How Long Will a Sponge Cake Last Covered in Icing?

Victoria sponge cake covered in icing

Cake is one of life’s greatest pleasures. We eat it at birthdays, weddings, parties, special occasions and in cafés alongside a good coffee with friends.

It sometimes happens that we have leftover cake, or we have cakes that we need to make or purchase ahead of time and knowing how long your cake will last can be useful.

Cakes covered in icing can last around four days at room temperature, giving you plenty of time to finish it off over the course of a few days.

Does the Icing Type Affect How Long Cake Lasts?

Icing typically refers to fondant, a type of sugar-based dough that is kneaded, rolled, and laid over a sponge or fruit cake.

Sometimes icing can refer to buttercream, this is a butter and icing sugar mix that is whipped and piped or spread onto a cake.

A sponge cake covered in fondant icing can last 4-5 days at room temperature but a buttercream icing covered sponge cake would only last 2-3 days at room temperature, although it may last longer if kept in the fridge.


How Far in Advance Can You Make a Sponge Cake?

Baking a cake ahead of time can relieve some of the stress of the occasion. Sponge cakes can be frozen un-iced for several months and then iced when needed. Alternatively, you can make a sponge cake 2-3 days before needing it.


How Long Will a Sponge Cake Covered in Icing Last in the Fridge?

Fondant icing covered sponge cakes do not need to be refrigerated, because the fridge would cause the fondant to become sticky with moisture and make icing colours run and bleed. This is to do with the way the moisture levels in the fridge react with the sugar in the fondant.

A buttercream icing covered cake will last up to four days in the fridge. Buttercream covered cakes are better refrigerated because this reduces the risk of the butter in the buttercream melting, especially on hot days.

Baker putting icing on sponge cake

How Long Will a Sponge Cake Covered in Icing Last at Room Temperature?

A sponge cake covered in buttercream icing will last 2-3 days at room temperature. After this time the buttercream may begin to harden, and the cake will begin to dry out a little.

A fondant covered cake will last 4-5 days at room temperature providing any exposed sponge is covered in an airtight wrap or container.


Can You Freeze an Iced Sponge Cake?

Buttercream can be frozen either on a sponge cake or by itself ready to be used. When freezing a cake covered in buttercream it is worth considering how the buttercream may move and distort when defrosting it.

A smooth base layer of buttercream works best. For the best results buttercream should be frozen separately to a well-wrapped sponge cake and then added on before serving.

Fondant icing cannot be frozen. It would distort and dry out as it defrosted and would also crack on the cake’s surface.

If you wish to freeze sponge cake that you are planning to cover in fondant, then it is wise to freeze just the bare layers of sponge and ice them when needed. Bare sponge cake can last three months in the freezer.