sweetlayers Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 10:12pm
post #1 of

Hi everyone,

I am right now eating a homemade scratch cake I made and the flavor is PERFECT! The texture of the granuals (sp) in the cake are PERFECT! The color..PERFECT!

However, eating this cake is like choking on SAWDUST! It is so dry. I mean SO DRY!

So I need to know, what makes a scratch cake moist? I mean really, what makes a cake moist every time. I know it may be a combination of things, regardless I'd like to hear all the theories proven or not.

I don't think I'm looking for a recipe per se, but more like a remedy for the PERFECT cake that is just super super dry!

Thanks in advance great bakers! I know you will knock this challenge out of the park. thumbs_up.gif

43 replies
wiggler Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 10:34pm
post #2 of

I use a syrup poured over some cakes as soon as they come out of the oven . They can look really flooded at the time but lovely and moist when eaten

elliespartycake Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 10:43pm
post #3 of

I make scratch cakes all the time...never has a "sawdust" problem. Did you bake it too long? Did you leave it out in the open for a while after it cooled and it dried out?
Occasionally, I brush my cakes with "moistening syrup", an mixture of sugar and water boiled together and a flavoring of your choosing (vanilla, orange, etc). I poke the top of the cake all over with a toothpick, and brush the top of the cake with the syrup. It adds an extra level of moistening.
Good luck.

sun33082 Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 11:24pm
post #4 of

I rarely make scratch cakes because of the texture/dryness issue, but when i do make cakes, i take them directly from the oven, and turn them out on seran wrap and wrap them up while they are hot. This keeps in so much more moisture. You might try that. That or maybe add some pudding to your recipe.

MimiFix Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 11:38pm
post #5 of

I agree with elliespartycake. If you liked everything about your scratch cake, including the texture, you might have baked it too long.

Lita829 Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 11:41pm
post #6 of

It could be that you are overbaking the cake, over mixing it, the ratio of dry to wet ingredients is off, or it might just be a bad recipe. Also...when are you sifting your flour? If the recipe says X amt of sifted cake flour, then you sift then measure. If the recipe says X amt of cake flour, sifted...then measure out your flour then sift.

You could also try baking the cake more slowly. If it says to bake at 350, try baking the cake at 340 or 335.

Don't give up...it could have been a fluke or try a variety of recipes employing different methods of preparation and or different sources of "fat" or liquids in the recipe.

HTH

kmstreepey Posted 11 Apr 2011 , 11:49pm
post #7 of

I agree with others who have suggested maybe it is baking too long. I always bake from scratch because I really like the science, challenge and art of learning to do it well. I used to have the problem of my cakes being too dry; the changes I've made seem to have done the trick for me: I now bake at 325 instead of 350, I watch it like a hawk at the end, and I take it out earlier, before the cake pulls away from the sides and when it just barely springs back when touched in the center. I no longer rely on the toothpick method, which for me always resulted in a drier cake. HTH!

leah_s Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:11am
post #8 of

I've been baking from scratch for 50+ years. (Not a typo.) I'd say your cake was overbaked. I use a wash (simlpe syrup) on every cake, every time. And I bake between 300 and 310.

allie73 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:31am
post #9 of

It may have been baked too long, but I've found that using buttermilk (and sometimes also sour cream) gives me a moist from-scratch cake every time. I use it in chocolate cake, lemon cake, coconut cake - all are moist and delicious!

calicopurr Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:42am

The perfect cake shouldn't need a wash or a simple syrup. That's double the work.

pattycakesnj Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by calicopurr

The perfect cake shouldn't need a wash or a simple syrup. That's double the work.



I agree, I bake from scratch and everyone says my cakes are very moist and I never use simple syrup. I also bake at 280 degrees. Sawdust is either baking too long or the recipe itself. If you use toothpick method, remove cake when there are some crumbs clinging to it, if it comes out clean, you overbaked it.

tokazodo Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:56am

I apprenticed with a baker who baked for 40 years and learned from the old German and Jewish bakers in New York City and Northern New Jersey.
I have been baking for over 25 years.

Simple Syrup is often used on cakes and a staple in many bakeries.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osC5SRtEg5k&feature=related
(Mod edited to provide working link.)

tryingcake Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 1:20am

How is simple syrup double the work? OMG - maybe added seconds, but not double the work. I don;t add it to every cake, but I do use it on occasion. It has never doubled my work load.

LindaF144a Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 1:42am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

Hi everyone,

I am right now eating a homemade scratch cake I made and the flavor is PERFECT! The texture of the granuals (sp) in the cake are PERFECT! The color..PERFECT!

However, eating this cake is like choking on SAWDUST! It is so dry. I mean SO DRY!

