How to Store Cupcakes With Frosting: Buttercream, Whipped, Royal Icing, Ganache

You can think of cupcakes as miniature regular cakes. Occasions that can look and feel more complete with regular cakes can be made more memorable with cupcakes, too. But since cupcakes are practically regular cakes in smaller portions, they have to be treated just like their full-sized counterparts, especially when storing them.

Cupcakes with frosting should be kept in either the fridge or freezer. When refrigerated, they will keep for one week. When frozen, they can keep for up to three months. Cupcakes whose frosting contains no ingredients that perish quickly can be stored on a countertop for up to five days.

What makes cupcakes really delightful to look at and munch on is their frosting, which can come in a dizzying assortment of colors and flavors, too.

Frosting can also be made with several ingredients, some of which need to be refrigerated while others don’t. The type of frosting is an important factor when it comes to storing cupcakes properly.

JUST A WORD OF ADVICE: never store cupcakes while they are still hot!

No matter if you wish to step foot into the world of cupcake making or you are about to bring home some of them, read on. Below you will come across tips on how to store cupcakes with frosting.

cupcakes with frosting

But First: Why Cupcakes are Better Than Cakes

The very first cakes as we know them came into being in the mid-1600s in Europe. Cupcakes, on the other hand, first showed up back in 1796 when they appeared in a US cookbook.

However, it was only in the early 1800s when they were first referred to as “cupcakes”.

Although cupcakes have been around since the 18th century, it’s only back in the early 2000s that they became extremely popular, thanks to the cameo roles of various New York City bakeshops that made them on Sex and the City.

In 2004, the racy TV show with hilarious and stylish characters came to an end. But the cupcakes that they made popular, however, remained.

These days, you will be hard-pressed to find a special occasion, from a children’s birthday party to a wedding, without some colorful and tasty cupcakes on the buffet table.

Here are some of the top reasons why cupcakes are more awesome than regular cakes:

  • Simple to make. Even if you have never tried baking a cake before, you will likely reap success baking some cupcakes. Thanks to their size, it’s easier to prepare, bake and decorate them than regular cakes.
  • Versatile. Why opt for a huge cake with a single flavor when you can go for cupcakes in different colors that go well with various themes and different flavors that suit numerous events?
  • Pocket-friendly. Especially if you are on a tight budget and only close family members and friends are invited, serving cupcakes can keep you from ending up with a gigantic hole in your pocket.
  • Save Space. These days, most apartments and condominiums are getting smaller and smaller. Luckily, there are cupcakes that can make special moments unforgettable without taking up lots of space at the venue.
  • Trouble-free to transport. Whether the cupcakes you wish to bring home are from a party or a bakeshop, you will find them easier to take from point A to point B, unlike a cumbersome regular cake.
  • Easy to store. Because cupcakes are space-saving alternatives to cakes, storing them is rather easy. Some can be placed on a cake stand with a cover on a countertop. Others can be stored in the fridge or freezer.

Speaking of which, it’s a must that you store cupcakes the right way. This is most especially true for those with frosting, which is usually the case.

Failure to store them properly can leave you with rock-hard cupcakes or, in many instances, cupcakes that are no longer fit for consumption because of frosting that has gone bad.

How to Store Cupcakes Based on the Frosting

When it comes to storing cupcakes properly, there is something that should be on the top of the list of considerations. It’s none other than the frosting — the very thing that makes these tiny cakes look and taste supreme.

Frosting not only comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors but also ingredients.

Some of these ingredients remain stable at room temperature for up to several days, while others tend to go bad in just a few days. This is why knowing the type of frosting is a must when it comes to storing cupcakes correctly.

There are many different types of frostings.

Worry not because there is no need to get to know each of them. It’s enough to get acquainted with only some of the most popular ones, especially those commonly used on cupcakes.

But before knowing the steps on how to store cupcakes with frosting, let us first get you familiarized with some of the things that you will have to carry out when keeping cupcakes with frosting in tip-top shape anywhere from several days to a few months.

