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Six ways to use up leftover cake

From bake-sale drizzles to buttercream-laden showstoppers, there’s no denying that cake is a big part of our culture. In the UK, we eat three slices a week on average*. But cake also tops the list of the 10 most wasted foods in the UK – we throw out 75,173 tonnes every year**. Read on to learn how to keep cake fresher for longer, and some new ideas to help use it up – so you can have your cake and eat it too.

  1. Store it right

    Storing cake in the fridge will make it go stale more quickly, but if it’s filled with fresh cream or soft cheese it needs to be refrigerated. Most other cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll last longer if they’re completely covered in icing too, as this acts as a barrier to stop the sponge going stale – such as with this cappuccino cake with marshmallow icing  or decadent chocolate, popcorn and salted caramel cake.

    Store it right
  2. Think ahead

    If you’re baking a day or two ahead it may be better to wait until the day you’re serving to decorate it. Once cake has been cut, you can help stop it going stale by using toothpicks to attach slices of bread to the ‘open’ parts. The bread will turn stale, but the cake will stay moist (don’t let the bread to go waste either – see our tips for leftover bread). This handy tip is useful for large showstoppers such as our lemon, tea and blueberry cake or rich chocolate crackle cake.

    Think ahead
  3. Make friends with the freezer

    Cake freezes well, particularly when un-iced. Wrap tightly in clingfilm, then again in foil – this will help ensure no moisture gets in, and will protect the cake from freezer burn. Undecorated cakes such as this almond, rosemary and courgette cake are easy to freeze ahead of time, ready for any occasion. Frosted cake can also be frozen: refrigerate first to harden the buttercream, then wrap well as above. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge before bringing to room temperature.

    Make friends with the freezer
  4. Perfect pops

    Leftover iced cake works well for rolling into cake pops, with the icing adding moisture to help crumbs stick together. Crumble cake and mix with enough extra buttercream to form a malleable mix. Roll into balls. Refrigerate to set, then dip in melted chocolate to coat. Try these pretty cake pop roses for a sweet edible gift or treat kids to adorable bunny cake pops.

    Perfect pops
  5. Turn into trifle

    Retro classic trifle is perfect for using up spare ends of cake. Simply toast leftover plain cake crumbs in the oven until crisping at the edges. Tip into glasses and drizzle with limoncello. Make up raspberry jelly to pack instructions and pour over; when set, spoon over lemon curd. Top with whipped cream, lemon zest and fresh raspberries. For a summer spin, try these irresistible barbecued banoffee trifles using sticky ginger cake, topped with barbecued bananas filled with melting chocolate and fudge.

    Turn into trifle
  6. Make the most of Madeira

    Firm cakes such as Madeira or dense pound cakes are perfect for turning into an indulgent French toast. Beat together eggs with a splash of milk. Cut thick slices of slightly stale cake and dip in the egg mix. Fry for a few mins each side until golden and serve with fruit compote or a drizzle of syrup.

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