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All Great Bakers, what's your theory!

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
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
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post #2 of 44
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
post #3 of 44
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.
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post #4 of 44
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.
post #5 of 44
I agree with elliespartycake. If you liked everything about your scratch cake, including the texture, you might have baked it too long.

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post #6 of 44
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
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

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Darlita
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Your only competition should be yourself.
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post #7 of 44
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!
post #8 of 44
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.
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post #9 of 44
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!
post #10 of 44
The perfect cake shouldn't need a wash or a simple syrup. That's double the work.
post #11 of 44
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.
post #12 of 44
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.)
post #13 of 44
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.
post #14 of 44
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.
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post #15 of 44
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.
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