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Does Carrot Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?

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Carrot cake is one of those tricky desserts. The name is pleasantly deceiving because clearly it is made with a vegetable. Who would have ever thought that carrots could contribute to a deliciously tasteful cake?

And yet, carrot cakes are incredibly popular and that is because they are absolutely divine. Carrot cake is usually topped with a cream cheese frosting, although there are plenty of different ways to make carrot cake out there.

When it comes to storage, it’s not completely like other traditional cakes that you just need to cover. Of course, if your house is anything like ours, there are rarely leftover pieces anyway! 

So, does carrot cake need to be refrigerated? While it isn’t necessary to refrigerate carrot cake immediately after preparation, it should primarily be stored in the refrigerator. For optimum freshness, it should also be put in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap or tin foil.

In this guide, we are going to share with you why it’s ideal for carrot cake to be refrigerated.

We will talk about the overall shelf life and provide you some storage tips and options that might come in handy when it’s time to store your carrot cake. 

Keep reading to learn how to store carrot cake and more! 

Storing Carrot Cake Properly

In short, you don’t have to store carrot cake in the fridge but it will last much longer if you do. You should also take into consideration the type of frosting that is used on carrot cake.

The most common frosting used is a cream cheese frosting and this is always best stored in cool places, so keep that in mind. 

Of course, if your carrot cake is not frosted or perhaps uses a different type of frosting, then you might have a little bit more flexibility.

These are certainly things that you really need to consider before you make a decision on how to store your carrot cake. 

But, here’s the thing about carrot cake. Even unfrosted, it will need to be refrigerated for optimum freshness.

It can be stored at room temperature for short lengths of time but the refrigerator or the freezer are really the primary methods for storing carrot cake. 

Here’s a breakdown. When you leave carrot cake at room temperature, whether it’s frosted or not, you can expect to get maybe 1-2 days out of it before it is no longer any good.

However, if you toss it in the fridge, you’re going to probably get a good 7 days out of that carrot cake. 

You can take your storage one step further and store carrot cake in the freezer as well.

All of these methods work but you get more storage time when you use the fridge or the freezer rather than just leaving the cake at room temperature. 

How To Store Carrot Cake At Room Temperature

While we don’t recommend storing carrot cake at room temperature, it can be done for short periods of time.

Keep in mind that this type of cake as well as the frosting will only stay good for about 1-2 days when stored at room temperature

Follow these steps to store a carrot cake at room temperature. 

  1. Allow the carrot cake to cool after baking. 
  2. Cover tightly with some sort of airtight container. You can also use plastic wrap or some similar covering if needed. 
  3. Store out of direct sunlight. We recommend in a pantry or in a dark, cool location in the kitchen or dining room. 
  4. Store at room temperature for 1-2 days at the most. 

These storage processes can be used for a frosted or unfrosted carrot cake.

This is meant for fresh carrot cake or even purchased carrot cake but keep in mind it simply won’t last long under these particular circumstances. 

How To Store Carrot Cake In The Refrigerator

We recommend using the fridge. Your carrot cake will hold up much better and it will taste better.

If you prefer it warm or room temperature for serving, you can always remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to let it come to room temperature. 

However, for the best results for storage and for longer storage purposes, the fridge really works well. There are many reasons we recommend the fridge.

If your cake is frosted, the fridge preserves the frosting much better and it is less likely to melt or mess up in the fridge. 

The fridge is also helpful for the cake itself and preserves the carrots and other ingredients in the cake better.

In the refrigerator, you can expect to get up to 7 days out of your cake, as opposed to 1 or 2 days at room temperature. 

Follow these steps to store carrot cake in the refrigerator. 

  1. Be sure the cake has had time to cool if it is freshly baked. 
  2. Securely cover the cake in an airtight container. You can use plastic wrap or foil if needed but we recommend a dish that will securely close and latch. 
  3. Place in a cool and dark location in the fridge that is not prone to moisture. 
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. 

The key to storing in the refrigerator is that the cold of the fridge will help to preserve the ingredients in the cake as well as the ingredients in the frosting.

Much like with the other processes we talk about, this can be used for both frosted and unfrosted carrot cake. 

You will notice that you get substantially more time with your carrot cake using the refrigerator for storage as opposed to using room temperature.

It’s a great way to preserve and care for those ingredients. 

You will want to be sure that you don’t have excess moisture and that your storage methods are airtight in order to prevent bacteria growing or the cake getting hard while it is stored. 

Remember that if you want to serve the cake warm or at room temperature, you will just need to remove it in time to do so prior to serving.

About 30 minutes at room temperature will help get the cake to room temperature rather than chilled from the fridge if that is your preference. 

How To Store Carrot Cake In The Freezer

If you have carrot cake that you’ve made up extra of or perhaps just don’t think it’s going to get used before it goes bad, you can always store your carrot cake in the freezer.

This works really well as an option for carrot cake that has no frosting but it can also work when frosting is present on the cake. 

You should be aware that sometimes the freezer can mess with the ingredients in frosting when they come out of the freezer but you’re not likely to have any issues.

The texture might change just slightly on the frosting but it also might be just fine. 

Follow these steps to store carrot cake in the freezer. 

  1. Be sure the cake has time to cool and is not going in the freezer hot out of the oven. It is best to freeze it when it is already chilled or at room temperature. 
  2. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap that is freezer-safe. We recommend at least 2 layers of plastic wrap. 
  3. Place the cake into an airtight container or into a freezer storage bag. 
  4. Seal up tightly to ensure that no air from the freezer can reach your carrot cake. 
  5. Label, date, and seal all packaging. 
  6. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

The freezer is a great place to store both frosted and unfrosted carrot cake and it will preserve your cake for much longer in the end. 

Any of these methods will work well for you if you use them properly. Just be familiar with the timeframes and know that room temperature storage is not ideal for carrot cake. 

Related Questions

We hope you find this guide to storing your carrot cake properly to be a useful resource. We recommend the refrigerator but there are other storage options out there as well. 

Next, let’s take a look at the following question and answer section for some additional details that may be useful as well. 

How can you tell if carrot cake is bad? 

Usually, you can tell by the smell but there might also be visual signals as well.

If you get a whiff of any scent that seems off, we recommend not eating the cake especially if it is a spoiled scent.

As far as visual, if you notice mold or any other anomalies, it’s time to get rid of the cake. 

How long does carrot cake last? 

It really depends on how the carrot cake is stored and even what is in it.

For the most part, you can plan on 1-2 days at room temperature and about one week in the fridge

Can I leave carrot cake out overnight? 

You can leave carrot cake out overnight and it will be fine, as long as it is only one night.

However, we recommend storing it in the fridge for the best preservation of the cake and the frosting. 

Up Next: Can Stainless Steel Go In The Oven?

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