So I need to know, what makes a scratch cake moist? I mean really, what makes a cake moist every time. I know it may be a combination of things, regardless I'd like to hear all the theories proven or not.

I don't think I'm looking for a recipe per se, but more like a remedy for the PERFECT cake that is just super super dry!

Thanks in advance great bakers! I know you will knock this challenge out of the park. thumbs_up.gif




No one else asked, so I will.

What is your recipe?

I never get a scratch sawdust cake and I never use simple syrup either.

So possibly your recipe or process produced the dry cake.

cabecakes Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 1:57am

One simple fix might be an oven thermometer. I recently checked mine and found that the temperature was off by 25 (yes 25) degrees. It is a relatively new oven too. I was in shock. This would be my first (and probably the easiest) suggestion.

I don't generally have an issue with my cakes being dry, but I have heard of many people using the simple syrup. I have also used the suggestion of adding buttermilk, pudding and sour cream (I kind of thought that sounded weird until I tried it, but they are great moistening agents and you don't really taste them). I usually use 1 box of pudding and 1 cup sour cream.

These would probably be the easiest fixes before trying to recalculate the ingredients in a recipe.

instant-gratificaketion Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:09am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tryingcake

How is simple syrup double the work? OMG - maybe added seconds, but not double the work. I don;t add it to every cake, but I do use it on occasion. It has never doubled my work load.




I think the people that are saying this mean it more like what some people say about using steak sauce on a steak..."If the steak is cooked properly, you shouldn't need steak sauce." That kind of thing. Just the way I'm reading it, but either way, not really helpful information was given, just criticism of others' suggestions. icon_rolleyes.gif

I agree with the over-baking comments...try lowering the temp or taking it out earlier...then again, I am such a novice it's not even funny, so take my advice with a grain of salt...just don't add it to your cake! Heehee. icon_razz.gif

Lita829 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:38am
Quote:
Originally Posted by calicopurr

The perfect cake shouldn't need a wash or a simple syrup. That's double the work.




I agree. I never use syrups and my cakes are always moist, flavorful, and delicious.

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:41am

Sorry for my delayed response to these great posts. I went to choir rehearsal and asked my aunt if she had any suggestions. She is a pound cake baker. She suggested that I substitute some shortening or lard for part of the butter. She also mentioned that perhaps I should add another egg as someone else suggested. However, she was not sure of what the substitutions should be. She is old school and just eyeballs her measurements.

Also, will an extra egg turn it into a pound cake?

Lita829 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:45am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

Sorry for my delayed response to these great posts. I went to choir rehearsal and asked my aunt if she had any suggestions. She is a pound cake baker. She suggested that I substitute some shortening or lard for part of the butter. She also mentioned that perhaps I should add another egg as someone else suggested. However, she was not sure of what the substitutions should be. She is old school and just eyeballs her measurements.

Also, will an extra egg turn it into a pound cake?




I am not sure. Would you mind posting the recipe? That would help everyone help you better icon_smile.gif

scp1127 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 8:01am

Leah_s, you are the first person I have seen to post the temperature that low. I do this all the time. I also remove it from the oven a little early, knowing it will bake a little more in the pan.

To the OP, let Linda144 look at your recipe. She's the best at finding ratios that are off.

Simple syrup... I can't use it. My scratch cakes are already moist. A good recipe, proper execution, and the right equipment will produce a balanced cake.

Emmar308 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 8:30am

I also bake at a lower temp for longer (140c or 150c, i think this is about 280 / 300), i also add a pan of water to the bottom of the oven, so it's cooking in a slightly moist heat. I don't think you should just add an extra egg to the recipe without maybe letting others see the recipe first - you could just end up with a very eggy cake, which is not good!
I must say i'm curious about the poster who said did you sift then weigh your flour, or weigh then sift? How does this make any difference? The flour will weigh exactly the same either way?!

Lita829 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmar308

I also bake at a lower temp for longer (140c or 150c, i think this is about 280 / 300), i also add a pan of water to the bottom of the oven, so it's cooking in a slightly moist heat. I don't think you should just add an extra egg to the recipe without maybe letting others see the recipe first - you could just end up with a very eggy cake, which is not good!
I must say i'm curious about the poster who said did you sift then weigh your flour, or weigh then sift? How does this make any difference? The flour will weigh exactly the same either way?!




Despite years of baking experience, I admit to being self taught and all the recipes I use are American...thus use the American System of measurement. I rarely weigh ingredients. Could I bake with with recipes weighing ingredients...you bet, I just have to get my kitchen scale out of storage. With that being said, from my experience, if you take a cup of flour and sift it, then remeasure it....you will have slightly more than a cup. If the recipe calls for X amt of sifted flour but you measure, then sift, you would be putting more flour in than the recipe calls for.

