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How Long Does Almond Paste Last?
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Q. I am planning on using almond paste with royal icing for my daughter's wedding cake. My question is how long can I hold it? Next week I will be traveling to another city and need to hold it for 6 days before use. Do I need to refrigerate it? I am concerned about mold. The cake is a Chocolate Cherry Rum Cake which has been soaked in rum for two weeks.

A. Are we talking about the cake or the just the almond paste? In either case, it doesn't matter. The practice of covering cakes with a layer of sugarpaste (fondant) or almond paste originated, not for decoration, but to help preserve the cakes. It would be pretty sad if the preservative (the almond paste) needed lots of attention to keep it fresh. It will keep out of the refrigerator for at least a week. Refrigerated, it should stay fresh for a month. In fact, some recipes we've seen for almond paste want you to let it "ripen" at room temperature for a week before you use it. So you should be right on track for your daughter's wedding.

Do keep the almond paste dry though, wrapped tightly in plastic. If it's hard to work with when you're ready to decorate the cake, knead it by hand or in a mixer with a little corn syrup or rose water, a traditional flavoring for almond paste.

And from the sound of it, that cake will outlast most of the cars currently on the road — although it's so delicious, we're sure, that it will be gobbled up at the reception.

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