(This page contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
For years, I’ve been trying to master my baking skills. After trying several recipes, I found things that worked and didn’t work.
One goal that I would always try to reach was making my cakes moist and I mean super moist. Nobody likes a cake that’s very hard to eat because it’s so dry and you actually need a cup of milk in order to finish that one slice of cake.
As a child hearing my parents say things like, “that cake was dry” didn’t really mean anything until I started making cakes as an adult and I realized that dry cakes are definitely a no go. So what I’m gonna do is show you guys what I found over the course of the years that worked for me when it comes to making my cakes moist. Now I’m no expert at this but I just found a couple of things that worked and hopefully they will work for you as well.
Using Fully Fat Milk or Buttermilk: Buttermilk has been a long time key ingredient to making cakes rise while providing a moist texture. Buttermilk is acidic and because of it acidity it helps to break down long strands of gluten keeping your cakes tender and moist.
Using 4 eggs: In most of my recipes, I will use 4 eggs in the cake batter. Adding a fourth egg will increase the density and moisture to your cakes.
Adding Pudding to the mix: Using pudding in cake batter always adds moisture to your cake. It will also give your cake a unique flavor as well. When using pudding, I will only add one small box to the cake batter. It works great for cakes from scratch and box mix as well. It will also help your cakes to have a very soft texture as well.
Not over-mixing the batter: With anything that you’re making, it’s best to fully follow the recipe to the tee. I know sometimes it may not seem like a big deal mixing your cake batter over the time specified in the recipe, but I had to learn this the hard way.
The first time that I made a cake from scratch, I mixed it over 1 minute which is not what the recipe specified. I saw that the cake mix still has a few lumps in it and I mixed it a little longer trying to get the lumps out. I thought I knew what I was doing, but as you can see here that I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT! The cake came out dry and at that time I didn’t know anything about simple syrup.
This cake was so dry that I don’t think simple syrup would have brought it back to life. So I tried that same recipe over again and did exactly what the recipe said to do and it came out pretty well and MOIST. Over mixing your cake can cause your cake to not rise as high causing it to be very dense with less air pockets.
Adding sour cream: The first time that I tried using sour cream in a cake batter, I was a little uneasy about it. But it is actually the best ingredient for giving your cakes that moist texture without altering the taste. Usually one cup is best to add to your recipe and it will thicken up your cake batter, in return giving your cake moisture.
Baking the cake on 325 Degrees:
The recommended temperature to bake can on is 350 degrees. But what I realized is that if your oven has a different temperature setting at 350 degrees you could actually scorch your cake. My oven happened to be in that category. So what I did was played with the temperatures and found that 325 degrees evenly baked my cakes so that way they were light golden brown on the edges and bottom as well.
By baking it at 325 degrees, I also noticed that my cakes were super moist on the inside after they cool down. You can always know that your cake is moist if it’s light golden brown on the outside. So I recommend baking your cakes at a low temperature so that way it bakes slowly and does not burn.
Freezing your cake:
Some people believe that freezing cakes take away the freshness of a cake. But in actuality it helps to lock in all the freshness of your cake from the day that it was baked.
I like to allow my cakes to cool off for 30 minutes and after 30 minutes I will wrap them in cling wrap and place them into the freezer to store.
This helps to lock in all of the moisture, trapping the heat of the cake allowing it to soak into the cake, making the cake moist. I’ve done this for several cakes especially chocolate cakes and they just melt in your mouth. The cake is just so good that you can eat it by itself without any icing because it makes the cake very soft.
Freezing your cakes also enhance the flavor of the cake as well. I believe that since the moisture is locked in from the plastic wrap that the actual flavor is much stronger. I noticed this one time when I made a red velvet cake and it tasted really chocolatey than it did the day that I baked it.
Adding Simple Syrup:
Simple syrup is a great way to add moisture to your cakes. I love that you can add flavorings to your simple syrup to give the cake a little extra boost of flavor. Simple syrup is very easy to make. It basically consists of mixing together equally parts of water and sugar together in a small pot.
After mixing the sugar and water together you can add 1 teaspoon of flavoring to the simple syrup. While the temperature is on low, constantly stir the simple syrup until the sugar has completely dissolved into the water.
After the sugar has dissolved into the water, add it to a medium-sized measuring cup so that it will cool down.
Once the simple syrup has cooled down, you can then add it into a bottle so that you can spray it onto the cake. Be careful not to spray too much because it cause your cake to become mushy. It’s best to add the simple syrup to your cakes in the process of crumb coating them.
Trying these Tips:
All of these tips are tried and true. Over the years, I have been practicing and practicing, trying to master my backing skills and I have found that all of these tips work well together. I’m not saying that you will have the perfect cake, but it sure will come out pretty good. I hope you will try using these tips because they will definitely help you to grow as a baker too.