Baking dilemma: how to moisten a dry cake

Fix that dry cake in a hurry with our tried top tips on how to moisten a dry cake!

Dare we say it – the ‘M’ word? Moist! Some people shudder at the thought, however, when we’re talking cakes, there is nothing better. Alas, just one minute more in the oven than necessary and you’ll end up in a cake gasping for extra sugar! But how can you moisten a dry cake? Luckily, a few of us at Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft HQ have suffered such droughts, and are here to help!

No matter how experienced you are in the cakey world, sometimes cake-tastrophes happen – you are not alone! But fear not! When it comes to a dry cake, there a few top-secret tips and tricks that we will kindly share with you, our loyal readers, to help you save the day! We can’t promise they will completely rescue your dry cake from the depths of despair, but they may well help you get to the point where with a little pretty decoration (see all our projects for inspo!) and a lot of interesting chatter during consumption, your guests, friends and family won’t even notice. So, without further ado, here are our tips on how to fix a dry cake! 

How to moisten a dry cake

Content continues after advertisements

Microwave it

These days we’re so quick to opt for technology to help us out. Well in this case, there is cake at stake, so we’ll take any measure to help! Simply dampen a paper towel and lay it flat onto your microwave’s glass plate. Put the cake on top and run the microwave on a medium heat for a few ten second intervals until enough moisture is trapped. The only catch with this handy little tip is that it's only effective if you are in a position to serve your cake immediately. The moistening effect from using the microwave doesn't last long! This method is often referred to as ‘nuking.’

Add ‘simple’ syrup

Make your own simple syrup using just two ingredients in equal quantities – sugar and water. Once heated up, this mixture transforms into a thick syrup – perfect for pouring or spritzing. Mix your own home brew and decant it into a spray bottle, then cover your cake with it. Make sure you only spray exposed cake (anything sliced or open) and if you haven’t yet cut the cake, use any sharp thin tool to make tiny holes in the cake, and then drizzle the syrup into the cake. Allow three hours for absorption. HINT: You can use many different liquids to add new flavours into your cakes via this method, such as coconut milk. This top tip is more appropriate if you're not planning to serve your bake immediately.

The bread method

An easy way to moisten your cake is to use the traditional bread method – and it couldn’t be simpler. Place one slice of white bread along with your cake into a sealed bag for several hours. You’ll know when the cake has taken the moisture from the bread because the bread will have gone hard! We love this method as it super convenient, as most people have a slice of white bread hanging around in the cupboard. Of course, due to the length of time needed to allow this process to happen, this too is an approach to take if you are not due to serve the cake immediately after it is baked.

The apple method

Can’t spare a slice of bread? Why not try the apple method instead?! Simply slice an apple and pop it in a sealed bag for a few hours with your dry bake. You should note that there may be some apple flavour passed over into your newly moistened cake, so bear that in mind when opting for the apple option. Who doesn’t love an apple cake though, right?

Add to it

If you don’t fancy tweaking your actual bake, or you aren’t sure anything you can add into the back will make much of a difference (we have all been there bakers!) then why not think about what you can serve with your cake to add a little moisture?! Cake is often served with ice cream, custard or cream – so ride that little side option out and no one will even recognise your cake as thirsty! We’re all for serving cake with ice cream here at Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine, yum!

Change direction

Everyone has seen the memes on Facebook about how when making an omelette fails, you end up with scrambled eggs, right? Well we have a similar idea for you if your bake is more like a dessert than a desert! You can totally own your dehydrated creation and rework it into a bread pudding, or some kind of layered trifle. Win! This masks the dryness of the cake but still provides your cake with a yummy, yummy use – what a creative way to fix a dry cake!

Steam it

Steam is one of your best friends when it comes to adding moisture to a cake already baked. For this you firstly need to place your bake in a roasting tin and over with an ovenproof container that is big enough in size to clear the cake both in height and width. Next, you need to fill the roasting tin with simmering water and pour until it reaches approximately halfway up the container holding your cake. HINT: At all times, avoid getting your cake wet directly with the water. Allow this process to go on for several minutes – remembering that there is every chance your icing could begin to melt, so keep an extra close eye on that! Once you are satisfied this bain-marie style tactic has had chance to work its magic, remove the cake and wrap it in plastic, tightly, as soon as possible in order to trap the moisture in. Hey presto! Goodbye dry cake.

The folded towel method

If you can tell the cake is dry as soon as you take it out the oven then this is a good method. Leaving the cake in the baking tin, fold a thick towel and put it on top of the cake. Leave the cake to cool on a wire cooling rack. As it cools, the towel will trap any steam escaping and push back into your bake. Easy peasy!

Milk or water method

This method is one of the easiest if you find yourself in the situation where your cake has dried out during storage. All you need to do is brush a little milk or cold water over the cake. Then, place in a preheated, medium heat oven (around 350F/175C) leave for around for up to 20 minutes or until it crisps.

It’s all in the storage

Moisture’s enemy? Dry air! Store your cakes correctly from the start to ensure to preserve maximum moistness, and avoid any further emergency cure. Once cool, ensure your fresh cake gets wrapped in plastic (completely airtight) and then store in an airtight container. If you have time on your hands and don’t have to decorate your cake right away, we recommend putting it in the freezer overnight. This will help your cake layers keep their juicy goodness! Needless to say, once your cake is cut and served, store it straight away in an airtight tin. All forms of sugar are going to be absorbing your cake’s moisture, so take care to keep it away from air.

Moistena  dry cake with ice cream

So, there you have it our lovely cakey people, our top tips on how to moisten a dry cake! We hope you never have to suffer the taste of an overly dry cake again! Remember, if in doubt, add ice cream and hope for the best… 

More in Cakes & Cupcake Essentials

More in Advice Hub

Click here to view our range of subscription offers!

Click here to view our range of subscription offers!