How Far in Advance Can You Make a Sponge Cake?

Victoria sponge cake

Baking is an excellent hobby for all ages. Not only is it fun, relaxing, and creative, but it also leaves you with a delicious snack to reward yourself with once you’ve finished.

Unfortunately, baking can also be time-consuming, and not everyone has a spare hour or two to set aside whenever they feel like it. This is especially true when you need a cake for a celebration and have to fit the baking time and all the other preparations into one day.

A great way of fixing this issue is to bake your sponge cake in advance. Although this is a common practice for savoury food (i.e., batch cooking), it is much less common when it comes to baked goods, so it can be hard to know what you’re doing. So, how far in advance can you make a sponge cake?


How Far in Advance Can You Bake a Sponge Cake?

You can make a sponge cake anywhere between two days and two months in advance of eating it. In fact, when you bake the cake if far less important than how you store it. How far in advance you can make your sponge cake also depends on whether it’s decorated or not.

If you’re already confused, fear not—we have all the information you need! Read on to find out how early you can bake a sponge cake, whether or not you can decorate it in advance, and the best way to store it safely without it drying out.

Making a sponge cake

Can You Make a Sponge Cake Ahead of Time?

Baking a sponge cake in advance is an excellent idea if you’re short on time, but how early you can do so depends on whether you’re storing your cake in the cupboard, fridge, or freezer.

Details of these options are given below for both plain sponge cakes and those that have been decorated.

Plain sponge cake

The best way of baking a sponge cake in advance is to store the cake layers individually and then add decorations on the day you want to eat it.

According to Betty Crocker, plain sponges can be made between 2 days and 2 months in advance if stored in one of the following ways:

  • Cupboard: If you are storing your cake in the cupboard, it can be baked 2-3 days before you need it. To ensure the cake doesn’t dry out, you will need to wrap each cake layer in clingfilm and then place the cake in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerator: Sponge cakes will last longer in the refrigerator, but they will still only be at their best if eaten up to 3 days after baking. Once again, you will need to wrap each layer of cake before placing them in the fridge to keep in moisture. Take your cake out of the fridge an hour before decorating and serving to allow it to return to room temperature.
  • Freezer: Once frozen, a sponge cake will still be at its best for up to 2 months after baking. To safely store your cake, wrap each layer in clingfilm followed by aluminium foil (to prevent freezer burn), and then keep it in an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge overnight and allow it to return to room temperature for an hour before decorating and serving.

Homemade sponge cake with icing

Decorated sponge cake

Generally, it is best to leave cakes undecorated when baking them in advance. This is because storage will become more challenging, and the decoration can seep into the cake and ruin the texture.

If you do decorate your sponge cake in advance, it will last for the same amount of time as a plain sponge cake would in each of the storage options above. However, the way in which you need to cover your cake will differ:

  • Cupboard: When storing a decorated sponge cake in the cupboard, you simply need to place it in an airtight container. Not wrapping the cake increases the chances of it going dry, but is the only way to preserve the decoration. This is your best option when storing a cake covered in fondant, as cold temperatures can cause the fondant to sweat.
  • Refrigerator: You can store a decorated cake in the refrigerator exactly how you would in the cupboard: using an airtight container. You will have to store a cake in the fridge if you have decorated it with buttercream or cream cheese frosting to ensure it doesn’t spoil.
  • Freezer: When storing a cake in the freezer, it is always best to wrap it up to prevent freezer burn. However, this will typically squish your decorations. To prevent this, try hardening the icing in the freezer for a few hours before wrapping your cake and placing it in an airtight container ready for storage.