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3 clever ways to use up leftover cake

That is, if you ever have any…

I know, leftover cake sounds like an oxymoron, but just a few weeks ago I found myself in the surprising position of having baked a lemon pound cake that turned out terribly. It was so bad, in fact, that my family barely choked down their pieces, most didn't even finish, and the rest of the cake sat covered on the counter for a week without anyone touching it. Considering all the butter (and other ingredients) that had gone into it, I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, so finally I turned to that font of wisdom, Google, for advice.

1. Make cookies

“Turn it into biscotti,” I read, and immediately I felt a stirring of hope. Yes, that could work. I followed vague directions that a commenter had left on a lemon pound cake recipe on the Kitchn:

“When (or if) the lemon pound cake gets a little stale, I cut it into biscotti-sized wedges and bake it in my toaster oven on a low temperature (turning as needed) until it becomes a lovely lemon biscotti treat. You can bake it for as long as you wish. The longer it bakes the harder and more crunchy and biscotti-like.”

I baked mine in a low oven (300F) for about 20 minutes, flipping once in the middle, until it was dry and starting to harden. The result was wonderful lemony biscotti that went well with both tea and coffee, and kept well in a glass jar on my counter.

2. Fry it

If biscotti isn't your preference, then you can also pan-fry leftover cake to freshen it up. This suggestion comes from Serious Eats and it describes a concoction that sounds like a luxe version of French toast. Its test kitchen used stale angel food cake, but I'm sure pound cake would work here, too:

“Melt a generous slice of butter, lay your cake slice(s) down, and wait until they've developed a thick, brown crust on both sides. Slide the cake out of the pan, and finish it with a glug of maple syrup and — if you'd like — a pinch of salt.”

3. Make new cake

Last but not least, did you know you can add old cake to new cake batter? It sounds crazy, but apparently it works if you crumble the stale cake finely enough, add it early in the mixing process with enough liquid to soften it, and don't let it amount to more than 10 percent of the total batter. Wicked Goodies baking blog recommends, “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.”

I realize that leftover cake is not a crucial global issue, but food waste certainly is, which is why we at TreeHugger are big fans of any clever food-saving tips. Feel free to share your cake-salvaging tactics in the comments below.

That is, if you ever have any…