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Cake mastery...

Anyone have some good recipes and tips for baking a nice, moist cake? My cakes always turn out dry and yucky...it's depressing...any help/tips/suggestions would be much appreciated!

Oh! And I'm new here and so far I love it! :D

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  1. Welcome to Chowhound.

    I would have to see the cake mix in question before I could tell how to increase the moisture.

    Is it possible that you may be over-baking it?

    A (flavored) simple syrup can be used to increase moisture, but it should never be a crutch for proper baking practice.

    1. This probably doesn't have anything to do with dryness, and I am not a baking expert, but I found when I started making cakes/cupcakes with actual cake flour and not all purpose they improved immensely. Much lighter and fluffier. It can be hard to find if you have not used it before--it is usually sold in smallish box rather than a bag (I find it under the brand softassilk). Good luck!

      1. Well, make sure you have the proper amount of wet ingredients in your recipe. Fat (melted butter), sugar (liquidfier once it's melted), and sometimes a quarter cup of boiling water would help too. Hope that helps. Good luck!

        1. I am new also...great site! I bake and sale cakes, which may not make me an expert, but I can give you a few tips. Your oven calibration may be off causing your cakes to bake at too high a temperature. You can check your oven temp with a oven thermometer, available at kitchen specialty stores. A too hot oven will cause your cake to be done before the time stated on the recipe. Also be careful not to overmix when you add the flour and wet ingredients..always add the flour first, then wet, ending with the flour. Only mix at low speed and just enough to blend the ingredients. On the other hand make sure you cream your sugar and butter/shortening adequately..usually about 3 to 5 minutes depending on your mixer. I find cakes that have something other than milk as the wet ingredient seem to turn out more moist. I like to use sour cream..this is just a personal preference though. Cakes such as the Hummingbird and Carrot Cakes use vegetable oil which also turn out a moist cake. Your problem is more than likely your oven temp..over-baking is a sure fire way to get a dry cake. Hope this helps!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Free110853

            Agreed. If your cakes are "always" dry, then I think it's more likely method than recipe. If you over-bake...the cake will be dry. Are you testing the cake, or simply relying on timing? Most cakes are done when they spring back when you slightly touch them, and a toothpick come out clean, or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. If you wait for the cake to pull away from the sides of the pan, it is already overbaked.

            I love it here, too!

          2. One more thing..on the baking..once you know your oven temperature is correct, make sure you check your cake at the shortest time stated on the recipe. Use a toothpick (for layer or sheet cakes) or a wooden skewer (for bundt, pound cakes, or layer cakes) to test doneness. The skewer should come out with moist crumbs attached, but not looking wet like the batter. Most cakes are done at the shortest time stated if the oven calibration is correct.

            1. I think a lot of people unfairly judge their homemade cakes against the cake mixes that so many of us grew up using. These mixes really produce uniformly moist cakes, but they are also full of synthetic flavors and stabilizers that compromise flavor.

              I certainly don't want a dry cake, but I've learned from experience to not expect a cake as moist as that produced from a commercial mix. Instead, I now appreciate the amazing flavor that a few pure ingredients will lend to a cake.

              As suggested above, a good place to begin is with oil-based cakes, which tend to be a lot moister. I've also had very good results when using souir cream

              1. In addition to double checking your oven calibration as mentioned above, you should consider the bakeware that you're using. Glass vs metal vs dark metal pans all conduct heat differently and could lead to you needing to decrease your baking time. Also, it takes a lot of practice to really know your oven well (hot spots, hot or cold, etc) so keep trying and make notes as you go. I have a relatively hot oven and I am always on the low end of time recommendations in recipes. I make a habit of checking my baked goods five minutes before the lowest recommended bake time.

                1. Be sure that all of your ingredients including eggs (just keep them in shell, in warm water for about 4 minutes) are at room temperature. Try to use your hands to mix. If not for the wet ingredients, then definitely for incorporating wet into dry. It's hard to over mix that way.
                  Rose Levy Baranbaum has a fantastic book called the cake bible, and her yellow cake, with very specific directions will bring tears to your eyes for how moist it is. fayefood.com

                  1. I was just going to suggest that you always weigh your flour for consistency. It's real easy to have too much flour if you're "scooping."

                    Then it occurred to me. Ol' AB. Here's a link.