The most prized feature of cakes and cupcakes is moistness. It can really make or break a cake, even one that otherwise has an excellent flavour and taste. It is also a sticking point for many home bakers who find their cakes turning out to be too dry or dense, rather than tender and moist.
Moistness is not the definitely not the same as being “wet.” Wet would mean that the cake is undercooked. The wet cake would have a molten cake-batter filling. Moist cakes are a symbol of fresh and good cakes. In general, baked goods get their moisture from liquid or wet ingredients and retain it best when fat and sugar are present, as both tend to hold on to moisture and prevent it from slowly leaving the cake.
Unfortunately, there is no one magical secret to getting a moist cake every time you bake a cake. However, it is possible to get a moist cake every time you bake. You simply need two things: a good recipe and to not to overbake the cake. The best moist cake recipe may come along after many trial-and-errors or through recommendations from friends and family. Not overbaking the cake requires a good oven thermometer so that you can regulate the temperature your cake bakes at (and lengthen or shorten baking time accordingly) and a willingness to check a cake for doneness a few minutes before the baking time is up.
Moistness of the cake is also affected by the type of flour you use. Old flour can be the culprit of dry cupcakes. Also, try using cake flour or add some almond or coconut flour to the all-purpose flour. Alternatively, you can add slightly less flour (a table spoon less) and slightly more liquid (1-2 table spoon more), oil or melted butter, than what is being called for in the recipe. Extra eggs can also be added to make the cake lighter. Add an extra egg or an extra egg yolk to the original recipe to added lightness. However, too many eggs can be drying so the additional oil would add moisture to the batter. Sugar in the recipe also creates moisture in the cake but too much sugar causes the cake to be dense.
After baking, do remember to store your cakes in an airtight container to minimize exposure to the air. And if all else fails, you can always throw some softened ice cream into the bowl with the cake to cover up any hint of dryness.
Here are some baking tips that you can follow to get that perfect cake 🙂
- Sifting the dry ingredients prior to mixing in the liquid ingredients helps you avoid clumps and give the cake a finer grain.
- Toss in your extras like berries or nuts last to avoid colour bleeding.
- Lining your cake pans with parchment that is lightly greased and floured makes the removal process later much easier.
- Use room-temperature butter. If the butter is warmer than that, it will usually melt too quickly into the mixture and negatively change the overall texture of the cake.
- Position your pans in the centre of your oven so that they get the most even heat around. The pan should not touch any sides of the oven.
- Test your cakes to see if they are done at least 5 minutes before the suggested time to avoid over-baking.
- Let your cake cool until you can touch the pan then turn the cake out onto a wire rack.
- If you’re eating the cake on the very same day, let the cake cool completely then start frosting.
- If you’re keeping the cake for another day or storing it for future use, wrap the cake with a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminium foil while it’s still hot and put it in the freezer. The water created by the cake’s residual heat will keep it moist in the freezer. Let the cake thaw in the refrigerator slowly overnight the day before you want to frost it.