Savannah Valley District

Moldy Cakes, Pies, & Bread

Christine Patrick, County Extension EFNEP Agent

The holidays are the high season for baking bread, cakes, and pies. Bakers are taking extra time to achieve perfect results, seeking fresh ingredients, and using high-quality recipes. These baked treats take extra time, money, and effort but the result is a great final product. Home-baked foods are often preservative free. The preservatives used in retail baked foods help extend the storage time and are not necessarily needed for the home. Fresh and preservative free is extra tasty but may be more prone to mold growth when not properly stored. Most baked foods are best held at room temperature as refrigeration can promote staling but some need refrigeration for quality and safety.

Home-baked foods that are most prone to quick molding are “extra moist” and/or made with low-acid ingredients.

What could have been done to prolong the shelf life of pumpkin bread? It can be refrigerated. Some common baked foods that need to be refrigerated are:

  • Cheesecakes and cakes that have fresh fruit fillings and cakes made with cream cheese icings.
  • Moist bread and bread that have zucchini, pumpkin, or banana added.
  • Pies include custard, chiffon, pumpkin, and fruit pies.

And what should you do if mold appears? Unfortunately, if you find that your baked food has mold on it you should discard it. Don’t scrape off the mold and eat it. Surface molds can root down deep into the food. Some molds can be dangerous causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Even sniffing the mold can cause a reaction. And a few molds can produce mycotoxins, a poisonous substance that can make you sick. If you are a baker, don’t let your hard work go to waste from improper storage.

For more details on storage times, see fact sheet #3522, “Food Storage: Refrigerator & Freezer” on Clemson’s Home & Garden information page.

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