12 Delicious Uses For Leftover Cake

As Marie Antoinette is dubiously and famously to have said, "Let them eat cake!" Cake is a glorious sweet confection that comes in many forms, from the light and airy sponge cake to the dense, rich, and often boozy fruit cake, to everything in between. We love cake so much that we traditionally celebrate everything from birthdays to weddings with one. However, even with the most vigorous of eaters and the best intentions, it is not uncommon to end up with leftover cake. But you might not want to just throw away the extra cake.

With the rising prices of food these days, no one wants to let a single morsel of deliciousness go to waste. And if there is one thing the internet is good at, it's showing us how to repurpose. Whether you have extra cake from shaping it into a marvelous creation, or you simply forgot to cover a cake, and now it is stale beyond belief, there are plenty of ways to use up the extra cake so that it will not go in the trash.

1. Cake Pops

One of the easiest and most versatile things you can do with leftover cake is turn it into one of the 2010s favorite sweets: Cake pops. That's right. Cake pops are basically just leftover cake all squished together and rolled into a ball before being stuck on a stick and coated in candy melts. So why spend the money at Starbucks for something you can make at home with the scraps you have lying around your house?

Some recipes call for making cake specifically for the cause, but we say, why waste your time if you already have cake scraps lying around? Cake pops work best with a fresh cake that is still moist, for example, a cake that has been carved or shaped off another cake when creating flat surfaces or hollowing out cupcakes for filling. However, unlike some other recipes, cake pops work well with a cake that has frosting or fillings in it. This will just help it all stick together and create nicely formed balls perfect for coating. Cake pop recipes can also easily be scaled up or down based on how much or little you have, making it an ideal use for leftover cake.

2. Truffles

Next to cake pops, truffles are one of the top uses for leftover cake. Making truffles out of leftover cake does not take much skill, does not require you to turn the oven on, and can also be an excellent way to use up leftover frostings, fillings, or toppings, too.

Much like their cake pop cousin, cake truffles start with a base of leftover cake that is smashed together. In this, you can add some frosting to help the mixture stick together if you find that the cake is a little too dry to hold its shape. Alternatively, you can simply add it in because you have some, and it is delicious.

The truffle dough can now be rolled into balls or really whatever shape you want. Additionally, you can even mix in chocolate chips or anything. The world is your cake truffle. Then to finish them off, it is up to you. One option is to dunk them in melted chocolate or candy melts. These can be melted in a microwave-safe bowl and do not require the stove to be turned on. Another option is to coat them in cocoa powder or roll them in chopped nuts. Finally, you can add sprinkles or any other topping, et voilà, you have a whole other dessert.

3. Trifle

A trifle should not be confused with a truffle. While they sound the same, they are two entirely different desserts. A trifle is a dessert made from layering cake, custard, and fruit or jam. Nuts, whipped cream, and other sweets can also be mixed in (via Britannica). Instead of making a cake just to cut it into pieces, you can simply use the leftover cake you have on hand.

One of the things that make trifles so ideal for using leftover cake is that the sponge cake, usually used as the layer, is also typically soaked in some form of alcohol. Even if you are working with stale old cake, this will help revitalize it and make it delicious again.

Additionally, if you have extra pastry cream or ganache, you can use these as part of your layers. Feel free to make as much or as little as you want. While some trifles are made in large glass dishes, you can also make them in single-serving cup sizes. Do not feel like you need to go out and buy more ingredients, as trifles are incredibly adaptable. So long as the flavors taste good together, feel free to use what you have on hand to create these esthetically pleasing layered desserts. Just do not fall into the trap that Rachel Green fell into when she added the whole Thanksgiving dinner to the center of her trifle.

4. Milkshakes

Sometimes even the simplest of recipes can feel hard, especially if you have just done a large round of baking or cake decorating. In that case, if you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your leftover cake without doing much or using a recipe, there is one simple solution: Make a milkshake.

