I just made and used simple syrup for the first time. In Sylvia Weinstock's book, she says a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar is enough for one cake. I don't think I used even 1/10 of that on my two-layer 8" round cake. It seemed like the cake layer was getting too wet, so I didn't use all of the syrup. Anyway, the cake tasted okay, but you could definitely see where the syrup had stopped soaking in. The top half of each layer was really wet and the bottom was dry. So, my questions:
1. How do you know when you have spread enough syrup over your cake layer?
2. How do I make the syrup go through to the bottom of each layer?
Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated!
I have never used a full cup of simple syrup on a cake, about 1/3 to 1/2 is about all I ever used on a 8" cake. I do, however, spread it on top (and the sides) of the cake with a pastry brush and then wait a few minutes. I then spread again. I do the same thing with the other layer(s). I've never noticed the syrup having a distinct line where it stopped soaking in. Like you said, you don't want it mushy from the syrup, just moist.
Once you get used to the simple syrup, I think you'll really like it. My customers always rave about my cakes being so moist. For extra flavoring you might want to add a split vanilla bean to the mixture as it is simmering or some flavoring.
Thank you for the tips, Bettinashoe! I'll try letting it soak in for a few minutes next time and then do another brush over of the syrup. I'll also make sure to do the sides (I didn't know about that). Adding the vanilla bean sounds delicious!
So, how do you know when to stop? Is there a way to tell that the syrup has gone all the way through without cutting the cake?
I too have always used a pastry brush to brush on syrup. I'm not sure you necessarily will ever really know how far down the syrup has gone but I'm also not sure it needs to soak all the way thru, I think it may be to add a little extra moisture and flavor not really to saturate the cake. Something else to try is adding any type of citrus peel when you are making your syrup so you add a nice hint of say lemon, orange or lime to a nice white cake, pound cake etc.
Thank you for the reply, Onceuponadreamcakes! Mmmmmmm...the citrus idea sounds yummy, too!
I'm starting to think that maybe my syrup was too thin. Sylvia Weinstock's recipe had a 1/1 ratio for the sugar and syrup, but I found a recipe online specifically for German chocolate cake (which is what I was making) that used a simple syrup made with 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar. I thought the ratio had been changed for the chocolate cake, so I decreased the sugar. Do you think this is what made the top of the cake soggy?
I use a medicine syringe and use about 1/3 cup on an 8". I use 6TBLS. sugar 2/3 cups water & 3 TBS. liquor for flavoring. It gives everything a nice moist texture, but you do have to let it sit. It distributes nice & even.
not sure if too thin or just too much applied made it soggy. I typicall use a 1 to 1 ratio as well but only brush a moderate amount. I would say hoever that some cake textures or already pretty mosit and would not require too much or even any additional mositure such as syrups. The chocolate recipe I use is super moist to begin with so I never apply a syrup or else my cake would probably sink!
Thank you for replying, LaBellaFlor and Onceuponadreamcakes! Everyone is so helpful on this site. Hopefully with all of your tips my next one will be perfect! LaBellaFlor, when you say you let it sit, does that mean you let the syrup rest in the cake before you frost it? I did spread the frosting on right after applying the syrup with a brush.
1 to 1 ratio is the general rule of thumb for any simple syrup. When I am doing a small cake, I generally cut it to 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 cup of water... it holds fine for up to two weeks in the fridge, but I just don't need the full amt for a smaller cake. I simply brush mine with a pastry brush as well. I have never felt it needed a second pass over. Also a fine addition is about a tablespoon of light rum when the mixture comes off the heat --the alcohol evaporates and leaves the most incredible mellowness to the syrup. It is a good accompaniment to any flavor cake.
Yes. I can't tell you for how long for sure. It's not sitting overnight or anything, but I definelty have never put syrup on and then frosted it right after. Maybe a couple of hours. When you cut into the cake, you don't even know theres a syrup. It just seems like a really moist cake. But like Onceuponadreamcakes said, I don't put it on ALL my cakes. My chocolate, coconut, banana,red velvet type cakes are fine without any syrup. I use it for like basic butter, almond, or lemon cakes. Those type of cakes. I hope that makes sense.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone! I'm starting to feel like I can make it work next time and not waste a whole cake! I think I understand all the steps now. It's funny the little things that can make a big difference in baking.
As a newbie, it seems like every time I bake something, I learn something I should have done differently. Sometimes I wish that the recipes would outline EVERY single detail of the recipe, but I realize it could get tedious saying things like "2 eggs does NOT include the shell" or "insert your hand into the oven mitt BEFORE removing pan from the oven."
LOL! But you know what it is about scratch baking & even decorating? Not everyone gets the same results following recipes to the tee. I love MMF, have great results with it. But theres a lot of people who can't stand it! You gotta try everything first hand to see how it's gonna work for you.
Great advise everyone. You'll do fine letsgetcaking! As mentioned above, I also don't put simple syrup on all my cakes. Some just don't need it and would probably turn to pudding if I S/S'd them. The S/S is for added moisture (and a nice light flavor enhancement). You'll do fine with it so quit worrying. I was baking for a long time before I even discovered the S/S trick so you're already one step ahead!