How to Get Moist Cakes

I’m going to share my greatest ideas for making moist cakes. It’s a frequently requested question of mine. How do I produce moist cakes? It is, after all, feasible to bake moist scratch cakes from scratch.

This question seems to be often asked. It’s a constant fight to get your cakes to come out wet and remain moist.

There are several methods to guarantee you have a moist cake and numerous ways to ensure you have a dry one. Let’s get started on how to make moist cakes.

First, I’ll address the elephant in the room: I’m aware that some people despise the term wet. They despise it and find the term repulsive. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not my favorite term. But I understand it. I can’t tolerate certain other terms.

I don’t have a specific term that I despise; rather, I despise clichés in general. I claim I despise clichés, yet I still find myself speaking them, and I hate myself for it. Anyway, I guess we’re all odd in our own way.

My point is, I’m sorry, but I’m going to use the term wet a lot in this blog article. I’m simply getting you ready. I’m using it since that’s the term most people use when they ask this question, and I’m not aware of an alternative. If you come up with one, please let me know.

If you prefer to study via video, there is one at the bottom of this page.

Mix vs. Scratch Cakes:

If you’ve been in the baking world for more than five minutes, you’re aware that the debate between mix cakes and scratch cakes is a heated one. I’m not going to go too into it.

I believe we are all adults who can make our own decisions about what we are comfortable utilizing and what our family, friends, or customers appreciate. I believe in live and let live (and all that jazz).

But I bring it up because, really, getting a moist scratch cake is more difficult than getting a moist cake mix cake. Obviously, this is due to the addition of ingredients to the box cake mix. I don’t believe many people have an issue with dry cake mix cakes.

If you do, you are most likely overbaking it, or you have a terrible brand. The whole point of the box mix is to produce a uniform final result that is moist and fluffy.

I believe the issue manifests itself when individuals begin preparing homemade cakes. I’ll just declare right now that I adore homemade cakes. If you’ve read my About Page, you’ll know that while I was growing up, my mother and her business partner catered weddings.

I’ve eaten so much homemade cake it’s ridiculous. No matter what you do to that box mix, I can tell the difference between a scratch cake and a mix cake.

Now, I understand that most people can’t tell and haven’t had much experience with homemade cake, and that’s just great; there’s no judgment here. I’m not a snob about it, and I DO use box mixes on occasion; nonetheless, my preference is for a homemade cake.

My argument is that a moist homemade cake IS doable. Will it taste like a boxed cake mix? No. Is that what you want? No. Use them if your family or clients enjoy them and they work for you! Stop stressing about it.

I understand if you truly want to learn to make cakes from scratch but are unhappy with what you’ve attempted so far. There are many scratch cake recipes that turn out dry, and there are many more occasions when we are the cause.

Now let’s get down to business. These recommendations apply to either a box mix or a scratch cake, but I’m focusing on scratch cakes since that’s where folks seem to be having the most trouble. By the way, they are in no particular sequence since they are all really significant.

Tip #1:

Check your butteris it actually real butter?

If you’re using butter in a recipe, be sure it’s at room temperature and not too hot. Also, I ask whether it’s genuine butter since a lot of people purchase margarine sticks believing they’re butter because the label says “great for baking.” No, no, no, just a few additional bucks and you’ll receive genuine butter.

Margarine contains much too much water, which can distort the texture of your cake. I swear it’s worth it to use genuine butter.

Tip #2:

Do you have too much flour? How do you weigh your flour?

Don’t take your measuring cup and plunge it into your flour bag to measure it. You’re effectively packing down the flour, which will cause your measurements to be incorrect.

Use one smaller measuring cup as a scoop, then spoon the contents into the bigger measuring cup. Alternatively, take a big tablespoon and scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Then, if necessary, level the top. This method ensures that you will not be adding extra flour to your cake mix.

More information on how to correctly measure cake ingredients may be found in this page.

Tip #3:

A recipe with solely egg whites may be dryer at times. Don’t holler at me because I didn’t mention ALL of them, but egg whites are drying, therefore certain recipes using just egg whites may not be as moist as those with egg yolks.

