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How to store cakes and cupcakes in the summer

Yellow Layer Cake
Baked goods should usually be stored in airtight containers to give them the longest shelf life and keep things from becoming stale. Airtight containers will keep cookies crisp and chewy and keep cakes moist and fresh tasting much longer than simply leaving them out on the counter.

During the summer, however, keeping your baked desserts in an airtight container can actually create some unexpected problems, particularly for moist baked goods like cakes, cupcakes and quick breads. If your kitchen gets too hot, heat can start to build up inside the container and your cake can start to “sweat” out the moisture inside. You might actually start to see some steam building up within your storage container! If left this way, you will end up with a cake that starts to get soggy around the edges, as well as a cake that will begin to spoil quickly due to the warm, bacteria-friendly environment inside the hot container.

The best thing to do during the summer is to try to keep the heat away from your cakes and cupcakes, storing them in a cool place out of the sunlight.  You can also prevent heat from getting trapped around your baked goods by keeping your storage container – whether it is a ziploc bag or a hard-sided carrying case – cracked open to allow for some airflow. If you are dealing with very extreme heat, or need to transport your goodies somewhere and they’ll be exposed to the sun, you can stick them in the refrigerator in their airtight container. Usually the refrigerator will dry out baked goods and may cause them to stale quickly, but it will cool them down enough to survive a trip to a summertime picnic and will preserve them better (and keep that frosting from melting!) than being left out in the heat.

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  • Monica
    June 12, 2013

    Thanks for the tips! These are very helpful! (:

  • Lauren
    June 14, 2013

    Nice article! I mostly worry about my chocolate (I know the fridge isn’t good for it, but it melts otherwise.) Any tips for that?

  • Nicole
    June 14, 2013

    Lauren – You’re right about chocolate, storing it in the fridge will make it sweat and bloom. Chocolate really needs an air conditioned environment if you live somewhere where it gets really hot, or just find the coolest place in your house (even if it is a closet) and keep it there. That said, when it is very hot sometimes you have to do what you have to do and storing it in the fridge is a much better option than letting it melt!

  • Sarah
    August 14, 2013

    I have this problem regardless of if it is summer or winter. My cupcakes are in a cool dark place and this still happens. I worry about cracking open my airtight container and having them dry out. However, I hate that the liners get sweaty and oily. It makes for bad presentation. Any suggestions?

  • Nicole
    August 14, 2013

    Sarah – If your cupcakes are very moist, they might start to give off some moisture over time inside the container, depending on how long you leave them in there. If it happens right away, I would suggest leaving them out for a while longer before sealing them up. It might also be happening because you live somewhere where it is somewhat humid – or even that your house may be a bit on the humid side – in which case leaving them out for a bit longer before storing them might also help the situation a bit.

    Either way, if the container is getting too moist, it is better to leave it open, since that excess moisture can cause the cupcakes to go bad (as in moldy – not stale) relatively fast. Choosing between the two, I would definitely opt for a slightly drier cupcake.

    I hope that helps!

  • Susan Salmon
    February 12, 2014

    Can your baking cups go in the freezer

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