Time to Bake! Have you ever wondered how to create moist cakes or cake moister? You’re in right place–the secret to moist cake lies in the bakery methods and secret ingredients that I’ve been perfecting with my bakery recipes for over a decade!
- 1. Use Buttermilk Instead of Milk
- 2. Add Vegetable Oil
- 3. Use Instant Clearjel or Instant Pudding Mix
- 4. Use the Right Recipe
- 5. Don’t Overbake
- 6. Instead of separate cake pans, bake in sheet pans.
- 7. Use a Simple Syrup or Glaze
Let we now discuss cake. When you think of a delicious made-from-scratch cake, it should be dense and yet soft, with a moist, tender crumb.
A homemade cake has a substantially different texture than a store-bought cake or a cake mix cake (which is more light and airy and typically not as moist.) I’m not against grocery store or cake mix cakes. Isn’t any cake better than no cake?
But our goal here today is to make the most delicious, moistest cake that stays moist for days and has your guests raving at every bite. This is what Amycakes Bakery was renowned for.
With these 7 easy steps, you can make delicious, bakery-quality cakes at home.
1. Use Buttermilk Instead of Milk
When I look at a cake recipe, I know it will be moister if buttermilk is included as an ingredient.
In fact, I’m dubious of cake recipes that call for milk instead, and I often substitute buttermilk in these circumstances. (Be forewarned, simply substituting may not always give you perfect results as other ingredients like baking soda could be affected and change the rise of your cake when switching to buttermilk. On #4, I go into greater detail on recipe altering).
Buttermilk is an acidic ingredient that aids in the breakdown of gluten in baking and results in a more soft cake. As a flavor bonus, the slight tang of buttermilk compliments the overall sweetness in your cake batter, making a more balanced cake.
2. Add Vegetable Oil
Although butter gives the finest taste, vegetable oil keeps your cakes moist. I use a combination of salted butter and vegetable oil in all my cake recipes to get the most flavorful and moistest results.
At normal temperature, vegetable oil remains liquid, while butter solidifies. That’s why you’ll notice that cakes made with vegetable oil will have a softer texture at all temperatures, even straight from the fridge.
3. Use Instant Clearjel or Instant Pudding Mix
Instant Clearjel, which is “modified cornstarch,” is a starch that allows your cakes to retain more moisture. Since it includes Instant Clearjel as the second component, Instant Pudding mix is an excellent replacement.
I suggest watching Adam Ragusea’s fascinating film on the science of pudding mix and Instant Clearjel in cakes. I love this ingredient so much that I wrote a whole article on it: Instant Clearjel: A Magical Little-Known Bakery Ingredient.
4. Use the Right Recipe
I know, I know, it’s hard to predict what’s a good recipe before testing it out. I recommend looking through cake recipes and selecting one that already includes buttermilk and/or vegetable oil.
But because baking is a science, you may not be able to simply substitute in the above suggestions and be guaranteed a great recipe. (But, if you don’t mind some trial and error, it’s a terrific place to start).
When I adjust recipes, I prefer to start by making the smallest batch feasible to evaluate the quality (typically a 14 or 18 of a dish).
If I’m pleased with the outcome, I’ll recreate it on a bigger size. Or, just check out my Extra-Moist Cake Recipes that I’ve been perfecting over the past 11.5 years.
5. Don’t Overbake
Although this may seem apparent, it really necessitates a few measures to guarantee that you never overbake a cake:
- Bake at a lower temperature and double-check the temperature. . In my home oven, I bake my cakes at either 300 degrees or 325 degrees, depending on the cake. For cupcakes, I’ll start baking at 350 degrees but turn the temperature down after they rise.If you’ve ever felt like your oven takes a lot longer or much less time than what is recommended on a recipe, test it with an oven thermometer. These inexpensive instruments can tell you whether you need to change the dials on your oven to achieve the proper baking temperature.
- While I was packing, I thought my new home oven was baking things SO QUICK! I used my oven thermometer to compare both my previous and new residential oven, and my old oven was the one baking 25 degrees under!I now use the thermometer every time I bake to ensure that the recipes I provide with my readers are correct.
- Place your cake pan(s) on the center or top rack at all times. Once the oven is preheated, most residential ovens will heat only from the bottom of the oven. The upper heat components, on the other hand, will stay hot.If you place your cakes too near to the bottom heating elements, they will bake quicker, with a darker bottom and crispier edge. If you do bake on the top rack, just make sure you have plenty of room for the cake to rise and that it’s not too close to the top heating elements.
I’ve discovered that baking on the top rack, which is about 6-7 inches below the top of the oven, yields the greatest results.