Now, adding egg yolks will limit the cake from being totally white, so you’ll have to evaluate your options there. If a recipe asks for just egg whites, you may cut the quantity in half and substitute whole eggs. In general, if a recipe asks for six egg whites, use three whole eggs, and vice versa.

That will not work in all cake recipes. For example, if a recipe instructs you to whisk the egg whites until firm before folding them into the batter, using whole eggs will not work. In this case, use your best judgment.

Tip #4:

Are you baking it too long? Vanilla cakes seem to be the most difficult to maintain moist, and you must closely monitor the baking time on them. I usually take them out of the oven a few minutes before they’re done.

I have a whole article dedicated to determining whether or not your cake is done. That may be found here.

Tip #5:

Did you over-mix the batter, or did you combine it differently than the recipe instructed?

Scratch cakes are not the same as cake mix cakes. You can’t just throw it all in a bowl and expect it to be great. That will not work.

Cake recipes use various mixing procedures for a purpose. There is considerable science to it, and various substances mixed in different ways produce varied outcomes. (Perhaps that was a little confused.)

The next step is to avoid mixing the scratch cake batter until it is totally smooth. The consistency of the batter will alter if you over-mix it. You might end up with a flat cake, a gummy cake, a cake with glue-like streaks, or a cake that is compact and excessively dense.

All of these items will disrupt the cake’s moisture and texture. Do you want to know how long it takes to prepare a cake batter in real time? You may see a post about it with a real-time video on how to mix cake batter here.

Tip #6:

It isn’t always something you did. It might very well be the recipe. However, I advise you not to immediately blame it on the recipe. Scratch cakes may be delicate, so carefully examine your measurements; if you omitted any components, do you believe you over-mixed it, or combined it differently than the recipe asked for?

Don’t simply assume it’s the recipe straight away. If you look back and you know you were extra cautious to follow the directions to the letter and didn’t make any substitutions, you may have a recipe that simply doesn’t work for you.

Tip #7:

Accept sour cream. If you’ve seen any of my recipes, you’ll know I’m a sucker for sour cream. It just transforms the texture of the cake. It makes a huge difference in the moistness of a cake, in my opinion.

Don’t simply throw some sour cream into a cake recipe. That might go wrong because you can mix up the components. Find recipes that call for sour cream, or substitute sour cream for a portion of the liquid asked for in the recipe. This is difficult since the ratios in cake recipes are highly specific, so keep that in mind before you begin.

Here’s my favorite sour cream-based scratch cake recipe: Vanilla Bean Cake is my favorite.

Tip #8:

Oil cakes seem to be moister. One example is the Hershey’s Cocoa cake. It’s produced with oil and is quite wet.

Many fruit cakes, such as banana cake, apple cake, and even zucchini and carrot cakes, are cooked with oil and are very moist. But (didn’t you know there’d be a but?) those cakes with a lot of oil contain either strong tastes like chocolate or fruit in them like apple, zucchini, and carrot. In my view, using 100% oil instead of butter in a vanilla cake simply doesn’t work as well.

My point is that although oil cakes are wonderfully moist, be cautious when substituting ingredients. Oil and butter cannot be substituted evenly. If you’ve tried the recipe a few times and it continues failing, it’s possible that it’s not the recipe for you.

Try another, but be careful not to go too far down the rabbit hole of substituting components. Also, don’t substitute oil for butter in a vanilla cake, for the love of Betsy.

Maybe you already have a fantastic vanilla cake recipe that calls for oil, but I’ve never tried an all-oil vanilla cake that could compete with a butter vanilla cake. That’s all I’ve got.

Tip #9:

Some individuals use simple syrup to coat the layers of their cake. I dont. I’m not against it; I simply don’t see a need for it. Some others, though, swear by it. Yolanda from How to Cake It, I believe, is the queen of simple syrup. You can get her recipe and instructions for using it here. Yolanda Gampp’s Easy Syrup

Tip #10:

Is your cake really dry, or merely cold? I know I’m not trying to be a smart-@$$, but I’ve heard of this occurring. I sometimes visit cake forums, and customers actually do eat the cake straight out of the fridge. They believe the cake is dry, but it only has to be brought closer to room temperature.

