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To refrigerate or not to refrigerate

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Ok - right up front I'll tell you that I'm asking this question for semi-professional reasons. I'm hosting a cooking web forum and one of the posters has asked me if cookies or cakes with a butter or milk-based frosting need to be refrigerated.

Truth is, I personally would refrigerate if I had the room in my refrigerator or if the weather were very warm. But I don't think I'd obsess over it if the house were winter-temperature cool and my fridge were full.

I defer to the more safety-minded among you. Is it safe to leave frosted cakes un-refrigerated?

I will credit this answer to the great minds of Chowhound.

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    Jeremy Newel

    My husband's grandmother made a fabulous chocolate cookie which had a cream based frosting. These cookies were never refrigerated and no one ever got sick. On the other hand, they were usually eaten up within about 3 or 4 days. Don't know if that helps you or not.

    1. Sugar is a preservative. I don't think people need to fuss so much. Besides, if the taste goes off you pretty much know it... will eating it kill you if it doesn't taste fresh? No.
      Without refrideration it will get dry and stale quicker.

      1. Think of them like... muffins or brioche. They go stale and taste bad well before there are any kinds of adverse health-safety reasons. No problem keeping them out of the fridge from a safety standpoint.

        The refridgerator may preserve their life a bit longer, but keeping them out won't hurt anyone.

        1. Thank you, everyone. That's exactly what I thought but wanted to check with the experts. I have posted the answer and given credit to my reliable sources at Chowhound.com.