Help With Cake Recipe - Too Dry

Baking By bonniebakes Updated 25 Jul 2010 , 11:16pm by Suzisweet

bonniebakes Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 4:42pm
post #1 of 16

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer me any suggestions!

I made a lemon cake this morning and it looks great - nice color, looks light and fluffy, has a nice looking crumb... but when you put it in your mouth it just sucks the moisture right out of your mouth and is very dry. I'd like to try using this recipe again, because the crumb looks so nice, and the flavor is good (thought I'd like a little more "pucker power" to it). I know I didn't over cook it - I was very careful about checking and used a thermometer to test for doneness (took it out at 195°.

Here's the recipe - if you have any suggestions for alterations I can make to make it less dry, I'd sure appreciate it. thanks in advance!!

2 cups cake flour, 2 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. salt, 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs + 2 yolk, 2/3 cup milk, 2 T lemon juice, 2 t. lemon zest.

15 replies
Suzisweet Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 5:21pm
post #2 of 16

My biggest pet peeve is dry cake!! I have tried to fight this tooth and nail with so many recipes. I have actually started experimenting with a lot of my recipes using a small addition of olive oil (yes, olive oil - the ones that says "light taste" only). I actually found a substitution for butter to oil. I have changed out a small amount of butter and then replaced it with the OO. I will look for my paper and post info.
I am one for scratch cakes but that is their downfall alot of the time...dryness BUT almost every box mix calls for oil and more so then not they turn out moist this is why I started adding the oil.
Two other suggestions that work well in some recipes. Sour cream and apple sauce. For the most part you do not taste them at all.
I am going to look for my back to you soon.

KoryAK Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 7:09pm
post #3 of 16

Oil tenderizes and sugar moistens. Try adding a little extra of each right to the existing recipe. And then a simple syrup wash as you are assembling.

brincess_b Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 7:30pm
post #4 of 16

You could try just adding simple syrup after it's baked.

Check ur technique - over mixing is often a cause of problems, but following things like cream til this stage, add x slowly matter too.
(I weigh ingredients so can't say if the recipe sounds right - but weighing is more accurate and gives consistant results too)

bonniebakes Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 7:54pm
post #5 of 16

thanks everyone! I thought of substituting some of the butter for oil, too, but wasn't sure how it would affect the texture - which other than the dryness is perfect!

I also thought about adding some sour cream... any thoughts on how much for this recipe - all I want to do is get rid of the dryness, not make it much heavier.

I weigh flour and I followed the recipe exactly, including the mixing times stated.

thanks! you all are a wealth of knowledge!!

Suzisweet Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 2:49pm
post #6 of 16

Here is a fabulous recipe...just made this and it is super good. It can be doubled with no problem...This one uses sour cream and in no way is it dry. It is not heavy either and had a perfect crumb (in my eye). I had to double it for my needs and I had 3 minor changes due to what I had on hand and it turned out FABULOUS! I had no lemon zest (which is ok because I wanted vanilla) but I did use the lemon juice as per recipe (you could barely taste lemon in the cake...again good as I wanted vanilla). Definately use zest if you want lemon flavor! I only had XL eggs so I cut back 1 and used 11 XL instead of 12 regular. I added vanilla extract by measurement. Follow instructions on adding and mixing exactly. I also used regular pans not a tube pan and they turned out awesome.

Sour cream and lemon pound cake

3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 16-cup tube pan. Dust pan with cake flour; tap out excess flour.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and peel. Using rubber spatula, mix in dry ingredients. Mix in sour cream. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around cake in pan. Turn out cake.

Carefully turn cake right side up on rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Wrap in foil and let stand at room temperature.)

substitute 3 tablespoons of olive oil for a quarter-cup of butter in any recipe or 1 1/2 TBS per 1/8 cup if recipe is small
I have done this with at least 5 cake recipes thus far and love the results. You will have to try and see what you think as people differ greatly in what they perceive as the "perfect cake"
Hope this helps and please let me know your results if you use above recipe or swap some olive oil for butter as I am curious to your opinion.