Butter cakes are infamous for stiffening somewhat in the fridge. When they come back to room temperature, most of them are just as moist as when they were cooked. (Of course, you’ll want to keep your cake in the fridge.)

Personally, I do not chill my cakes. If your cake contains perishable frosting or filling, it must be refrigerated; however, using ordinary American buttercream does not need refrigeration. More on why I don’t normally refrigerate my cakes may be found here.


A Quick Note about Dry Cupcakes:

Many of the same principles that we discussed before apply to cupcakes. Cupcakes, on the other hand, tend to dry up considerably faster than cake due to their tiny size. If your cupcakes are drying out on you, check out my blog article where I share my tips: Prevent Cupcakes from Drying

Final thoughts:

Okay, now that you’ve gone through all of my ideas (plus a little grumbling here and there), I’m going to throw you a challenge. If you’re new to making cakes from scratch, your task is to attempt one.

I often tell folks that it isn’t that different.You’re still simply following orders.

I dare you to follow the recipe exactly without substituting anything or altering the mixing process. If the recipe instructs you to have all of the ingredients at room temperature, do so. Don’t put them in the microwave to melt them all down. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

Here are three recipes to try (I mentioned these before, but they’re worth repeating): Vanilla Bean Cake, Moist White Cake, and Chocolate Butter Cake are all favorites.

These are made from scratch. The vanilla cake has an unusual mixing process, but don’t let that deter you. Simply follow the recommendations and don’t over-beat your batter. That recipe has been tried and tested, so if it isn’t working for you, something is wrong. If that occurs, I want you to contact me and we’ll figure out what’s wrong. You can do it!

After you’ve mastered the cake, go on to the buttercream. You may have perfected the cake, but buttercream is proving difficult. I have a whole article devoted to making smooth buttercream. It is available here: How to Make Silky Buttercream

You may also find my vanilla buttercream recipe here: Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Want to see my tips in video format? Here ya go:


What causes a cake not to be moist?

The moisture level of a cake is determined by the ratio of wet to dry components. A cake will taste dry if there is just too much flour and not enough butter. A cake, on the other hand, will taste overly moist if there is too much milk and not enough flour. Finding the appropriate proportion of moist and dry materials is critical.

Is water or milk better for moist cake?

When your box mix specifies for liquid, add MILK, not water. The milk gives your combination solidity, fat, and, most importantly, taste. WHITES: Leaving out the yolks makes the cake fluffy and whiter!

How do you moisten a birthday cake?

Make a cake soak: A cake soak may be made using simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), evaporated milk, buttermilk, or liqueur. Make holes in the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Then, wipe the liquid over the surface of the cake layers with a pastry brush to wet the cake.

Does oil make a cake more moist?

Because oil stays liquid at room temperature whereas butter hardens, vegetable oil delivers moisture significantly more consistently. Because liquid adds to the impression of moistness, cakes produced with oil frequently seem moister than their butter-based equivalents.

Why do bakers soak cakes?

A cake soak is a simple procedure pastry chefs use to flavor a cake, moisten a dry cake, and keep a cake exceptionally wet. Cake soak is a basic syrup that may be flavored in a number of ways and is applied to cooked cakes.

Does sour cream make cake moist?

Baking with Sour Cream: The creamy texture of sour cream keeps baked products moister than milk. Sour cream is a wonderful alternative for recipes that are known to produce drier outcomes, such as sponge cakes.

Does refrigerating cake dry it out?

After a day in the fridge, your wonderfully moist cake, no matter how properly wrapped, will begin to dry out.

What temperature do you bake a cake?

The majority of cakes are baked at 350°F. To make a flat-topped cake, just reduce the temperature to 325°F.

Can I put an extra egg in cake mix?

Include an Extra Egg

The majority of cake mixes ask for two to three eggs. Just one additional egg will provide moisture, fat, and protein, making the cake softer and less prone to overbake and dry out in the oven.

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