How to store cupcakes without ruining frosting

Storing cupcakes without running their frosting is as simple as placing them in a container large enough to accommodate all of them. But if they have to be wrapped individually, they should be frozen first. Once the frosting is hard, they can be wrapped in cling wrap without any worries.

Just like regular cakes, the frosting can make storing cupcakes a daunting task for many. This is especially true for those who have never tried storing cupcakes with frosting in the past.

If the cupcakes have extremely perishable frosting due to the ingredients, you can leave them covered on a countertop for up to two days.

If the frosting does not perish as quickly, cupcakes can keep for up to five days. Just remember to store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight or any source of heat.

This brings us to a very important question:

Which frosting ingredients perish quickly?

Milk, butter, cream cheese and eggs are frosting ingredients that tend to perish quickly. If cupcakes have frosting, they should be stored either in the refrigerator or freezer. Sugar, shortening and meringue powder, on the other hand, are frosting ingredients that do not perish as quickly.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb to follow to keep you from ending up with a nasty headache: if the frosting contains ingredients that you need to refrigerate, then the cupcakes should be refrigerated.

Refrain from assuming that storing cupcakes whose frostings do not contain ingredients that are quick to perish can keep at room temperature forever.

Outside the refrigerator or freezer, they can stay in great shape for up to five days. They may last a little longer than that, but you can expect the cupcakes and the frosting to end up dry and hard.

How to freeze frosted cupcakes

Before freezing frosted cupcakes, they need to be wrapped in cling wrap after freezing them for a couple of hours to harden the frosting. Once carefully wrapped, place them in an airtight container instead of a ziploc bag. When stored in the freezer, frosted cupcakes can keep up to three months.

When storing cupcakes in the freezer, there is something that you should protect them from at all costs. It’s none other than freezer burn, which can cause hard and dry sections to mar perfectly delightful cupcakes.

This is why it is important to place cupcakes individually wrapped in cling wrap in an airtight container, either out of plastic or glass, to keep the cupcakes from coming into direct contact with the extreme environment inside a freezer.

It is possible to place them in a Ziploc bag instead, but it may keep the frosting from staying impeccable.

Can you freeze cupcakes in paper cases?

It is possible to freeze cupcakes in paper cases. Also called cupcake liners or baking cups, they can be peeled off easily when frozen cupcakes are thawed. The paper cases can help keep cupcakes from drying out and becoming rock-hard quicker than usual as they prevent moisture from escaping.

Whether you wish to store cupcakes on a countertop or in the refrigerator or freezer, refrain from removing the paper cases. That’s because they serve more important roles than most people think.

Paper cases help keep the batter from sticking to muffin tins. They make cupcakes look nicer, too, especially if they come in eye-catching designs.

Paper cases also help save cupcakes from losing much-needed moisture from the time that they are taken out of the oven.

Unnecessary loss of moisture can quickly make cupcakes less delightful to munch on.

How to store cupcakes with frosting overnight

Even if the frosting contains extremely perishable ingredients, cupcakes with frosting can be stored at room temperature overnight. They can keep for up to two days on a countertop. They have to be covered to save their frosting from collecting dust, dirt and pet hair, and keeping insects at bay.

There is no need to shell out money to get your hands on a traditional cake stand or plate with a dome cover just to keep cupcakes with frosting pristine when storing them on a countertop.

A large upturned bowl can do the trick. You may also store cupcakes in the oven or microwave.

How to store a bitten or sliced cupcake

When storing a bitten or sliced cupcake, use the paper case as a wrapper to keep the cake part from drying out. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator where it can keep for a week. A bitten cupcake may not last for a long time at room temperature due to bacterial activity.

The good news is that it’s less likely that you will have to store a half-eaten or sliced cupcake, especially if it’s really good — consuming it entirely is the way to go!

Now that you already know the above-mentioned important matters, it’s time to get to the crux of this article: the steps on how to store cupcakes with frosting.

