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Does Cake Mix Go Bad? – The Ultimate Guide

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Cake mixes help you whip up a quick and easy cake for nearly any occasion. It is super handy to keep some cake mix at home for when you have unexpected guests come over, for a special birthday, or for when cake cravings hit.

But does cake mix go bad? Yes, cake mixes can go bad. They do, however, take much longer to spoil than many other food items and do not spoil the same way that dairy does. Cake mixes can often sit in the pantry for months, or even years, without going through much change.

You do need to know the signs of a spoiled cake mix, in order to tell whether it is still fine to use, and whether or not the cake mix is fine to use beyond its expiration date.

This way, you can use up your cake mix before it goes bad, and you’ll never have to throw spoiled cake mix away.

Can Cake Mix Go Bad?

It can be easy to forget about a half-opened box of cake mix in the cupboard or never get around to baking the funfetti cake mix you bought on a whim a year ago. You might wake up one morning and have the urge to finally get baking.

But can you use these cake mixes that have sat around collecting dust for ages?Cake mix can go bad, and this usually only happens well after the expiration date.

If you are fine with using the cake mix once it has passed its expiration date, you should look for signs of spoiling, such as mold or a change in smell or appearance.

There are certain ways in which you can extend the shelf life of cake mix, such as how you store the cake mix box, and where you keep it tucked away in the kitchen.

Extending the shelf life will prevent the cake mix from spoiling sooner than it should, and helps to keep its quality.

It is a dry good, and dry goods do tend to last for quite some time. While it does have a lengthy shelf life, the cake mix can go bad.

How To Store Cake Mix

Cake mix is shelf-stable and doesn’t necessarily need any special treatment when it is being stored. You can keep it in your pantry in its original box if unopened, but there are a few ways to ensure it lasts longer than its expected shelf life.

Just like other dry goods, cake mix should be kept in a cool, dry environment, away from any direct heat or direct sunlight. The pantry or kitchen cupboard will be absolutely fine for this.

If you want to give the cake mix some extra protection, you can place the cake mix into a large sealed container or plastic freezer bag.

Once again, if stored this way, keep the cake mix away from heat and moisture, as these will lessen the quality of the cake mix and encourage mold growth.

For when you have only used half a box of cake mix, and have some leftover, you cannot just place the open box back into the cupboard or pantry.

Place the leftover cake mix into a sealed container or plastic freezer bag, which shuts airtight.

It might be a good idea to keep the packaging as well, or just cut out the instructions so that you know how to use the leftover cake mix for when you want to bake it.

As with most other food items, you should keep the cake mix separate from ready-to-eat food to avoid any cross-contamination.

The cake mix might contain bacteria that end up being killed during the baking process, but these microbes should not be allowed to end up in your ready-to-eat food.

This could make you quite sick, and even lead to food poisoning. It is best to just keep all these types of food stored away securely and separate from each other.

Can You Freeze Cake Mix?

Cake mixes have a fairly long shelf life, so there isn’t much reason to actually freeze them. The cake mix will probably not freeze well either.

The leavener in the cake mix might not rise once it has been frozen and thawed, or you might find your cake falls more easily.

If you are wanting to keep the cake mix for a much later stage, it is better to actually bake the cake and then freeze the cake itself. The cake will last better in the freezer than the actual cake mix.

To freeze a cake you should wait for it to cool completely and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You can then place this into a large airtight freezer container, or place it into a large freezer bag, squeezing out all the air from the bag as you seal it.

Label the packaging with the date of freezing, and the name of the contents, so that you know when to use it and that you can easily identify the contents when it is in the freezer.

You can pop the cake back into the oven when it is time to be used, or leave it in the fridge overnight until you need to add the frosting.

If you end up having leftovers, you can even safely refreeze your cake by following the right procedures.

Does Cake Mix Really Expire?

Yes, cake mix does really expire. People tend to consider that it doesn’t, as it does not really change its appearance at all over time like food in the fridge might when it begins to go bad.

The cake mix might not actually show signs of spoiling, but it is important to remember that it does contain quite a host of other ingredients, and over time these can begin to lose their quality.

This will result in a less-than-successful cake, and the flavors might be lacking as well.

It is best to just consume the cake mix before it expires, or by when it reaches its best by date. Chances are that it will last past this point, but it is always better to play it safe when it comes to food.

The cake mix will probably not make you sick if it is a few months past its expiration date, especially if it has been stored properly, but the actual cake might not turn out as good as you would have hoped.

Expired Cake Mix – Can I Still Use It?