Hear us out on this one. It might seem weird to just throw cake into a blender with some ice cream, but let's remember that birthday cake ice cream is incredibly popular and incredibly delicious. Plus, if you do not want to make a whole batch of homemade ice cream, you can use whatever ice cream you have on hand. Then throw in some milk, and throw your leftover cake scraps in, and you have an easy-peasy ice cream and cake combo. This will work for cake carving scraps or even leftover fully frosted birthday cake. After all, it's all getting blended up together anyway. This works whether you are using non-dairy ice cream and milk, using a cake that has a chunky filling, or nuts. Really anything goes, so feel free to make it exactly the flavor and consistency you want. But if you do use something with large chunks, we recommend using a wider straw, so it does not get clogged.

5. French Toast

In France, French toast is called "pain perdu," which translates to "lost bread" (via Wonderopolis). This is because, initially, French toast was created as a way to use up old, stale bread. This practice dates all the way back to the Roman empire and can be found all over the world. There is no rule, however, that says you have to use bread to make French toast. Instead, you can use anything with enough structure to hold up and absorb the delicious coating. This brings us to the obvious conclusion that more people should be making French toast out of cake.

In America, French toast is already a sweet breakfast item, often covered in maple syrup, powdered sugar, and topped with fruit. So why not go all in and use cake as the base?

French toast is usually made by dredging your carb of choice in an egg and milk batter, then pan frying it. This brings life back into the old stale pieces and makes them soft and delectable again. This will make a great option for a post-party breakfast to use up the extra cake. For this, more substantial cakes, such as pound cakes, are ideal as they will hold up better. But like all of our suggestions, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The end result will always be delicious. 

6. Cake Croutons

We all know the best part of a salad is a crouton. Because, of course, topping something with little cubes of bread just makes anything better. But did you know you can make croutons easily at home, and you are not limited to using white bread to make them? You can make croutons out of anything, including, yes, leftover cake.

To make cake croutons, you need a cake that does not have frosting or gloopy fillings in it. Anything that will instantly melt and create a mess if put into the oven can not be on the pieces you intend to use for croutons. Once you have your unadorned cake, cut them into pieces of the size you want for croutons. There are no rules, but larger pieces will take longer to dry. The pieces of cake will then be dried in the oven at a low temperature to create crunchy yet sweet bites.

While cake croutons may not be suitable for salad, they make for an excellent topping for a sundae. Additionally, these croutons can be used to adorn other sweet dishes, like pudding or custard, or top a cake milkshake. 

7. Bread Pudding

Similar to French toast, bread pudding uses an egg and milk mixture to create a custardy base which helps bring dried bread back to life. Bread pudding usually is made from pieces of bread, ripped or cut into small pieces, soaked in the custard base, and then baked until it creates a firm yet moist dish (via Merriam-Webster). Sugar, flavors, and dried fruits or nuts are often added. Really, whatever your heart desires can be used, and that includes replacing the bread component with leftover cake.

The advantage of making a bread pudding over French toast is that it is easier to use up a more significant portion of leftover cake. Say you have an entire pan of cake that needs to be used up; making French toast may become tedious. However, making bread pudding will use it up quickly. You can also use a wider variety of cake types to make bread pudding. Since you do not have to worry as much about structure, and because there is no frying and flipping, bread pudding allows the maker to use more delicate items and still have a desirable end result. So the next time you find yourself with a large surplus, consider "cake" pudding.

8. Cake Crumbs

Think of cake crumbs as the magical and more delicious sibling of bread crumbs. Instead of using stale bread that has been dried and pulverized into a fine crumb, the stale cake is used in its place. Cake crumbs are made in just the same way. The only thing to remember is that the cake must not contain any extra ingredients. It can be flavored, such as chocolate or vanilla, but it must not be frosted or include pieces of anything, or the crumb consistency will not be right in the end. On the plus side, the cake can be incredibly dry. In fact, the dryer, the better, as this will give you the ideal quality of cake crumbs in the end.

Once you have your cake crumbs, you can use them for a variety of things. Of course, the easiest way is to use it as a topping for ice cream or to decorate the sides and tops of the cake. However, there are far more creative ways to use it.

