What To Do with Leftover Cake

Because most cakes rise in the middle, you often get a pesky dome that needs to be trimmed off, which creates cake scraps.

What to Do with Leftover Cake
Imagine working in a bakery that makes hundreds or thousands of cakes daily, how much leftover cake tops accumulate. As a pastry chef, I have dealt with mountains of cake scraps. Here are five ways I have learned to reuse them effectively.

#1 Make Cake Sand How to Make Edible Sand with Leftover Cake

 Cake sand is a delightfully crunchy and toasty garnish.  What to Do with Leftover Cake

It is my favorite way to use cake tops because it smells and tastes so good.

What to Do with Leftover Cake

It may be used may be used as edible ‘dirt’ or beach sand as garnish for modeling chocolate seashells on a beach themed cake.

Gingerbread House Cookie Sandcastle

Above, cake sand was used to garnish my giant sandcastle gingerbread house. Below, cake sand was used to garnish a spring-themed daffodil cake.

What to Do with Leftover Cake

It may also be used to cover the sides of glazed or frosted cakes. It will stick to buttercream frosting, chocolate glaze, or melted chocolate. Below, I used red velvet cake sand to garnish the sides of a Halloween spider cake.

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Toasted cake sand may also be used like cookies or graham crackers to make the crust for items like cheesecake.

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Above (left) are heart-shaped chocolate cherry cheesecakes and (right) individual chocolate cherry cheesecakes that used chocolate cake crumbs for the crust. You can watch a video about how these cakes were made here: Valentines Day Cake Designs.

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Cake Sand Recipe

How to Make Edible Sand with Leftover Cake

To make cake sand, break the cake tops up into crumbles and spread them out on parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Toast them gently in a 250° oven for 2-4 hours. The object is to completely dry out the cake without browning it further. While baking, toss the cake crumbles periodically to expose all sides in the oven. Bake until the cake is dry with no more moist chunks. Allow it too cool then run it in a food processor until the desired consistency is achieved.

What to Do with Leftover Cake
Store cake sand in a well-sealed bag or container in a cool, dry place like the pantry. Cake sand can last for weeks if stored correctly.

#2 Make Second Generation Cake

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Cake tops may be thrown into cake batter and re-baked into newer cakes. The average cake formula can tolerate the addition of 5-10% already-baked cake. Crumble the cake up into very small pieces and throw them into the batter early on. Add a dash of extra liquid (water or milk or buttermilk, whatever the recipe calls for) to balance out the added dry ingredient. For delicate batters, first pass the cake through a sieve to yield a finer texture. This technique is not recommended for chiffon or angel food cake. Remember to account for the added volume of batter in terms of yield.

#3 Make Trifle

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Make trifle with fresh fruit, cream, and leftover cake tops.

#4 Freeze for Later

What to Do with Leftover Cake

Freeze cake tops in zipper bags as they may come in handy for any 3D sculpted cake project that requires an extra slab of cake.

#5 Make Cake Pops

What to Do with Leftover Cake I know a lot of people go out of their way to make cake pops now but originally, the cake pop was designed as a way to use up leftover cake.

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What To Do with Leftover Cake — 30 Comments

  1. I’ve used leftover cake and cookies in bread pudding. Use less sugar and less bread. It seems to make the bread pudding more dense. Which is how I like it. Thanks for the great ideas.

  2. I have searched, on and off, for five years for a recipe for no bake peanut butter brownies. These were sold by a local bakery for years and she would not turn loose of the recipe. The brownie was yellow cake crumbs and peanut butter but I don’t know what else. The icing was a combo of butterscotch and milk chocolate chips. I can find similar recipes with graham crackers but that’s not the same. Have you seen a recipe?

    • In a mixer bowl with paddle, you need one dozen leftover glazed donuts. On low just break them up to 1/2 inch pieces. Add 15oz jar peanut butter (smooth or creamy is your choice). Blend to whatever consistency you want. Press into a pan. Frost with a good thick chocolate frosting. Always used the chocolate donut icing available before. Hope this helps you find what you’re looking for!

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  4. Great ideas! I made a double decker ice cream cake with 3 crowns that were left over. It ended up looking like an overgrown oreo cookie 🙂

  5. I make a tweed cake with crumbled chocolate cake scraps(no need to dry them) Mix them into white or yellow cake.It looks tweedy and is unusual. Also you can put soft chocolate cake scraps into brownies and they just sort of dissappear, but make more batter. Any flavor cake scraps can be used to make cake crumb cookies. The recipe is online.

  6. We have a lot of hungry back yard critters: deer, birds, squirrels, sand hill cranes, raccoons, ducks and probably some more, that all enjoy leftover cake! They are beautiful to watch, along with my butterflies & humming birds. I give them a treat once in a while & they don’t bother me!

  7. Hi
    Cake Boss program showed that they use left over cake as the topping in their “Crumb Cake” but did not give the recipe. Anyone know how it is made?
    Please see below one of my recent cakes

      • Thanks that’s great. I will give it a try tomorrow and let you know what it tastes like. Baked all my crumbs crunchy today as per your recipe so will also try and use them in cheesecake tomorrow. Never thought of that one so thanks for that too. There are only so many cake pops that you can make after all! Glad you liked my cake, all my cakes are chocolate too – I am in the uk so not competition to your work. Check out my facebook page if you like. FUNTASIA AMMANFORD regards Amanda

  8. How do your store your cake sand? You said it can keep up to a year but is that unrefrigerated and on a pantry shelf…or do you stick it in the freezer? I would think the freezer might add unnecessary moistness.

    • I store it at room temp in sealed freezer bags within sealed plastic containers. When I made it in large quantities at a bakery, I would store it in sealed buckets. Always hold it at room temperature (out of sunlight) like in a pantry as you are right that the freezer would add unnecessary moisture.

  9. Have done cake pops. Like the idea of sand and crust. Freezer getting full. Thank you for the post. 🙂

  10. Thank you, gonna try rebaking. I just freeze leftovers, but am running out of space in my freezer.

  11. Wow, you’re a genius!!!! I freeze some left overs, but I never imagine you could re-bake! so, does it add consistency to your recipe? or volume? I’m gonna have to experiment with that since I really hate to waste so much delicious cake scraps.
    Thanks youuuuuu—love your blog btw 🙂