I am a decent cook myself but a terrible baker. There is something about baking that I can never get right. Be it the ingredients or the amount of sugar, I fail to find a perfect balance.
So, I choose the easy way out. I buy a cake mix. Not only is it perfect for baking a cake, but it comes in various flavors.
Like me, if you ever got a cake mix, you must have noticed that it does not come with an expiration date. Instead, it has a “best by” date. So, you have probably wondered that does cake mix go bad.
Well, let us find out.
Does Cake Mix Go Bad or not?
When stored properly, cake mixes don’t go bad. It can last up to 2-3 years or longer, even after the best-buy date is passed. Although, an old mix will not give the results as a fresh one. It is because the raising/leaving agent in the cake mix will lose its potency. Even though the mix is not expired, it will not give you the best quality cake either.
But how will you identify a bad mix?
Read further to know more.
How Long Does Cake Mix Last?
A cake mix can last for years if stored properly. However, there is no guarantee that you will get a soft, spongy cake. So, how long does a cake mix last to help you bake a perfect cake?
- Store-bought mix can last up to 7 months from its best-by date when stored in a fridge. If you store it in the pantry, you can store it for up to 5 months.
- The leftover store-bought cake mix is usable for 3-4 months when kept in the pantry. If you have stored the leftover mix in the fridge, it can last up to 5 months.
- Compared to store-bought cake mix, homemade cake mix has a shorter shelf life. It can last for a week in the pantry and for 3-4 months in the fridge if stored properly.
Factors Influencing a Cake Mix’s Shelf Life
Want to store the cake mix for a longer period? You must first know what affects a cake mix’s shelf life.
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Cake mixes contain raising agents like baking powder and baking soda to make the cake fluffy. While baking, these raising/leavening ingredients release gasses. These gases cause the batter to rise, making the cake fluffy and spongy. The raising or the leavening agents are also responsible for the cake’s texture.
The leavening/rising agent can lose its strength when stored for a long time. This will make your cake fluffy and will give it a brittle texture like frozen cheese.
The most crucial factor influencing the shelf-life you’re your cake mix is how you store it. If you have opened the mix, reseal the pack. Make sure to use an airtight container (jar or zip lock) to keep the cake mix safe. Remember, it is vital to seal in your mix content to extend the shelf-life.
Ensure that you store the cake mix in a cool, dry place. Storing it in a hot and warm place will make it a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep your cake mix away from light and pungent odors. When exposed to pungent odors, your mix can absorb the smell/flavors around it.
When you open your cake mix, it will start degrading in quality. A common reason is your cake mix pack being exposed to oxygen. Once exposed to oxygen, the cake mix flour will start to have a rancid taste.
If you leave your cake mix open, you will see the content having a moist texture. If you see a moist cake mix instead of a powdery one, it is time to toss it away. A moist cake can become a breeding ground for bacteria and molds.
Tip: Several cake mixes can be stored in the freezer. Frozen cake mixes are your best friends if you use a small quantity. However, not all mixes can be stored in the freezer as they contain whipped egg whites. Storing these mixes in the freezer will degrade the quality and spoil the content.
Signs of Spoilage
Before you pour a cake mix into the bowl, look for signs of spoilage. A few common signs of spoilage are bad odors, mold formation, or a change in appearance. Another thing to focus on is the packaging of the mix. Damaged packaging means the content has been exposed to air. Look in detail for the signs of spoilage:
Damaged packaging indicates that the content inside may already be spoiled. This can degrade the leavening agents and add moisture and air to the cake mix. Make sure you buy a pack that is properly sealed to ensure freshness.
Changes in Appearance
A change in color and texture of the cake mix is another sign to look out for. The mold or the mix appearing lumpy is a clear sign of spoilage.
Changes in Smell
A bad-smelling cake mix is a clear sign of decay and rot. Even though an expired cake mix will not harm you, it can make your cake taste bad. If you notice a sour smell from the pack or in the batter, it is time to toss it away.
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How to revive a bad cake mix?
A cake mix becomes bad when baking soda/baking powder loses its raising properties. It only takes a few ingredients to get effective results from a bad cake mix. Take a bowl and pour some old cake mix into it. Add baking soda and baking powder to the mix, along with some water. Blend the cake mix ingredients to form the perfect batter. Now you can enjoy a fluffy and moist cake even with an old mix.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Does cake mix go bad if unopened?
Ans. A cake mix does not go bad if the seal is intact. However, the mix will degrade in quality after its ‘best by’ date has passed.
Q2. How long does cake mix last after the expiration date?
Ans. A cake mix does not come with an expiration date. However, it comes with a ‘best by’ date. It can last for years or months after the expiration date but will slowly degrade in quality.
Q3. Can expired cake mix kill you?
Ans. There have been no deaths caused by consuming an expired mix. In severe cases, however, consuming sour cake mix can cause food poisoning.
Q4. What happens if you eat an expired cake mix?
Ans. In serious cases, consuming expired cake mix can cause food poisoning. Some of the symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and so on. Look for signs of spoilage before using an expired mix.
Q5. Can you get sick from an expired cake mix?
Ans. Consuming expired cake mix is not known to cause serious problems. However, a few symptoms of consuming expired cake mix can include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Cake mix is a perfect way out for all those who don’t like to go through the extended baking procedure. Not only does it make baking easier, but it also saves a lot of time. What’s even better, you ask? A cake mix does not go bad; but, eventually, degrades in quality. So, when using a mix for baking a cake, make sure you use a fresh pack. If you are using an old pack, ensure it does not show any signs of spoilage. The appearance of molds or a smell change indicates a bad cake mix. Consider the “best by” date before buying the mix to know how long it will last.