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Easy Leftover Cake Bread Pudding Recipe

Do you have scraps of leftover cake? Transform the pieces into leftover cake bread pudding. You will love the entirely unique dessert the cake becomes.

The day I opened the freezer and mounds of zip-lock bags of leftover cake toppled out on me was the day I took action. What do you do when your freezer is bursting with leftover cake scraps? You make leftover cake bread pudding, of course.

Bread pudding made from cake odds and ends tastes completely different than the beautiful cake you started with. And isn’t that what you want? A unique dessert with new flavors? Absolutely.

Bowl of cake bread pudding with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Tasty Tips

  • Use cake scraps without frosting. The cake tops you cut off to make your cake level are great scraps to use. Leftover pound cake is good choice. It has a good structure, so it is easy to cube. Plus, it has an ideal texture to absorb liquid.

    If you only have cake with frosting, you can scrape it off and make bread pudding. Or better yet, make a different leftover cake recipe.
  • Thaw the cake. If the cake was in the freezer, thaw it first. The “bread” in traditional bread pudding is supposed to absorb the liquid. Frozen cake won’t be able to do that.
  • Dry the cake out. Cut the cake into cubes when they are frozen. Then lay the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet while they thaw and dry out. You want stale cake. This could take a couple of hours, so plan ahead.
  • Use botched cake. If you mess up a cake recipe, don’t throw it out. Maybe the cake didn’t rise, or it got overbaked. Using the entire cake to make bread pudding is a delicious option. It sure beats wasting the whole thing.

Ingredients

Ingredients for leftover cake bread pudding.

Cake

You need enough leftover cake to make about 3 cups. Any delicious cake will work. The type of cake isn’t as crucial as having whole scraps.

Cake crumbs don’t work very well in this recipe. If you have mostly crumbs, consider making cake pops or cake balls.

Custard Mixture

  • Milk. I prefer using 2% milk, but use any milk you like. Even nondairy. Try almond, soy, or coconut milk.
  • Butter. I used salted butter in this recipe without a problem, even though I usually bake with unsalted butter.
  • Whole eggs
  • White granulated sugar

Flavoring

Flavoring helps you change the original cake flavor into something brand new.

  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Add-Ins

Now the recipe becomes more of a classic bread pudding recipe.

  • Toasted pecans. You can use raw instead of toasted pecans. But toasted tastes so much better.
  • Dried cranberries. Use any dried fruit you like. Craisins, raisins, or currants.

Optional Drizzling Sauce

Sometimes I use it. Sometimes I don’t.

  • Brown sugar
  • Butter

Directions

This is an easy bread pudding recipe you will turn to again and again.

Prep the Cake

If the cake is frozen, pull it out of the freezer. It is a great idea to cube the cake when it is frozen.

Cake cubes drying out on a baking sheet.
  • Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes and lay them single file on a sheet pan. If frozen, give them an hour or more to come to room temperature.

    If you have time, leave the cake cubes out for several hours (overnight is best) so they get a bit stale.

Prep the Pecans

Toasted chopped pecans on a cutting board.
  • Preheat a skillet over medium heat until warm.
  • Add the pecans and cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes. The pecans should get toasty and smell fabulous.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let the nuts cool down until they can be handled.
  • Roughly chop them with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Set them aside until needed.

Prep the Custard Mixture

Steps to make leftover cake bread pudding. 1) Heating milk and butter in a saucepan. 2) Whisking eggs and sugar in a liquid measuring cup. 3) Cubed caked cubes in a bowl. 4) Cake cubes with custard sauce poured on top.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Place the dry cake cubes into a large mixing bowl.
  • Remove the eggs from the fridge and place them in a small bowl filled with warm water to quickly bring them to room temperature.
  • Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat until the butter is melted. The milk should get steamy but never come to a boil. Set aside.