LindaF144a Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 12:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmar308

I also bake at a lower temp for longer (140c or 150c, i think this is about 280 / 300), i also add a pan of water to the bottom of the oven, so it's cooking in a slightly moist heat. I don't think you should just add an extra egg to the recipe without maybe letting others see the recipe first - you could just end up with a very eggy cake, which is not good!
I must say i'm curious about the poster who said did you sift then weigh your flour, or weigh then sift? How does this make any difference? The flour will weigh exactly the same either way?!




No, the only way the flour will weigh the same is if you weigh it. If you measure it without weighing, it will less flour because you sift it into the cup, level and use that amount. If you scoop, you put more flour into your cup and get more by weight.

And I personally would never put lard in my cake. That is a trick our grandmother's used. There are other ways to get a moist cake. Post your recipe and process and then you can get a better idea.

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:11pm

Hi guys, I came to work this morning with the intention of posting my recipe and forgot the book at home. icon_sad.gif I'm so sorry. I will post asap this evening. Thank you for helping me figure this out.

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:16pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliespartycake

I make scratch cakes all the time...never has a "sawdust" problem. Did you bake it too long? Did you leave it out in the open for a while after it cooled and it dried out?
Occasionally, I brush my cakes with "moistening syrup", an mixture of sugar and water boiled together and a flavoring of your choosing (vanilla, orange, etc). I poke the top of the cake all over with a toothpick, and brush the top of the cake with the syrup. It adds an extra level of moistening.
Good luck.




This cake was dry when it came out of the oven. I set the timer and everything. Even right out of the oven when I cut the top off hot and tasted it it was dry. Very good, as I like hot cake better than cold, but dry just the same.

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lita829

It could be that you are overbaking the cake, over mixing it, the ratio of dry to wet ingredients is off, or it might just be a bad recipe. Also...when are you sifting your flour? If the recipe says X amt of sifted cake flour, then you sift then measure. If the recipe says X amt of cake flour, sifted...then measure out your flour then sift.

You could also try baking the cake more slowly. If it says to bake at 350, try baking the cake at 340 or 335.

Don't give up...it could have been a fluke or try a variety of recipes employing different methods of preparation and or different sources of "fat" or liquids in the recipe.

HTH




This recipe did not call for sifted flour, but did suggest cake flour which I used.

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I've been baking from scratch for 50+ years. (Not a typo.) I'd say your cake was overbaked. I use a wash (simlpe syrup) on every cake, every time. And I bake between 300 and 310.




Leah_s

How much longer does it take bake your cakes at this temperature? Is it just a regular convection oven?

sweetlayers Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

Hi everyone,

I am right now eating a homemade scratch cake I made and the flavor is PERFECT! The texture of the granuals (sp) in the cake are PERFECT! The color..PERFECT!

However, eating this cake is like choking on SAWDUST! It is so dry. I mean SO DRY!

So I need to know, what makes a scratch cake moist? I mean really, what makes a cake moist every time. I know it may be a combination of things, regardless I'd like to hear all the theories proven or not.

I don't think I'm looking for a recipe per se, but more like a remedy for the PERFECT cake that is just super super dry!

Thanks in advance great bakers! I know you will knock this challenge out of the park. thumbs_up.gif



No one else asked, so I will.

What is your recipe?

I never get a scratch sawdust cake and I never use simple syrup either.

So possibly your recipe or process produced the dry cake.




I'll get this too you this evening eastern standard time. I left it at home.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

This cake was dry when it came out of the oven. I set the timer and everything.




Reading this comment, I really think the dryness was caused from overbaking. If a recipe says to bake for 40 minutes at 350F, the temp is really too high and the time too long....at least in my experience. I would cut back on the temp to at least 325. As for the time, my grandma - who taught me how to bake - used to say, "When you can smell the cake, it's almost done."

Lita829 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 2:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I've been baking from scratch for 50+ years. (Not a typo.) I'd say your cake was overbaked. I use a wash (simlpe syrup) on every cake, every time. And I bake between 300 and 310.



Leah_s

How much longer does it take bake your cakes at this temperature? Is it just a regular convection oven?




Sweetlayers....What type of oven are you baking with, conventional or convection. If it is convection and the temp given for the recipe is for conventional, you would need to decrease the baking temp (more than 25 degrees) and time, as convection bakes quicker than conventional. Even though I absolutely LOVE baking with convection, I've seen numerous posts in other threads stating that it can sometimes dry out a cake if the fan and/or temp is too high.

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