Top Chefs Simple Syrups, Do You Use Any?

Decorating By makenice99 Updated 18 Sep 2016 , 11:18pm by Bakrwomyn

makenice99 Posted 30 Sep 2010 , 2:56pm
post #1 of 19

So I was watching Top Chef Just Desserts last night for the first time. What a cool show.. funny to. Anyway it was the episode they had a 1 ½ to make a wedding cake.

Some of the chefs were taking the cakes layers and brushing them with different simple syrup + liquid to add flavor to the cake. Does this make the cake soggy if it will be made a day or 2 in advance of the event? Is liquor the only thing that can be added to the syrup?

18 replies
Elcee Posted 30 Sep 2010 , 11:22pm
post #2 of 19

I didn't have good luck with using simple syrups on my cakes. I was probably doing it wrong (or maybe it was related to my high altitude) but I didn't like the texture afterwards. I stopped trying and just concentrated on making cakes that are moist without it. icon_wink.gif

LaurenLuLu Posted 30 Sep 2010 , 11:35pm
post #3 of 19

Simple syrups keep cake moist if brushed onto hot cake. Once the cake has cooled it makes it soggy because it doesn't distribute throughout as well.

catlharper Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:10am
post #4 of 19

I don't ever need to use syrups. I use moist recipes and then freeze the cake which helps to keep it moist. The one time I tried a syrup the cake did turn out soggy..and I did put it on while the cake was hot. Trial and error..it's a big part of cake artistry.

Cat

makenice99 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:59pm
post #5 of 19

Thanks for sharing your experiences I really appreciate it. However, they werent using it to moisten the cake but infuse flavor. I had never seen that before and was wondering was this method popular and being used by bakers in this group.

Catlharper: You are so right it is a matter of trial & error but I learn so much from this forum and these TV shows that all I want to think about is cake, cake cake..

vicki3336 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 2:15pm
post #6 of 19

I've been toying with the idea of using the simple syrups on cupcakes, at least the ones that aren't frosted all the way to the edges, to keep them moist. Wonder if that would work. Guess I need to get baking but can't since we're all on a diet from the baking I've been doing the past year.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 2:35pm
post #7 of 19

It really is trial and error. Many, not all scratch cakes tend to be on the drier side. They can tolerate simple syrups better than most box cakes. the syrups can be infused with flavor, but don't need to be. A dry cake can be rescued this way. You have to know how your recipe holds up.

There are lots of classic older recipes that really can take this well. It can also add a wonderful flavor layer to a cake. But again, know how the cake will hold up to it.

TitiaM Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 3:40pm
post #8 of 19

I always use flavor infused syrups--my cakes are dense, so they hold up to them fine. I add liquor to them most often, but you can use extracts as well. I like the extra level of flavor it adds and it keeps it nice and moist. I will say it does help if the syrup is added a couple of days before it will be served so the moisture in it evens out and the flavors meld together. The only times I've had problems with it is when I tried to serve it the same day.

Karen421 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:05pm
post #9 of 19

Do you put it on a hot cake or a cold cake?

Amylou Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:25pm
post #10 of 19

I think part of it was that they only had already-made cakes to work with. They might not have done the syrups if they were baking them and could infuse the flavors in the recipe.

cakeladyatLA Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:26pm
post #11 of 19

From what I understood simple syrups are meant for sponge cakes, sponge cakes are supposed to absorb something. so if you have a soggy cake, your cake is not a sponge, ergo the cake has too much humidity.

Patty

LuvLyrics Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:31pm
post #12 of 19

To add syrups to cake you need to make sure you have a cake that can take the syrup, also you need to add it while the cake is warm and the syrup needs to be a bit warm too (warm not hot) I poke the cake with a skewer and then brush the syrup, about 1 cup for a 12 by 2 inch, I like them moist but nor soak. I am hispanic and many people like the rum cake, and actually it's recommended that you wait at least 24 hrs before serving it. The syrup, specially if it has rum helps preserve the cake, and the longer it sits with the rum the better it taste.

Here is my syrup.
1 cup of sugar
2cups of water
1 tsp of almond extract
about 1/2 to 1 cup of rum (about 1/4 cup if using Grand Manier)

Boil the water and sugar, remove from fire and wait 10 minutes before adding the flavorings, this will keep it from evaporating.