    Note: Use the microwave if you prefer. Pour the milk and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Stir until the butter melts. If necessary, heat at 10-second intervals.
  • Combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract with a wire whip. Stir a couple of tablespoons of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it (so the egg doesn’t cook).
  • Sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Add the rest of the milk/butter combo and stir until combined.
  • Pour mixture into the dry cake cubes. Stir until a lot of the liquid is absorbed by the cake. Add the toasted pecans and dried fruit.
  • Let everything sit for 15 to 20 minutes for maximum moisture absorption.

    Note: Some excess liquid is fine when the pan goes into the oven. Too much liquid, and it will get soggy and taste eggy.

    If you have too much liquid for the amount of cake cubes, drain some off before baking it.

Bake

Two photos. One with raw cake bread pudding ready for the oven. The other is cake bread pudding finished baking.
  • Spread a thin layer of butter or shortening in an 8 X 8-inch casserole dish.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the bottom of a buttered baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The sweet dessert will look moist but not soggy when it is done. A toothpick stuck in the center will come out mostly clean. Don’t overbake, or it will taste dry.
  • Remove the cake bread pudding from the oven.

Make the Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce

While the dessert is baking, make the brown sugar sauce.

Closeup of leftover cake bread pudding with brown sugar caramel sauce.
  • Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture boils.
  • Turn the stove down to low heat and continue to cook until the sugar melts.
  • Take the pan off the burner and turn the stove off.
  • Drizzle the sauce on top of the bread pudding right after it comes out of the oven.
  • Cool for 5 minutes. Then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Best Variations

Plate of leftover cake bread pudding with vanilla sauce and sprinkles.
  • Sprinkles celebration cake. Next time, mix in a handful of sprinkles and a cup of marshmallows instead of nuts and dried fruit.

    Make a vanilla sauce by melting leftover vanilla icing. It is the perfect solution for leftover cake AND leftover frosting. It will make your sweet tooth sing.
  • Leftover chocolate cake bread pudding. Instead of pecans and Craisins, add chocolate chips, coconut, and toasted almonds. Drizzle with chocolate sauce. A little fancier, this is the Almond Joy variety. Yum and yum!

How to Store Cake Bread Pudding

Store leftover bread pudding covered in the refrigerator. It is moist and has too many ingredients that can attract mold growth. Keep it refrigerated for up to 1 week.

For longer storage, freeze it. But first, scoop it into a freezer-safe container. Freeze it for 3 to 4 months.

When you are ready to eat more, thaw it for several hours or overnight.

How to Reheat Cake Cube Bread Pudding

Bread pudding can be eaten cold. However, warming it up and eating it with cold ice cream is addicting.

  • Microwave. The easiest and quickest reheating choice is the microwave. Scoop out what you need and heat it for 30 to 45 seconds. Check it and reheat it in 10-second intervals if necessary.
  • Oven. If you have most of the pan to reheat, use the oven. Take the bread pudding out of the fridge for 20 minutes at least. Never put a cold pan in a hot oven, especially if it is glass. That is a recipe for a broken pan.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Heat the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the amount of dessert left.

FAQ

How is cake bread pudding different than regular bread pudding?

The most significant difference between cake and classic bread pudding is that cake cubes are used instead of bread cubes.

Traditional bread pudding uses leftover bread instead of leftover cake. Usually, stale bread is better than fresh bread because the bread pieces absorb the sauce better.

What can you do with broken cake?

Use broken cake to make leftover cake bread pudding. You could also make cake crumbs and use them as a layer in banana pudding in place of vanilla wafers.

More Leftover Cake Recipes

Good news! There are plenty of other creative ways you can use up leftover cake. Here are a few easy recipes.

  • Cake scrap French toast. Keep the cake pieces intact for this recipe. Cut the cake into 3-inch rectangles. Then batter, cook, and top with powdered sugar and sliced fresh fruit.
  • Cake shakes. Got more crumbs than whole pieces of cake? Then make a cake shake.

    Use a food processor to crumble all the leftover scraps. Throw vanilla ice cream and a splash of milk into a blender. Hand mix in some cake crumbles. Top it with whipped cream, and you will be in heaven.
  • Cake truffles. Truffles are a great way to use leftover cake slices, even if they have frosting. Make crumbs with a food processor. Moisten with a bit more frosting if necessary.

