Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked March 7th 2013

Preserving a cake

Does anyone know if there's anything out there that you can put into cupcakes/cakes to make them last longer after baking? Thanks :-))))


Hello Kellie

How long do you want to preserve the cakes for? In industry all sorts of chemical preservatives are used. For the home baker extending shelf life by a few days can be achieved by adding glycerine or golden syrup to the cake batter.

If you type in the search box 'lengthening the shelf life of cakes' and 'shelf life' you'll see some answers there.

Other preservatives are Sorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate. Unfortunately, I can not give information on how to use these products. They are available on Amazon and home brew specialists who may be able to advise on usage.

I've included this information link http://www.md-health.com/Potassium-Sorbate.html for you to look at so
that you are fully informed. Hope this helps.


Brilliant thanks for your tips. I'm only really looking at preserving them for an extra couple of days. Some of the orders for cupcakes that I have had are wanted for Mother's Day but they want to collect them today but wasn't sure on how long they last without there being something extra in there 🙂


Kellie, personally I wouldn't use the additives unless you're looking at weeks of freshness. It's a bit complicated getting the ratio of preservative right for all the different batters. It isn't like using baking powder or baking soda.
Adding just a little salt will act as preservative, it does slow down any microbacterial growth, but again for the time frame you'd need it is it really worth messing about? Good luck with your cakies.x


Ok thanks for your advice. So just so I know how long would you say a normal vanilla cupcake would last? Also once decorated is it best to keep in a box or in the fridge??? 🙂


Normal vanilla cupcake would be fine for a couple of days before beginning to stale a little (in my experience). I would just keep them in a cardboard cake box, in the fridge you could risk the wrappers peeling from the moisture.
As you know, cupcakes are at their best on day of baking, not an option here from what you say, however, because they'll be decorated they should retain moisture and still be fluffy. Back in April I made loads of cupcakes for McMillan fund raiser, we had a fair few left over which were sold off three days later, I ate one and it was just fine. Keep them in a cool room. Normally I would suggest making a simple syrup and brushing the cupcakes with it. The syrup soaks down into the sponge and keeps it very moist. I'm not sure whether the wrappers would peel, it hasn't ever happened to me, you'd have to weigh it up for yourself if you think you'd like to do that. I'd hate it if your wrappers decided to go AWOL!!


A cake without preservation can only last for two to three day.


It really depends on which recipe you are using. 🙂


I do not know what kind of preservatives I can used for large quantities of cup cake


Hi motunrayo_afolyan

Please could you refer to the answers given above as they contain much of the information you are seeking.

Chemical preservatives are not recommended for use by the home baker or a small scale bakery.

The best method for the home baker is to wrap the cakes in cling film and placed in ziplock backs or airtight container before freezing. In this way cakes will keep fresh for up to three months, depending on the recipe.

With cupcakes, sometimes the wrappers come away. However, thicker wrappers tend to fare better.



I find if you add one teaspoon on vegetable oil to the mix they stay fresh longer

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