Suzisweet Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 2:54pm
post #7 of 16

Forgot to mention that your recipe does not call for alot of sugar. So if you want to stick with yours try increasing that a little and see if that helps.

bonniebakes Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 2:55pm
post #8 of 16

suzisweet - thank you soooo much!!! I will definitely give it a try!

deMuralist Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 3:08pm
post #9 of 16

I freeze my cakes and find that really helps with the moisture. I have read that often on CC. I take them out of the oven, wait 5 minutes then flip onto a cooling rack. then as soon as they are cool enough to handle i wrap them in Saran wrap and put them in the freezer. When I let them thaw I leave them in the Saran Wrap until they are room temperature. I am a scratch baker as well and now that I do this I have no problem what so ever with moist cakes and have had to make no adjustment to the ingredients.

Suzisweet Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 3:15pm
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by deMuralist

I freeze my cakes and find that really helps with the moisture.

I totally agree about this for most recipes....I use to frown on freezing cakes until I came across a chocolate recipe that said you must immediatley wrap and freeze after it comes out of the pan.
I do do that for all of my cakes unless I am in a time bind....great advice it really does help.

bonniebakes Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 3:33pm
post #11 of 16

hmmm.... interesting. How long is the minimum you freeze it for?

Suzisweet Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 4:21pm
post #12 of 16

Me....overnight when doing it for myself or make cake at the beginning of the week and take out between Wednesday-Friday for cake to be made for the weekend (which day for me depends on fondant or buttercream iced cake and necessary decor).

LindaF144a Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 4:48pm
post #13 of 16

What is the method for mixing it?
Creaming method? Two stage method?
It does make a difference in moisture.

Also the weight of your flour is more than the weight of the sugar. At the very least you can up the sugar to equal the weight of the flour, or you can go about 114% also.
Lemon juice is an acid and baking powder alone will not help. It is not discussed much but leavenors are also tenderizers in some cases and this is one of them. Instead of 2 tsp baking powder, you can tweak it to say 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp of baking powder. That is the equivalent of leavening for 3 cups of sugar, but sometimes when there is an acid like lemon juice, cocoa, chocolate, vinegar, sour cream etc., you need a bit more to get the tenderness needed to make it not taste like a dry cake.

I learned this the hard way by adjusting the leavening to work for exactly the amount of flour and got one dry cake. When I went back and followed what I thought was an overleavened recipe, I got a very moist cake. It took two days of research to find that there are times when you need more leavening for some kind of cakes.


bonniebakes Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 5:26pm
post #14 of 16

thanks, Linda... good information that will come in handy, I'm sure!

I had wondered about the baking powder/soda, too, since there's so much acidity in lemon juice.

The butter and sugar were creamed first, then eggs added and beaten well. Then dry/wet ingredients alternating. lemon juice and zest added at end.

The batter looked and smelled lovely. And the baked cake's crumb looks perfect... it's a little less dry after sitting in an airtight container overnight, but still drier than I'd like.

bonniebakes Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 5:27pm
post #15 of 16

thanks, suzi!

Suzisweet Posted 25 Jul 2010 , 11:16pm
post #16 of 16

Just curious if you have a favorite recipe that you might want to share with us for vanilla cake? Have you come up with one through experimentation that you think is exceptional? If so I'd love to give it a whirl.
I always lean toward a "pound cake" type recipe for vanilla and my sister is always asking me to duplicate vanilla wedding cake...I have yet to do that in her eyes. You should see how many recipes I have in my book!! I love scratch cakes and whenever I look for a "wedding cake" recipe it seems like so many people start from a box. I am curious if maybe the trick to wedding cake is in the flavor....vanilla/almond mix or maybe buttenut; I have heard people talk about that flavor but I have never seen it.

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