For example, you can use cake crumbs to make a pancake batter or as part of a crumble topping, or used as part of the batter when deep-frying. Additionally, when making pie crust, instead of using crushed graham crackers, try substituting cake crumbs. This will give you more control over the final flavor and add a unique twist to your next pie.

9. Cake Ice Cream

We have already discussed how leftover cake can be used to make a milkshake. But if you do that, you are going to have to eat the milkshake immediately. If you want an option that allows for a little more consumption time, why not use leftover cake as a mix-in for your next batch of ice cream?

Making ice cream at home is incredibly fun and allows the maker to use whatever flavor they want to create their perfect, flavorful treat. To use leftover cake in ice cream, simply follow the manufacturer's instructions on making ice cream. Then, when it comes time to add your mix-ins, add bite-sized pieces of leftover cake and allow it to disperse evenly throughout the ice cream. Any kind of cake will work well for these, even cake that has some frosting in it. For an extra level of panache, you can also mix in sprinkles or some kind of syrup. This will give you an even bigger punch of flavor and texture. The result will be a delicious ice cream treat that will let your cake last much longer in the freezer than it would have on the counter.

10. Deep-fried Cake

It's simple, everything tastes better deep-fried. We do not make the rules, but we challenge anybody to find a food that does not taste better deep-fried.

Funnel cake, as we all know, is a state fair staple but can be difficult and time-consuming to prepare at home. So instead, you can use pieces of leftover cake to create a similar, though not exactly the same, deep-fried treat.

For this, you will want a sturdier cake, something like pound cake, for example, as it will need to be able to hold up to all the handling, including being cut into cubes. The cubes can be deep-fried straight or dredged and coated in cornflakes or batter to suit your preference. The cubes should then be placed in at least one inch of hot oil and fried until they have a crispy golden brown outside. Once deep-fried, wait until the cake cubes are cool to eat. We recommended dipping them in jam or chocolate sauce for an additional sweet burst of flavor, or given a light dusting of powdered sugar for a classic sweetness reminiscent of traditional funnel cake.

11. Substitute Ladyfingers for Cake

A lot of recipes call for a thing called ladyfingers as part of their construction. Ladyfingers are miniature sponge cakes that are long and thin in shape, so they look like ladies' fingers (via Delighted Cooking). Unlike typical cakes, though, they are not moist. They are typically dryer and more closely resemble a cookie than a cake. This is exactly why using leftover cake, particularly stale cake, makes such a good substitute for ladyfingers.

Two prominent desserts that use ladyfingers in them are a charlotte, and tiramisu. A Charlotte typically consists of ladyfingers molded and filled with various creams and jams, depending on the recipe. For this, instead of going out and buying or making fresh ladyfingers, you can cut sponge cake into long thin strips to mimic the shape of ladyfingers. Because they are made from the same base, the taste of the final dessert will not be affected much.

For tiramisu, the substitute can be even easier. Tiramisu is typically made by layering ladyfingers soaked in coffee or espresso liquor, layered with a mascarpone filling, and topped with cocoa powder. If you're not making it for presentation, this means that you can use pieces of any size and shape, as long as, in the end, you have an even layer of cake. So use any leftover sponge cake you have, stale or not, since it will be soaked to create this decadent dessert.

12. Cake Crumb Cookies

If, at the end of this article, you are still left with leftover cake and you are not afraid of a bit of a project, we have the perfect thing for you: Cake Crumb Cookies. These are cookies that combine the best parts of cake and cookies into one delicious treat that will allow you to repurpose your leftover cake.

For this, you will need a cake without any fillings, frosting, or other added items in it. Any flavor of the cake should work, though. If the cake has frosting on it, simply scrape it off before starting. The cake will then be dried and crushed into a crumb-like substance, which will serve as the basis for your cookies. The cake crumbs and the rest of the ingredients will form a dough, which, when baked, produces a sweet cookie that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Now you will never again have to choose between two desserts. After all, the more dessert, the merrier.