Does German Chocolate Cake Spoil? Can It Be Refrigerated?

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German chocolate cake became one of my favorite cakes to make in the last year. A common question that always comes up in my baking community is whether or not German chocolate cake can spoil. Learning how to handle your German chocolate the right way can save it for a longer period of time!

As a general rule, German chocolate cake can spoil within a day or two if left out at room temperature. German chocolate cake can last for about five days when stored in an airtight container. Once refrigerated, a German chocolate cake can last for about a week.

You may have questions about the shelf life of German chocolate cake and if it can be refrigerated. There are many more tips that could be applied to keep your cake fresher for longer. Read on to learn more about whether German chocolate cake can spoil, and how to properly store it so you can enjoy it for even longer.

How Long Will a German Chocolate Cake Last?

A German chocolate cake can generally last about five days. The amount of time a German chocolate cake stays fresh depends on how you store it. Store your German chocolate cake in an airtight glass or container. This will maximize the amount of time you can store it without it losing its flavor.

Counter TopSealed ContainerRefrigeratorFreezer
Can last for 1-2 days if left out at room temperatureCan last for 5 daysCan last for up to a weekCan last for 3-4 months

German chocolate cake is known for its rich, decadent filling and textured nutty frosting. While plain chocolate cake is a classic favorite, there’s just something about German chocolate cake that takes its richness to a whole new level!

Perfect German Chocolate Cake Slice!

While I like to do my mixing by hand, I much rather prefer using a Stand Mixer instead. I recently wrote an article that talks about the 3 Best Stand Mixers that bakers can buy in each stage of their baking journey. After reviewing a few stand mixers, the Best Overall Mixer was the KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. You can check out this stand mixer on Amazon!

I’ve always thought that German chocolate cake tastes and feels much more elegant than most cakes. This probably has a lot to do with how moist and flavorful it is, especially once it’s dressed up with flaky coconut and bits of pecans.

It’s the perfect cake to bring to Thanksgiving dinner or any other special occasion when you want to share something particularly decadent.

*Side Note: If you’re ever wondering about The Right Way to Store a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, I recently wrote an article that explains exactly how to store this cake at room temperature, in the fridge, and even in the freezer. You can check out this article here!

Does German Chocolate Cake Spoil?

As a general rule, German chocolate cake can spoil if it is not stored properly. If left at room temperature, it can start to spoil between one to two days. You will start to notice a change in smell and texture once it begins to lose freshness over time.

The great thing about chocolate cake is that it’s a pretty sturdy dessert that takes a while before it starts to go bad. Chocolate cake can stay fresh for several days before you start to notice a change in texture and quality.

You’ll know pretty quickly whether your chocolate cake has reached its shelf life when it starts becoming dry in appearance. When cake is exposed to the air for a while the oxidation process sets in quickly, which causes it to dry out and crumble.

*By the way, I always wanted to be able to store my cakes the right way but I never found a good container that could fit my large cakes. However, I recently came across an Extra Large Cake Carrier/Storage Container That Holds up to 12 inch 3-layer Cakes. This carrier was perfect for storing my large cakes. You can check out this Cake Storage Container on Amazon here!

Does German Chocolate Cake Need to be Refrigerated?

German chocolate cake does not need to be refrigerated. If it is stored properly, German chocolate cake can stay fresh for about five days. Refrigeration is a good option if the cake won’t be eaten within a day or two. Once refrigerated, a German chocolate cake can last for about a week.

While I have refrigerated my German chocolate cake in the past, I’ve noticed that it’s not really necessary as long as you store it in the right container.

I usually bake my cakes the day before I plan on eating them, so refrigeration is really not needed in most situations.

Cutting into German Chocolate Cake After 2 Days in the Refrigerator!

You may want to refrigerate your cake if you have already applied the frosting. I’ve noticed that prepared frosting tends to go bad after two or three days if it’s not kept cool. In this case, you should store your frosted German chocolate cake in the fridge.

*By the way, if you are interested in knowing how to get Stuck Parchment Off of Your Cake and how to Prevent It, I recently wrote an article about Removing Stuck Parchment Paper, which you can find here!

How Can You Tell if the German Chocolate Cake is Bad?

As a general rule, German chocolate cake will start to look and feel dry once it is starting to go bad. The frosting will begin falling apart and separating. It may even appear slimy. Once bad, the cake will begin to give out a repelling odor.

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of taking a bite out of a piece of cake after it’s started going bad, you know it has a very distinct texture.

A bad cake will be extremely dry and crumbles upon the slightest touch

You may even have difficulty keeping it on your fork, as it falls apart on contact. Some cakes also start smelling “off” as they reach their expiration dates. I have found this to be especially true if you’re using fruits and nuts in the batter or frosting.

This smell could mean that mold is starting to grow. If your cake is starting to give off a strange odor it’s definitely time to toss it out.

