21 Baking Secrets To Moist Cakes

If you are looking for a way to make moist cakes or make a cake even more moist and flavorful, this article will help. There are so many easy tips on how best to accomplish such goals.


Have you ever marveled at how a bakery can make such delicious-looking cakes with the simplest of ingredients?

Cake baking can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. To start with, you need to measure out your ingredients, mix them in the proper order, and bake.

When your cake turns dry and dense, the most common mistakes are using the wrong ingredients, over-mixing, over-baking, or baking at a high temperature.

This article will answer most of your questions, for example, what makes a cake moist and how to make it less dense and dry.

It will also provide tips on how to make a cake fluffy and soft and improve your cake recipe to make the texture even more moist.

The secret to making the moistest cake is choosing the right ingredients and techniques, which I will share today. So, the future is here, and it is all about knowledge.

You, too, will be able to make your own moist cakes (pound cake, bundt cake, sponge cake, red velvet cake, carrot cake, etc.) from scratch or find a box cake mix that will get you started.

There are a few magic ingredients for making an ultra-moist cake.


Get the Ultimate Guide to Baking Basics series: one tip a day. 

Add vegetable oil

While butter is unbeatable to bring flavor and taste to your cakes, the oil is what makes your cakes moister.

Butter and oil are two different creatures. When it comes down to making your cakes moister and softer, use vegetable oil in place of butter.

Cakes made with oil will have an interesting texture due to how different oils behave scientifically.

The oil stays a liquid at room temperature while butter solidifies. That is why cakes made with oil remain soft at all times, even straight from the refrigerator.

So, replace butter with sunflower, canola, or mild olive oil, or use a combination of butter and vegetable oil in your cake recipe.

To substitute the butter for oil, calculate 20% less. For every 100 grams in butter, 80 g should be oil.

Use high-fat dairy products

Most yogurt cakes are made with plain yogurt, which is a mistake.

The best yogurt cakes are made with high-quality dairy products to produce a soft and fluffy texture.

You can’t go wrong if you replace yogurt with cottage cheese, quark, Greek yogurt, ricotta, or add a tablespoon of fresh cream or sour cream.

With more fat content, your recipe will result in an airy cake perfect for any celebration – whether breakfast-related or not.

Add buttermilk

Buttermilk-based cakes are moister than those made with milk and have an acidic ingredient (buttermilk) that helps break down gluten in your baking.

The slight tang compliments the sweetness of many cake batter flavors making for a balanced final product.

Use baking soda

It is a miracle product at home and especially in the kitchen, and it is a secret ingredient for ultra-soft cakes. 

If a cake recipe uses buttermilk, it requires adding baking soda to baking powder in most cases.

The baking soda will react with the acidic buttermilk and create a fluffier crumb.

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Mix the leavening agents and flour before stirring, then sift a couple of times. 

This way, you can be sure that the chemical leaveners will be evenly distributed in the batter and that it will rise evenly.

Opt for cake flour

Another effective trick is to cut the flour with some part of cornstarch, potato starch, or ground almonds (⅔ of flour, ⅓ of the rest).

But don’t replace any more than 40% of the flour with the starch; otherwise, the cake will crumble when cut.

You can also opt for cake flour instead of all-purpose.

In these cases, your cake will retain moisture that will not dry out when baked.

Use instant clearjel

Using an instant clearjel or instant pudding mix allows your cakes to retain more moisture.

Clear Jel is a “modified cornstarch” that should be mixed with dry ingredients.

The cake batter with instant clearjel will hold the moisture before and after baking, giving that lovely texture you strive for.

The pudding mix is excellent as well as it contains instant clearjel as the second ingredient.

Add applesauce

Making an apple-flavored cake is much easier when adding applesauce to the batter or mixing a grated apple.

The resulting texture of your finished product will be light, soft, and moist.

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Use flax seeds

Another ingredient alternative to making moist cakes is replacing the eggs with pureed flax seeds.

Place three tablespoons of ground flax seeds in a blender, add 5 to 6 tablespoons of water and blend until you obtain a brown sticky cream.

Then pour it into the batter, mix with a whisk, and bake. You will be surprised at how moist your cake will be, even without eggs.

Other ingredients

The cake will be ultra-moist with a few more extra tips.

For example, replace water for whole milk, milk for heavy or whipped cream, granulated sugar for brown sugar, or use real butter instead of margarine to achieve the perfect texture of the cake.

Sweeteners like honey, corn syrup, and molasses help retain moisture inside the cakes, so they stay fresh longer. Plus, these sweet flavors will make your baking taste better.

Adding extra egg yolks to the batter allows the batter to retain extra liquid. Add the number of eggs required in the recipe, plus add two more egg yolks.

Or, try to replace two whole eggs with three egg yolks or use 3 to 4 whole eggs instead of two.

You will be pleased with the end result: your cake will be given an even more rich and fatty taste.

What’s the deal with sugar? Well, it is a hygroscopic (water-attracting) substance.

That means when you add less than your cake needs, you reduce the cake’s ability to retain moisture. So it is essential to keep that in mind when making your recipe.

Finally, a small splash of mineral water can work wonders. The carbonic acid provides an extra portion of fluffiness.

What else makes a cake moist and soft? Are there any other tips for creating a cake that is even more moist?

Decide on the right recipe

Choosing the right recipe to make a moist cake is not easy. First, pay attention if the cake recipe already contains buttermilk or vegetable oil.

Making changes in the recipe is even more difficult since baking is considered a science. But, going through trial and error, if you don’t mind, you can be granted a great recipe.

