue. We, humans, hold the environmental duty of eating food that has not been well beyond the expiration of the period. The primary issue is next, food waste contributes to landfills, where it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Reducing food waste contributes to lowering our carbon footprint and protecting the environment for future generations.
To summarize, eating fresh, unspoiled food is beneficial to our health, enjoyment, balanced diet, and the environment. That’s why, the next time you go for a cupcake, double-check the expiration date to ensure you get the most out of it! Now that you know all this, let’s find out how long are cupcakes good for.
What Is A Cupcake? And How Long Are Cupcakes Good For?
So, as you might already know, cupcakes are small versions of cakes baked in a special cupcake or muffin pan. These cakes are also often baked inside of cupcake wrapper, which helps insulate moisture and neaten the overall look of the treat.
Then, the cupcakes are decorated with frostings and garnishes. There are also tons of different frostings available, but they all have two functions. The first is to add flavor and moisture to the cake itself. And the second is to prevent the cake from drying out by forming a protective layer.
The cupcake itself can vary from plain old vanilla and chocolate to extremely unique and truly one-of-a-kind flavors. You can make their flavor tropical fruit, caramel, coffee, or even pumpkin spice. This is literally all using a simple pound cake recipe!
And naturally, you can also make a variety of cake types like carrot cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and tiramisu cupcakes. If you can think of it, you can make it!
How Long Do Cupcakes Last?
How long do cupcakes last? Well, this depends on a lot of different factors! But, how you store them will probably affect their shelf life the most.
Cupcakes can last anywhere between 2-5 days. However, using proper storage techniques, you can make them last for up to a week!
Here are some of the main factors that influence how long cupcakes will last.
- The storage method
- Storage temperature
- The ingredients used
- Weather conditions
- Whether the cupcakes are store-bought or homemade
How Do You Store Cupcakes Properly?
When storing cupcakes at room temperature, make sure to store them in an airtight container and a cool, dry, and dark place. Store the cupcakes out of direct sunlight and make sure they are not exposed to any excessive moisture.
If your cupcakes have highly perishable icing, like a meringue-based one (that contains eggs), you have to store the cupcakes in the fridge. Alternatively, only add the frosting once you are ready to serve the cupcakes.
Moisture is not a cupcake’s friend, but the cool temperatures make the cupcakes last longer. However, the dry air in the fridge also causes cupcakes to dry out. So, how do we prevent all of these potential problems?
The simplest answer is to store the cupcakes in an airtight container. This will help prevent the cupcakes from drying out and protect them from the moisture inside the fridge. And, the colder temperatures will also slow the deterioration of these cakes.
How long do cupcakes last in the freezer? How to freeze them?
Cupcakes freeze very well! You can keep some cupcakes on hand in the freezer for between 4-6 months. Perfect for when unexpected guests show up!
The best way to store cupcakes in the freezer is to wrap each cupcake (without frosting) individually with plastic wrap, then another layer with foil. The foil will help prevent freezer burn.
Cupcakes can also be frozen with the frosting, but we recommend using fresh frosting on the cupcakes. Frozen frosting that eventually gets defrosted doesn’t have a very appealing texture, and sometimes even separates completely.
How to thaw frozen cupcakes?
Frozen cupcakes will save you when you are in a pinch! And, defrosting them is easy!
Simply defrost your cupcakes by thawing them at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature. Cupcakes can also be thawed overnight in the fridge.
The fridge method works a lot better and will prevent drastic changes in the texture and flavor.
How Long Do Homemade Cupcakes Last?
Well, this comes down to exactly how you stored the cupcakes and what ingredients you used. If properly stored, homemade cupcakes can last between 2-3 days, but potentially up to 5.
These cupcakes have a shorter shelf life as compared to store-bought ones because they often contain stabilizers and preservatives.
How Long Do Cupcakes Last That Are Store-bought?
So, store-bought cupcakes conveniently have use-by dates printed on each package. They also include sell-by dates. The sell-by dates indicate the date the cupcakes will still be in relatively great condition.
The use-by date, however, lets you know when the cupcakes will no longer be good to eat. This use-by date isn’t the expiry date, and you will have to monitor the cupcakes further for signs of expiration.
Store-bought cupcakes usually have a use-by date of 5-7 days. This is long because again, these cupcakes often have added preservatives and stabilizers.
How Long Do Cupcakes with Sprinkles Last?
Sprinkled cupcakes have a slightly shorter shelf life than other cupcakes. It’s not that they go bad quicker, but they won’t necessarily look like they did after a day or two!
The sprinkles absorb moisture, which means they will get soggy and melt into the icing. So, if you want them to last longer, only add the sprinkles before serving!
And remember, just because the sprinkles melted, doesn’t mean the cupcake has gone bad!
How Long Do Cupcakes Last Without Being Refrigerated?
Depending on how you store the cupcakes outside the refrigerator and what ingredients you used, cupcakes stored in an airtight container should last 2-3 days without being refrigerated. Cupcakes stored in the fridge will however last up to a week.