*By the way, you might also want to know Does Carrot Cake Spoil. I recently wrote an article that talks about The Right Way to Store Carrot Cake to Make It Last. You can check out this article here!

How to Store German Chocolate Cake Properly?

German chocolate cake must be stored in an airtight container in order for it to retain its freshness and flavor. An airtight container will prevent the cake from oxidizing. If left out at room temperature, the air causes the German chocolate cake to dry out and lose its texture within two days.

You may wonder if there are any special considerations when it comes to storing your prepared German chocolate cake. In short, not really. I have found that there are many ways you can store German chocolate cake so it tastes just as fresh as the day you made it.

If you’re planning on storing your cake, it’s important to make sure it’s NOT still warm from the baking process.

It is simple to store your German chocolate cake!

The condensation caused by the warmth will ruin your frosting and any designs you may have created on your cake. Once your cake is completely cool, you can start preparing it for proper storage.

You can store your cake in the refrigerator if you’re planning to enjoy it in a few days. You don’t have to worry about wrapping your German chocolate cake in aluminum foil like you would with freezer storage. However, you’ll want to wrap it in plastic wrap or a similar product to help it retain moisture.

Just like with the freezer method, you’ll want to store your German chocolate cake in an airtight container. This can also keep it from picking up the smells from whatever else you happen to have in your fridge!

I certainly don’t want my cake smelling like last night’s leftovers!

Allow your refrigerated cake to warm up on your countertop on the day you’re ready to eat it. Refrigerating your cake will keep it fresh for about three to five days.

Can You Freeze German Chocolate Cake?

German chocolate cake can be frozen in order to maximize its shelf-life. When placed in an airtight container, German chocolate cake can stay good for three to four months. It’s important to place the cake upright in the freezer to keep it from losing its shape.

The general rule with freezing your cake is to make sure you have the right container for the job. Oxygen is a cake’s worst enemy. As soon as the oxidation process sets in, it’s game over. So you want to take proper measures to store your cake in an air-tight container, regardless of where you decide to store it.

Placing your cake in the freezer will help it last up to four months, but you first need to take a few steps in order to prevent freezer burn.

I like to first wrap my unfrosted cake in thick aluminum foil. This helps to insulate the cake and preserve its taste. Then, place your wrapped cake inside a cake container.

Make sure your unfrosted cake is completely sealed before putting it in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy your cake, pull it out and let it thaw for a couple of hours before frosting and decorating it. It will taste as great as the day you created it!

*By the way, if you want to know The Real Difference Between Foil, Parchment paper, Wax Paper, and Freezer Paper, I wrote an in-depth article breaking down the Similarities and Differences of each one, which you can check out here!

Can You Make German Chocolate Frosting Ahead of Time?

As a general rule, you can make German chocolate frosting ahead of time. German chocolate frosting is easy to create and store for three weeks before it starts to separate. It’s important to note that German chocolate frosting will not stay fresh as long as the cake itself will.

I have found that it’s really convenient to whip up a batch of German chocolate cake frosting ahead of time in order to decrease the amount of time you spend in the kitchen.

This is a great tip if you’re planning on making several cakes during the holiday season. By preparing your frosting ahead of time, you can streamline your baking process so you can focus on decorating them later after you’ve baked them.

Should you make German Chocolate Cake Frosting ahead of time?

German chocolate cake frosting will last for about three weeks. A good rule of thumb is to pour your frosting into clearly labeled containers before placing them in the fridge. Try not to wait any longer than three weeks before thawing and using your frosting.

Like cake, frosting must be completely cooled before you store it. By letting it cool, you allow it the time it needs to thicken and settle. Make sure it’s thoroughly mixed, and that the pecan bits and coconut shavings are evenly distributed before you store it.

Over the years I have created dozens of unique and delicious cakes, but I will always have a special place in my heart for German chocolate cake. There’s just something about the decadent, nutty flavor and creamy texture that can turn any day of the week into a truly special one.

German chocolate cake brings to mind warm memories of festive birthday parties, delicious desserts after Sunday dinner, and spending time with my family and friends.

*Side Note: If you are lacking baking equipment in your kitchen, I recommend for you to consider getting yourself some Silicone Molds. Silicone Bakeware has all types of molds including Silicone Cake Pan, Muffin Tins, Bundt pans, and so much more. I recently wrote an article explaining Tips For Using Silicone Molds which you can find here!

To Summarize…

German chocolate cake is one of my absolute favorite cakes to bake. Featuring sweet coconut flakes, decadent nuts, and a velvety mouthfeel, it’s a highly requested cake in my family, especially for birthday celebrations.

Storing this cake the right way has saved me so much time and effort. Learning more about this cake has helped me avoid wasting it. Since then, my German chocolate cakes have never gone to waste!

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My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

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