Up untill this past Septemeber I had only made "from the box" cakes. But, for my parents wedding anniversary cake I decided to make a scratch cake. It came out alright but was a little dry, not like the moistness of a box cake. I have done internet searches and found that the only real recommendation is to spray sugarwater solution into the cake before stacking.
I have seen so many cake tastings on tv shows and their work seems to be so flavorful and moist... so what is their secret? Does anyone know how to make a moist cake? Is it the way you mix the batter or the way you cook the cake or the way you cool the cake or is it a specific ingredient added or ratio of a few ingredients? I dont have a pastry school in my area or I would have already registered. Making & selling box mix cakes for people just feels like cheating to me.
I bake many recipes from scratch (I make a mean jam cake and German chocolate cake), but not cakes that I decorate-which are usually white cakes. That's just what people ask for. I use box mixes as a start, but use extenders like sour cream, extra eggs, puddings, etc. to make them different, and I think better, than straight box mix. I don't think it's cheating because I never know with a scratch recipe if it's going to turn out dry, and I add enough extras to it to make it yummy. People who eat my decorated cakes love the flavor of the cakes and the bc.
After I bake my cakes I put them in the freezer. I wrap the cakes in clear wrap. They are only in there for 1 day.
Alot of my cakes are from scratch or a box mix with added flour, sugar, etc.. I use sour cream as well along with pudding mixes, vanilla yogurt extra eggs or other flavored yogurt to increase the moistness of the cake. I have never had someone say one of my cakes was dry. Also I make sure I put a good coat of buttercream underneath the fondant as well to seal in everything. I also when the cakes come out of the oven I let them cool just enough to handle and then I immediately wrapped them up in parchment paper and foil so they soak back in the heat as they cool down.
I usally use a box mix with the cake mix extender recipe. I do have a recipe for an Italian Cream cake that is very moist...I'll post it in recipes when I get home.
I do a lot of scratch baking, but I also use (altered) box mixes for certain cakes. It's funny to me that people feel like they're cheating by using box mixes. Sure, if you JUST use the box mix with nothing "special" added, then I can see the point. But when I bake from scratch, I don't mill the flour, grow the sugar cane, make the flavorings, etc. I buy all those things ready to go. So what's really the difference in buying something that has those things in one box?
But to the question: pudding mixes can add to the moistness.
Pros use a wash - simple syrup squirted or brushed onto the cake. Also, don't overbake.
a lot of it is technique, a lot of it is baking it right. follow the recipe, and know how to tell when a cake is done.
a lot of it comes down to the recipe - i use a victoria sponge. mmm!
also, some people cant distinguish between dry, and density, as scratch cakes do tend to be denser, but not dry.