- Check your cake often to see if it is done. Cake recipes normally provide a time range for baking, but even with an oven thermometer, every oven bakes differently. When I’m trying out a new recipe, I start checking the cake at least 5 minutes BEFORE the first portion of the time range.Then depending on how the cake feels, I’ll continue to check and see if the cake is done in 5,4,3,2, or even 1-minute increments until I get the perfect bake. This guarantees that the cake is never overbaked.
- After you’ve tried a recipe a few times, make a note of the baking time on your recipe so you don’t have to check it as often the following time. Even with tried-and-true recipes, I suggest checking on the cake before the time specified, since many circumstances (such as the number of pans in the oven) might impact cooking time.
- When a toothpick or thin paring knife is inserted into the cake, it should come out clean. quickly stuck in the cake (if you move too slowly while sticking the cake, your toothpick or paring knife may gather crumbs and you would assume it isn’t done when it is).You may also softly push your finger on the top of the cake, and it should bounce back rather than sink.
6. Bake in Sheet Pans Instead of individual Cake Pans
Most of my cake recipes are baked in a half sheet pan and then cut out using cake rings with what I call the Cut & Stack Method. This sped up the baking and icing processes at Amycakes Bakery while also ensuring moist cakes every time.
A similar approach was initially seen in pastry chef Christina Tosi’s book Momofuku Milk Bar. (Here’s a video of Christina Tosi’s cake stacking process, although we used larger pans and cut and stacked our cakes a bit differently at my bakery without the need for acetate sheets.)
You can view our bakery method in my tutorial How to Bake and Layer Cakes Like a Pro. This strategy appeals to me because of its adaptability.
You may bake the cake in the same cake pan each time and then select whether to produce an 8-inch cake, two 6-inch cakes, multiple little cakes, or an extra-tall 6-inch cake, etc.
Another reason I do this is to avoid getting browned, darker, or crispy edges. You may have observed this on smaller individual pan cakes: As you get to the edge of the cake that has the delicious frosting, the cake starts to get a little darker, drier, and simply not as delicious.
The Cut and Stack method means your finished cake will have NO dark edges! Every mouthful contains just delicious and delicate cake.
Do you have merely individual pans or are you making a naked cake? No worries; you may get the same soft edges by baking more layers with less batter in each pan. For instance, 4 round cake pans with one inch of cake batter in each pan will bake faster and more evenly than 2 round cake pans with 2 inches of batter in each pan.
7. Use a Simple Syrup or Glaze
Simple syrup will not moisten a dry cake (it may just make it soggy). But if your cake is already moist from using the steps above, simple syrup is the last step to seal in all your hard work and ensure it stays moist even longer.
In truth, simple syrup is quite easy. Just combine equal parts water and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the sugar is completely dissolved, swirling often between heats. I use a silicone pastry brush (no risk of lost pastry brush hairs with silicone brushes) to lightly brush a thin layer of simple syrup on the top of all my cakes.
Certain cake tastes may benefit from a flavored glaze rather than a basic syrup. For instance, my Lemon Cream Cake has a lemon glaze made with lemon juice and powdered sugar, and my Coconut Cream cake has Cream of Coconut drizzled on top.
Flavored glazes allow you to add moisture and taste all at the same time!
Now you’re ready to get to baking an incredibly moist cake–let me know how it turns out! If you want to try my extra moist cake and bakery recipes, come back soon or sign up for my Newsletter to get a weekly email when new recipes are available.
What is the best way to add moisture to cake?
5 Ways to Moisten a Dry Cake That’s Already Baked
- Glaze with a basic syrup glaze. Velez recommends adding a simple syrup glaze to your cake layers if they end up coming out too dry.
- Soak your cake in milk.
- Fill the cake with mousse or jam.
- Frost the cake.
- Stick it in the fridge.
What can I add to cake mix to make it moist?
Add Milk, Coffee, or Soda
Boxed cakes often call for water, but swapping it out for equal amounts of milk, coffee, or even soda will give you a moister, more tender, and flavorful cake. You may use whole milk or your preferred nondairy milk in place of the white cake mix.
Is there a way to moisten a cake?
Formulate a cake soak: You can make a cake soak using simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), evaporated milk, buttermilk, or a liqueur. Make holes in the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Next, wipe the liquid over the surface of the cake layers with a pastry brush to wet the cake.
What is the secret to a moist cake?
7 Secrets of Making A Moist Cake
- Combine butter and flour. Mixing butter into the flour before adding any kind of wet ingredients will reduce the chances of gluten formation in it.
- Do Not Over Bake.
- Measure the Ingredients Carefully.
- Brush the Cake with Syrup.
- Avoid Overmixing.
- Do Not Avoid the Importance of Sugar.
- Use Yogurt.