Read more about How Long To Cool Cupcakes Before Frosting?
How Long Are Cupcakes Good At Room Temperature?
Leaving cupcakes at room temperature for too long is not a smart option because it can lead to a variety of problems that can affect both the taste and safety of the cupcakes. Cupcakes, as previously said, are very perishable and, in warm and humid surroundings, may easily become a fairly good breeding ground for bacteria and other hazardous microbes.
Don’t forget that standing too long at room temperature can also affect their texture and taste. Cupcakes are best enjoyed when they are fresh and moist, but as you probably already know, the moisture in the cupcake will evaporate with time, leaving it dry and less enjoyable to consume. This can result in a tough, crumbly, and flavorless cupcake. A nightmare for all of us, right?
Temperature fluctuations are another element to consider. The problem is that any dessert left at room temperature for an extended period might be exposed to temperature fluctuations, causing the icing to melt and the cupcake to get soggy.
Finally, don’t forget unwanted guests, such as insects and rodents. They are not only disgusting to see and represent a health risk, but also have the potential to contaminate the cupcake with toxic compounds.
However, how long are cupcakes good for when they are left at room temperature?
Frosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Unlike them, unfrosted ones can last for a little longer, up to 4 hours. Also, they may only last an hour or less if the environment is particularly hot or humid. In any case, to preserve optimal freshness, do your best to eat them within 2 hours. (As if that’s going to be a problem, right?)
How Long Do Buttercream Cupcakes Last?
Buttercream cupcakes are a staple in the world of sweets and have captured the hearts of many. These scrumptious treats are known for being light, fluffy, and creamy, and there are various reasons why people adore them. We must not lose sight of the fact that they have a timeless appeal, and that their popularity grows day by day.
Even though it is one of the most popular dessert options, one question that often arises is how long they will last. The true answer is dependent on several circumstances, but in general, with appropriate storage, these delightful treats may last for several days.
Furthermore, what is important to emphasize is that buttercream cupcakes’ lifetime is also affected by the ingredients used in the making process. Are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Well, it’s very simple! Buttercream made with genuine butter, for example, has a shorter shelf life compared to buttercream made with shortening. The thing is that butter is more perishable than shortening and will spoil much faster if not properly stored.
In addition, keep in mind that preservative-free cupcakes that are made from fresh ingredients, such as eggs and milk, will have a shorter shelf life compared to cupcakes made with preservatives.
Finally, pay attention to the fillings such as fruit or cream that you use. They will, for example, have a shorter shelf life than regular buttercream cupcakes. This is because the fillings might cause the cupcake to spoil faster and attract bacteria.
This is why we recommend eating buttercream cupcakes made with fresh ingredients within two to three days of baking them to guarantee they are at their finest.
How Long Do Frosted Cupcakes Last in The Fridge?
It’s no secret that cupcakes are a crowd-pleaser and a dessert staple, but what happens when you have leftover frosted cupcakes and want to save them for later? The solution is simple: put them in the fridge! But the issue is: how long are cupcakes good for when stored that way? That’s why, saddle up, cupcake fans, because we’re about to go on an adventure in the realm of frosted cupcake longevity!
The most important thing is to store them in a hermetically sealed container and put them in the refrigerator because this way you will most certainly prevent spoilage and slow down the development of bacteria. However, the longevity of your cupcakes is partly determined by the type of frosting used; buttercream frosting may be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, whereas whipped cream frosting should be used within two to three days.
How Do You Know If Cupcakes Have Gone Bad?
- The texture of the cupcake will change. It will be dry, crumbly, and possibly very hard. So, try breaking a cupcake in half to give the batch a test.
- Although you don’t want to hear this one, cupcakes with fruity fillings usually become wet and slimy. Discard these cupcakes immediately.
- And then, our biggest enemy in the kitchen, mold. If you notice any sign of mold, immediately throw the cupcakes away.
If you found this article helpful and now know all the answers to how long are cupcakes good for, then make sure to check out some of our other informative articles too!
How long do sprinkled cupcakes last?
Cupcakes with sprinkles will also last between 2-5 days, depending of whether they are store-bought or homemade. What will drastically affect their presentation life (how long they still look good for) is the sprinkles themselves. Once they absorb moisture, they will melt and stain the frosting.
How long do store bought cupcakes last?
These cupcakes contain stabilizers and preservatives, which makes them keep extremely well, even at room temperature. They will last roughly 5 days at room temperature, possibly longer. 5-7 days are merely their use-by date, not actually their expiry date.
How long do homemade cupcakes last?
Homemade cupcakes will last between 2-4 days. Buy, you can use effective storage techniques and make them last up to a week.
How long do cupcakes last without refrigeration?
Without refrigeration, cupcakes will last between 2-5 days. This mostly depends on how they are stored and whether they are store-bought or homemade. Store-bought cupcakes will last longer because they often contain stabilizers and preservatives.
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.