It should be fine to use cake mix which has expired, as long as it hasn’t been sitting around for too long.

Each cake mix package should come with a best-by date, and you should make sure to check this date as a guideline for when it should be consumed.

This date is exactly what it claims to be. This is when the quality of the product will remain at its peak, as long as it is stored properly. Without proper storage, the cake mix can have a shorter shelf life. 

Many people think of cake mix the same way they think of flour – that you can use old flour and the cooking still turns out okay.

There are many other ingredients in cake mix, such as baking powder, sugar, yeast, etc. that make the cake mix less durable than ordinary flour.

You do need to take these other ingredients into consideration when leaving the cake mix to sit past its expiration date.

It should still be okay to consume cake mix when it is around 3-4 months past the expiration date. However, you do need to check for signs that the cake mix has not spoiled before using it.

How to Tell if Cake Mix Has Spoiled 

You should always check for signs of spoiling, especially if the cake mix is past its best-by date.

It can be difficult to tell whether the cake mix has spoiled, especially before you actually mix it up with other wet ingredients such as water, egg, or butter, but there are a few ways to tell.

Most or all cake mixes contain a leavening agent, such as baking soda, yeast, or baking powder.

These ingredients are used to raise the dough during baking. If the cake does not rise when baked, there is a good chance that these ingredients have gone bad. Discard the cake if this happens.

Check the cake mix to see if it has an unpleasant smell or change in color. Even if it is a slight change, it is best to just throw the cake mix away and purchase a new one.

Definite signs of spoiling include mold in the cake mix or holes in the packaging where mice or insects may have gotten to it.

There is no doubt that this requires the cake mix to be thrown away. It is definitely best not to risk it.

You should also throw the cake mix away if the box has been damaged, even if it is not showing any signs of spoiling yet.

How Long Does Cake Mix Last?

Stored in the right conditions, at room temperature, cake mix will keep its best quality for around 12-18 months.

However, this is only true if the right storage conditions are followed, and if the cake mix is kept securely in the box or in an airtight container.

You can get a cake mix for just about any baked good, and they all contain different ingredients. However, these usually last for the same amount of time past their expiration date and can be used to bake up some delicious treats. 

Generally, cake mixes, including brownies, muffins, and cupcakes, will last 4-5 months past their expiration date.

Just keep in mind that you should always check the cake mix for signs of spoiling, instead of just trusting the dates completely before baking.

These dates are only useful for cake mix which has been left unopened, in an undamaged box, in cool, dry conditions away from direct sunlight and direct heat.

Using Expired Cake Mix

One of the main reasons cake mixes have a best-by date is because, while the ingredients in the mix will not necessarily be harmful, they will not perform at their best.

One of these is the leavening agent, such as baking powder or baking soda. Once one of these leaveners expires, then there is a good chance that your cake will not rise, and will not taste as good as you would have hoped.

The degree of this will depend on how long the cake has been left to sit past its expiration date.

Most people then choose to add a teaspoon of baking powder to a cake mix that has passed its best-by or expiration date.

This will get the cake to rise, especially if the baking powder it was originally made with has lost its effectiveness. However, while this might cause your cake to rise, it could also add a bit of an off taste to your cake.

Most cake mix manufacturers do not recommend that you add in baking powder to an old cake mix to bring it back to life and that you should just buy another fresh box of cake mix.

You can often find cake mix on sale, and, along with the cost of ingredients you need to make the cake, it is just worth it to buy a fresh cake mix that you know will not go to waste.

Related Questions

We hope this article has answered any questions you didn’t even know you had, but for curious minds, we’ve gathered a few of the most frequently asked questions related to cake mix expiring below.

Can You Get Sick From Eating Raw Cake Mix?

Yes, you can get sick from eating raw cake mix. The same goes for raw dough. You can fall ill, and it is better to avoid it altogether.

It can be super tempting to steal a taste, but it can be problematic, especially if any of the ingredients have spoiled.

Raw cake mix, and even raw flour, do not seem dangerous at first, but they can be contaminated with salmonella and E.coli, which are just a few of the bacteria they could contain, which could make you really sick.

These are all killed when exposed to high temperatures during baking. Don’t risk your health by eating raw cake mix or raw cake dough. If you want the taste, buy or make edible cookie dough, which is fine to eat raw.

Is Cake Mix Gluten-Free?

Not all cake mixes are gluten-free, however there are different cake mixes that are suited for different diets.

You can find cake mixes that are gluten-free, kosher, and sometimes even vegan. Check the label of the cake mix or the producer’s website to make sure the mix is suited to your needs.

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