    Shape the truffles and dip them in melted white chocolate or candy melts. Sprinkle with gold sugar to make them sparkle. You’ll get rave reviews.

    Learn how to melt white chocolate in the microwave in this post. Or read up on all the ways to melt white chocolate chips.
  • Banana pudding. Leftover cake is a better way to layer banana pudding than a cookie crumb layer. Throw out the ‘nilla wafers and substitute vanilla cake crumbs in their place.

    Check out all the other substitutes for vanilla wafers in my post on the best cookies for banana pudding.

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Yield: 8 servings

Leftover Cake Bread Pudding

Bowl of cake bread pudding with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Do you have scraps of leftover cake? Transform the pieces into leftover cake bread pudding. You will love the entirely different dessert the cake becomes.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Rest Time 15 minutes
Bake Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 heaping cups of leftover cake without frosting, cubed
  • 1 cup of milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
  • pinch of table salt
  • ¼ cup of pecans, toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries or raisins

Brown Sugar Sauce

  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of salted butter

Instructions

  1. CUT the leftover cake into 1-inch cubes and lay them single file on a sheet pan. If they were frozen, give them an hour or more to come to room temperature. If you have time, leave the cake cubes out for several hours (overnight is best) so they get a bit stale.
  2. PREHEAT a skillet over medium heat until warm.
  3. ADD the pecans and cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
  4. COOK for about 5 minutes. The pecans should get toasty and smell fabulous.
  5. TAKE the pan from the heat and let the nuts cool down until they can be handled.
  6. ROUGHLY CHOP them with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Set them aside until needed.
  7. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  8. POUR the dry cake cubes into a large mixing bowl.
  9. REMOVE the eggs from the fridge and place them in a small bowl filled with warm water to quickly bring them to room temperature.
  10. HEAT the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat until the butter is melted. The milk should get steamy but never come to a boil. Set aside.

    Note
    : Use the microwave if you prefer. Pour the milk and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Stir until the butter melts. If necessary, heat again at 10-second intervals.
  11. COMBINE the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract with a wire whip. Stir a couple of tablespoons of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it (so the egg doesn't cook).
  12. SPRINKLE in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  13. ADD the rest of the milk/butter combo and stir until combined.
  14. POUR the mixture into the dry cake cubes. Stir until a lot of the liquid is absorbed by the cake. Add the toasted pecans and dried fruit.
  15. REST for 15 to 20 minutes for maximum moisture absorption.

    Note: Some excess liquid is fine when the pan goes into the oven. Too much liquid, and it will get soggy and taste eggy.

    If you have too much liquid for the amount of cake cubes, drain some off before baking it.
  16. SPREAD a thin layer of butter or shortening in an 8 X 8-inch casserole dish.
  17. POUR the cake mixture into the bottom of the dish.
  18. BAKE for 30 to 40 minutes. The sweet dessert will look moist but not soggy when it is done. A toothpick stuck in the center will come out mostly clean. Don’t overbake, or it will taste dry.
  19. MAKE the brown sugar sauce while the pudding is baking. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture boils.
  20. TURN the stove down to low heat and continue to cook until the sugar melts.
  21. REMOVE the pan from the burner and turn off the stove. Set aside.
  22. TAKE the cake bread pudding from the oven.
  23. DRIZZLE the sauce on top of the bread pudding right after it comes out of the oven.
  24. COOL for 5 minutes. Then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.







Notes

  • Thaw the cake. If the cake was in the freezer, thaw it first. The “bread” in traditional bread pudding is supposed to absorb the liquid. Frozen cake won’t be able to do that.
  • Use cake scraps without frosting. Cake with frosting will be too sweet in this dessert.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

½ cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 355Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 70mgSodium 198mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 1gSugar 41gProtein 3g

Nutrition information is an estimate only and may vary based on individual ingredients added and cooking methods used.


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