You can use a brush to brush it over the cake, in my opinion this helps with the distribution, but you can also just pour it over the cake ( get the cake out of the pan, then cover the bottom with plastic wrap, place the cake back in and pour, this makes it easier to get the cake out ). I suggest you try it on a cake for yourself first, so you can adjust the amount you need on your cakes for the moisture desire. Let the cake cool completely before wrapping it and putting it away, you don't need to refrigerate a rum cake. If your cake it's soggy, it's b/c you put too much or the cake wasn't strong enough to handle it.

HTH..
Anna

Elcee Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:11pm
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenLuLu

Simple syrups keep cake moist if brushed onto hot cake. Once the cake has cooled it makes it soggy because it doesn't distribute throughout as well.




As soon as I read this I had a major "AHA! moment" icon_lol.gif. I have been making Greek desserts most of my life and many of them are soaked (really, soaked; not moistened) in a honey syrup. I know to always pour COLD (straight from the fridge) syrup on HOT (right from the oven) pastry. The pastry keeps its texure and doesn't get soggy but gets completely saturated with the syrup. Of course it makes sense to brush the simple syrup on hot cake! icon_redface.gif

Thanks for the info!

Sweetwise Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:12pm
post #14 of 19

I've always had good luck with flavored syrup. I think when people are having trouble with sogginess, the water to sugar ratio is too high. I always go a little heavier on the sugar so it is a denser syrup. Super easy way to layer flavors. For instance; I LOVE Tiramisu. Instead of water, I used a strong coffee. Added sugar, brought to a boil to dissolve. Then added a bit of coffee liquor. This brushed over a white cake, then filled with a Marscapone/ Whipped Cream mix can almost trick anyone. Maybe my favorite cake!

Kahlua Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:26pm
post #15 of 19

I brush all my cakes (except fruit cake which I brush with sweet sherry) with simple syrup 50:50 caster sugar and water, they never go soggy and I always have rave reviews. I only bake from scratch.

tyty Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vicki3336

I've been toying with the idea of using the simple syrups on cupcakes, at least the ones that aren't frosted all the way to the edges, to keep them moist. Wonder if that would work. Guess I need to get baking but can't since we're all on a diet from the baking I've been doing the past year.




I use simple syrup on my cupcakes. I take them from the freezer and poke a few holes in the top with my cake tester or a fork. Then I brush the tops with simple syrup. I do this with scratch and dense cupcakes made from a mix like wasc.

LuvLyrics Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 12:13am
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahlua

I brush all my cakes (except fruit cake which I brush with sweet sherry) with simple syrup 50:50 caster sugar and water, they never go soggy and I always have rave reviews. I only bake from scratch.




What's the difference when using caster sugar? i would like to try it

Bakrwomyn Posted 18 Sep 2016 , 11:15pm
post #18 of 19

I use simple syrup for each layer and I brush it on. I don't use them for sponge cakes because it will get soggy but for other cakes that have more heft than sponge, I use it for each layer, just enough to so the surface is wet but not so much it soaks into the cake. If the sides are slightly over baked you can brush it on. 

I always freeze my cakes so that they'll be easier to slice into layers. Then I brush on the simple when it's hot. In the summer in AZ I will chill the cakes slightly for about 5-7 minutes before I add my jam filling or Swiss Meringue buttercream (SMBC). In the winter when my kitchen is nice and chilled, I only wait for a minute or two before I add my filling.

FYI, depending on the cake I'm making, I'll add liqueur like Cointreau (or triple sec which are both orange liqueurs), Framboise (raspberry), or rum for chocolate, limoncello for when I'm making a lemon meringue cake, and vanilla, almond, even macadamia extract or liqueur for everything else.


Vicki3336, like tyty, I also put simple syrup on my cupcakes to keep them moist. Just make sure that after 10 minutes of cooling them, quickly depan them otherwise the paper liner pulls away.

Bakrwomyn Posted 18 Sep 2016 , 11:18pm
post #19 of 19

Caster sugar is finer. Sometimes it's called baker's sugar.

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