Overcake: how long will 238 pieces of cake last?
July 1, 2018 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Because of severely over-enthusiastic baking by several members of a local village church before an event today, yadda yadda yadda I have 238 pieces of cake in my fridge. It is ferociously hot here in rural England. Here's one of the tupperware containers of cake that currently line my fridge shelves. There is a variety of fruit cakes, ginger cakes, iced cakes, scones etc, all hewn into pieces of similar size. While I figure out what next, how long will they keep, and can I extend their life? I do not have access to a reliable freezer.
posted by Wordshore to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Assuming a well chilled fridge (and airtight containers to prevent it from drying out), I imagine that 238 pieces of cake would keep for about as long as 2 pieces of cake. In my experience, that's about one week before it starts to become less palatable, and about two weeks before it starts to become questionable from a food-safety perspective.

Can you give some away to friends/family/coworkers? Everyone likes free cake.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:47 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The lighter spongier cakes should get eaten first. The denser, fruitier cakes should last longer.
posted by KateViolet at 8:55 AM on July 1, 2018 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I would divide them into two main categories: cake with any kind of cream, jam, fruit. Eat these first.
Cake without cream, nuts, with dried fruit etc i would dry, and make into cake crumbs, these crumbs, provided nothing moist is left will keep a long time, basically until the moths find them.
You can air dry or in the oven, either way i would chop them up to speed up drying.
Cakes with frosting or icing cut that off before drying.
There are a number of nice recipes involving cake crumbs and spirits, basically you layer crumbs, sprinkle with eg. Rum, next layer canned peaches, next layer some custard cream, etc.
What is also nice is a piece of dry old cake sans creme filling, soaked im mulled wine or cidre, topped with whipped cream.
posted by 15L06 at 9:00 AM on July 1, 2018 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, to have Wordshore's problems.

Fruitcakes, if they are traditionally made (with lots of booze and candied peel and dried fruits), shouldn't necessarily need refrigeration. Put them in a cool, dry place in Tupperware and they should be fine for a while.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:04 AM on July 1, 2018 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Also you can do the Austrian thing and solve surplus of cake with baking more by making Punschkrapfen the recipe says use cookies but really it should be leftover cake, just could not find one in English with cake.
posted by 15L06 at 9:21 AM on July 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: By fruit cakes should be fine for a while, in my family it's not been unheard of to open the Christmas cake tin to store this year's cake and discover the still edible remains of last year's cake.

And triffle is always an option.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:34 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If any of the plainer bits don't get et by co-workers, etc - you can bag 'em up, crush 'em to crumbs, and use the bag crumbs as filler for nut filling in any number of pastries. Freeze the crumbs at will.
posted by notsnot at 10:04 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Traditionally, the top tier of a wedding cake was saved to become the christening cake, ie 9-ish months later. The combination of sugar and booze, combined with the marzipan ideally making an airtight seal, was the key. I would therefore say that a boozy fruitcake firmly wrapped in clingfilm should last for ages without refridgeration (much like Helga-woo above, my family often discovers forgotten Christmas cake in the summer months and eats it).
posted by Vortisaur at 10:14 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could make a giant trifle, but then you would have giant trifle problems.

Reading this question, I thought - this can’t be the same person with all the cheese and chocolate bars, can it?

Yes, it can.
posted by 41swans at 10:26 AM on July 1, 2018 [49 favorites]

Many cakes will actually start two taste stale two days in - especially lighter sponges.

See if there's a homeless shelter that can freeze it and give it to homeless people who need cheering up over the next few weeks / months?

Or....this would be a great way of making your whole neighbourhood love you. Do a big giveaway! Bring some into work also, for brownie points with your boss and colleagues.

Maybe donate it to a nearby school so they can do a bakesale at the end of the school day when parents come to collect their kids - they can give the proceeds to charity and save you from guilt at having let a whole load of cake go off.

Or, you could buy a small freezer on gumtree or ebay (they're usually around £30) and freeze as much as possible. That way you have enough cake to eat for life.
posted by starstarstar at 10:40 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Cake will keep a long time. It's mostly mold you're trying to avoid. I've been able to maximize the shelf life of cake slices by putting them in ziploc bags with a couple of folded paper towels, which helps regulate the humidity and delay the onset of mold. Cake will probably last a week this way. Fruit pastes/jams/etc are safe; the high sugar content is a natural preservative.

Past a week, freezing should work fine. Cake is made mostly of long protein chains (gluten), and isn't as affected by the process of cells freezing and rupturing like with frozen meats and vegetables. Use freezer ziplocs (double zipper) to keep the moisture from sublimating and they should thaw nicely.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:47 AM on July 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Some good answers already - thanks. I should have been a little clearer that this is an immediate and short-term storage issue/query, and not a distribution query. Distribution of some of the cakelets will occur to various people and organisations in due course, when convenient for all.

You could make a giant trifle, but then you would have giant trifle problems.

Unfortunately for the same reason as the cake mountain I also have a trifle surplus (you should see the inside of my fridge, which is currently a dietician's worst nightmare). Here's some of this afternoon's left-over trifle. I also have tea, and gin, surpluses for similar reasons from other events, but these are all different issues to that of cake and its immediate storage requirements.

A reallocation of the 231 (I was hungry) pieces of cake is about to take place, into more airtight containers and based on their likely longevity as expressed in the answers so far; thanks.
posted by Wordshore at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2018 [20 favorites]

If I were a neighbour I would happily lend room in my freezer for a 10% cake tithe :)
posted by warriorqueen at 2:49 PM on July 1, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Turn your fridge to its coldest setting, especially if you are still having that hot weather. Pack the cakes tightly to reduce air, which causes staleness.
posted by theora55 at 5:50 PM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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