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Cake that improves over a few days but doesn't require refrigeration?

I'd like to send a birthday cake to my grandpa (turning 86 at the end of the month) but am having a hard time coming up with ideas of cakes that actually improve over a few days (shipping time) and don't require refrigeration (which nixes cheesecake, the only cake I've come up with that gets better with a few days). Since I'm shipping, it would need to be at least somewhat hardy, too. Any suggestions? Or should I stick with cookies?

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  1. Not birthday cake like but Candy's chocolate pound cake is excellent and tastes good a few days later (not that it lasts that long...).


    Gingerbread is good, too, after it's had time to sit. This is a good recipe and you could just leave the chocolate ganache off.


    You could bake that in an aluminum pan and it would make shipping easier.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Thank you. I was just about to suggest my recipe too. It does ship well wrapped in plastic.

    2. I shipped a birthday cake, frosted it by making it an inside-out cake. The frosting was on the inside, between the layers, and the outside was dusted with confectioners sugar, then wrapped tight. It arrived in good shape. (Not that it would have mattered...they were teens. I doubt they looked at it before they devoured it) It was a simple, old fashioned burnt sugar cake.


      1. Rum cake, or any cake soaked in liquor or a syrup

        1. I made this Mexican Chocolate bundt cake with a chocolate/nut glaze to ship to a friend for her birthday based on a rec from here (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...). I made a practice one first, and it only lasted a day, but it was great. My friend said it tasted great when it finally got to her too (I think it took 3 days to get there - Baltimore to Denver in the middle of the summer!).

          1. The much talked about Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread! I baked it on NYE in my 10-15 cup bundt and it turned out beautifully, and (because of resolutions heh) we're slowly finishing it off and it's still wonderful! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            4 Replies
            1. re: maplesugar

              Yes, indeed...the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread is fabulous and even better days later. You do need to bake it in the bundt pan, though, or two loaf pans. Ship one, eat one!

              1. re: maplesugar

                I third the rec for the G.T. gingerbread - made two for Christmas (first one didn't want to leave the pan so, darn it, we had to eat that ourselves) and they were great even close to 5 days later. The flavors get more complex and delicious - just covered it w/plastic wrap and left it on the counter. It's a tough little cake too - would be great to ship.

                1. re: gansu girl

                  That's the one I was going to suggest. I made my first one at Christmas and I was amazed that it just kept getting better as it aged!

                2. re: maplesugar

                  I assume then, that you doubled the recipe maplesugar?

                3. If you have the Cake Bible, the Grand Marnier cake is delicious and suits your requirements. I think she even discusses shipping it. I make a Key Lime Bundt cake that is better the next day and I think would do fine if well wrapped. I've posted the recipe on HC before - let me know if you want me to find the link.

                  1. Pound cake improves, as does rum cake and something I used to make called "Russion Honey Cake". I think any butter cake with buttercream frosting or ganache will last fine for several days. Ganache is my choice because of the stability. Do you think your grandpa would like devils food w/ choc ganache?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: danna

                      I agree about the Pound Cake. It travels well and is so easy to eat, meaning you can either just have a slice or dress it up with fruit and syrups. My MIL used to make a lemon bundt cake that always tasted better a few days into it. I don't have the recipe, but you might be able to google it.

                    2. I also love the Banana Cake in the Cake Bible, it definitely tastes better the next day and the day after. There's a banana custard in the middle and it sort of soaks into the cake making it even more moist and delicious. I usually do some kind of buttercream frosting.

                      1. a proper fruit cake, definitely improves with age.

                        1. The Elvis Presley pound cake is awesome and actually needs a day or two to come into its own. Recipe says it can keep at room temp for 5 days:

                          1. Happy Birthday to your Grandfather. I would suggest a pound cake or a caramel cake. You could also do a red velvet cake if you don't put a cream-cheese based frosting on it. (Like you, I am always in search of cakes that don't require refrigeration).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tehama

                              I made Nigella's clementine cake over the holidays and thought it was better a few days after I baked it.

                            2. Flourless Chocolate Cake. The restaurant I worked in used to make it 2 days ahead of time and we never to put it in the cooler. It's good for about 7-8 days. You might have to ship it in the pan though, because it's fairly light the first day or so and easily crushed.

                              Alice Medrich has a good recipe, I think she calls it Chocolate Torte.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: metaphora

                                my flourless chocolate cake recipe has six eggs in it....i'd feel a bit weird leaving that out on a counter for 7-8 days....I know it's baked, but it's not dry like a cookie or regular cake. ....doesn't seem right.

                              2. My latest concerns with shipping food gifts have been not with the lack of refrigeration, but with unexpected bursts of heat, I suppose from the boxes being placed near hot parts of the innards of trucks. I've sent things that have arrived melted and totally unrecognizable! So if I were sending a cake that might have to travel for a few days, I'd look further than types of cake that are good at room temperature, and instead think of cakes that can withstand *hot* weather, and unexpected bursts of heat, without turning rancid.

                                1. I must agree with other posters who mentioned Rum Cake. My mom makes a killer one and once shipped one to me in CA from VA, in April, with no problems whatsoever!

                                  1. Nigella's chocolate loaf cake. Not shaped like a traditional birthday cake, but definitely SUBLIME in flavor. Everyone loves this cake, and it tastes best on the third or fourth day after you've made it. Easy to ship, too. It is moist and divine. I would be delighted if someone sent me this for my birthday. Here's what it looks like:


                                    If you go with cookies (in addition?!) I just made the Silver Palate toffee bars, and I noticed that they taste even better on the second, third, fourth days. They're basically shortbread with a layer of chocolate on top, easy and delicious. I think those cookies with the chocolate loaf cake would be a great goodie bag for your grandpa's birthday.

                                    1. Thanks for all of the suggestions. There are a few here I'll be trying at home, in addition to what I make to ship! I'm leaning toward pound cake (possibly Candy's chocolate pound cake) right now (beer allergy and aversion to spices kicks out the GT gingerbread cake for him, but that is definitely going on my short list of desserts to make at home this winter), but I don't have to bake until Thursday night, so I can still be persuaded in a different direction!

                                      1. not really a birthday cake, but could be equally festive.....how about a humongous birthday cookie !!! Another suggestion could be those chocolate "pizza" things you sometimes see in confectionary stores...often sold in slices (basically it is chocolate bark made in a round, decorated with various what nots)

                                        1. Carrot cake improves with time. Bake it as a loaf and douse it with a little rum and send it to me instead of your grandfather! '-)

                                          I personally find baking and shipping a cake myself a real drag. I can't decorate it (my forte) and have to worry about some shipping handler (private or government) putting a 200 pound box on top of it along the way. So for my son's birthday last November, I found a website that decorates the cake, ships it, tosses in napkins, plastic forks, paper plates, and candles all for fairly cheap, compared to other cake shipping companies. Here's trheir URL: http://tinyurl.com/2ukf4s