How to Store Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting can be stored on a countertop overnight. The sugar content will help preserve them. However, if the kitchen isn’t at room temperature, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting should be stored either in the refrigerator or freezer instead.

Cream cheese is a soft type of cheese. Because it contains a lot of moisture compared to a harder type of cheese, it can go bad quickly. It can also harbor the growth of dangerous bacteria.

Eating red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that’s already bad may cause food poisoning-like symptoms.

How to Store Cupcakes Frosted With Buttercream

Cupcakes frosted with buttercream can be stored on a countertop for three days. They should be placed in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat-generating kitchen appliances. Cupcakes frosted with buttercream can also be stored in the fridge or freezer for longer shelf life.

Butter in buttercream is perishable. Luckily, it does not go bad as quickly as highly perishable frosting ingredients such as cream cheese. Cupcakes frosted with buttercream can keep in the fridge for five days, and longer in the freezer.

How to Store Cupcakes With Royal Frosting

Cupcakes with royal frosting can be stored at room temperature for a week. The royal frosting can last longer. However, the cakes themselves can dry out quickly on a countertop. To store cupcakes with royal frosting for a long time, put them in the freezer where they will keep for three weeks.

It’s true that royal icing contains egg whites, which are perishable. However, there are two things about royal icing that give it phenomenal shelf life. They are the sugar content, and the fact the frosting lacks moisture.

As a matter of fact, royal icing can stay in great shape at room temperature for up to four weeks!

How to Store Cupcakes With Meringue Frosting

Because of the frosting, cupcakes with meringue frosting should be consumed as soon as possible. To keep them from perishing quickly, especially the delicate frosting, they can be stored in the refrigerator for two days. They can keep up to a week, but meringue frosting will no longer be good.

The problem with meringue frosting is that it contains egg whites that are left uncooked.

Due to this, the frosting can go bad quickly, and also harbor dangerous microbes. Expert bakers suggest using pasteurized egg whites instead to considerably lower one’s risk of ending up with food poisoning.

How to Store Cupcakes With Whipped Cream Frosting

Cupcakes with whipped cream frosting can stay fresh on a countertop for two to three days. The large amount of sugar helps preserve them. However, whipped cream frosting tends to lose its form. Due to this, it’s a good idea to store cupcakes with whipped cream frosting in the fridge or freezer.

Make sure that you place cupcakes with whipped cream frosting in an airtight plastic or glass container before you stash them in the fridge.

Otherwise, the whipped cream frosting will absorb all kinds of refrigerator odors, which can easily wreak havoc on the way the cupcakes smell and taste.

How to Store Cupcakes With Ganache Frosting

Because of the heavy cream ingredient, cupcakes with ganache frosting can stay at room temperature only for up to two days. Storing them in the fridge is a safer storage method, in which they will keep for up to a week. In the freezer, cupcakes with ganache frosting can keep for a couple of months.

Aside from heavy cream, ganache frosting can be made with other ingredients, too. Some of them are whipped cream and butter. No matter the ingredient used, cupcakes with ganache frosting keep better at lower temperatures.

How to Store Cupcakes With Canned Frosting

Cupcakes with canned frosting are best stored in the fridge, where they can keep up to a week. They can be stored on a countertop for two to three days, but the frosting may lose its shape, especially when it’s hot. Cupcakes with canned frosting can be stored in the freezer for three months.

Whether it’s your first time to try baking some cupcakes or you are in a rush, canned frosting is heaven-sent.

However, the problem with it is that it can be on the runny side of things, which can keep you from being as artistic as you can possibly be.

It can also keep your baked masterpieces from looking stellar for a long time. To deal with the runniness of canned frosting, add powdered sugar until you get a perfect consistency.


Because they are smaller than regular cakes, it is easier for cupcakes to dry out and harden. The frosting also needs to be protected from losing its form, collecting dust and dirt, and going bad.

Because of these matters, it’s a must that you store cupcakes with frosting the right way, depending on when you are planning on consuming them.

To keep frosted cupcakes in tip-top shape appearance- and taste-wise, follow the simple storage tips above!

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