Choose the right ingredients

To make a moist cake, use the right ingredients and measure them accurately.

Using the right ingredients is the key to making a moist cake. Baking requires precision in choosing the ingredients and measuring them.

Even if you have multiple charts for substituting one ingredient with another in baking recipes – it doesn’t always work out.

A great example is a difference between baking powder and baking soda – they are not interchangeable.

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If you are new to baking, stick to the recipe until you learn the baking basics, especially how ingredients work.

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Measuring your flour and other baking ingredients correctly helps achieve a moist cake.

Choose the weighing method you prefer: using a kitchen scale or measuring cups.

Keep the order of ingredients

To make a cake, you need eggs and sugar. But what about the other ingredients?

And how do they interact with each other when being mixed up together at different points during baking timeframes?

Let’s break it down. For a soft cake, you have to follow the order: put the eggs first, beat them with the sugar, add the melted butter, the flour sifted with the leavening agent. 

Or you have to beat butter with sugar until creamy for 3 minutes. Next, add eggs one at a time, mix for half a minute each, add cream, and finally, dry ingredients. In general, it takes 7 ½ minutes to smooth the batter.

You can separate the egg yolks from the whites for a soft and fluffy cake.

Add the yolks to the preparation while in a second bowl, beat the egg whites.

The good tip is to place the container in the freezer for 10 minutes before beating. In this way, you will get a very firm snow effect.

Room temperature ingredients

To make sure that your cake becomes a delicate and enjoyable treat, using the ingredients at room temperature is essential.

Take them out of the fridge at least an hour before starting the preparation. 

If you have forgotten to do it and cannot wait any longer than that, then warm up the milk while microwaving on high for 15-30 seconds. The same thing goes with yogurt and ricotta.

To warm the eggs, immerse them in a saucepan with warm water for a few minutes. Soften the butter slightly in the microwave or a double boiler.

Once started, beat butter until creamy before adding in eggs one at a time, constantly mixing between each addition for half a minute on medium speed (you can also do this by hand).

You want everything mixed well but not rushed – this way, you will get a fluffy cake full of flavor.

Don’t overmix

Overmixing is the worst! When mixing your cake batter, avoid exciting the gluten by stirring too hard. 

You should put all the ingredients except the flour and mix in less than 6 to 8 seconds. 

Once the flour, baking powder, and baking soda are added, stir very quickly, just to combine.

What does it mean? It is enough to run a hand whisk or rubber spatula through the batter a few times to ensure no lumps, and the batter is homogeneous.

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If you use an electric mixer or stand mixer, be especially careful not to overdo it – switch to slow speed. Keep an eye on your mixture, and don’t let things get out of hand.

Choose the right cake pan

The color of your baking pans can make all the difference in how you bake.

If they are dark, expect dry and crispy edges because quick heating causes this type of metal pan ware to generate more heat than other surfaces.

One of the best in the market is Fat Daddio’s round cake pans that are light-colored and distribute heat evenly.

Being used to bake cakes in individual cake pans and switching to baking on sheet pans might seem new for you.

The best thing about this method is making different sizes of cakes without having any pans. The layers are also cut into perfect shapes, with a soft and moist edge on each one!

More importantly, the layers are cut into perfect shapes using cake rings, with a soft and moist edge on each one.

It is unlike the cake layers cut out of the single cake with dark and dry edges.


Try Cake Pan Calculator

Don’t overbake

It is essential to know when your cake will be done because the texture and flavor can change if it is over-baked.

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Bake at a lower temperature, and make sure it is accurate. If you have ever felt like recipes, call for a specific baking time, but yours takes much longer or less; use an oven thermometer to test your oven. This slight adjustment can result in perfect cakes every time.

The oven must be static and set at a low temperature for the best results.

Baking your cakes can be tricky, so paying attention to where you place them in the oven is essential.

Place your cake pan in the right place: the middle or top rack around 6 to 7 inches/15 to 17 cm below the top of the oven. 

Finally, check your cake if it is done. Five minutes before the recipe instructs, start checking your cake.

Then, continue testing your cake in 4,3,2, or even 1-minute increments. Why? Because there is a 30-second window between the perfectly baked and over-baked cake.

The cake is done when:

  • it slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan;
  • a toothpick, wooden skewer, or a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs;
  • pressing down on the cake, it bounces back completely (instead of sinking with your touch).

Don’t open the oven door

When preparing the cake, it is essential not to open the oven door for at least half an hour from the beginning. Let the batter rise.

This will ensure that your dessert is soft and high-definition.

Let the cake rest

As soon as your cake comes out of the oven, let it rest for at least 10 minutes in its mold, covering it with aluminum foil.

The steam that rises from the cake pan will stop on the foil, thus forming a condensation. This little trick will help the cake stay moister.

Once the cake has been removed from the mold, let it cool on a wire rack.

Don’t double the recipe

To ensure the best taste and texture, never double a cake recipe. Love it not; make the cake batter twice!

That means you can be sure not to under or over-mix and avoid uneven distribution of leavening agents.

Store the cake right

When storing your cake, make sure to keep it covered; otherwise, the moisture will disappear.

Use an airtight container, a glass jar, or simply cover your cake with aluminum foil, closing the ends well.

If you plan to assemble your spongy cake the next day, cover it with plastic wrap.

A fridge is fine for short-term storage, especially for an oil-based cake.

If the fat component is butter-based, it will be better to avoid chilling your cake, as it will harden. Instead, store it in a cool and dry place in the house.

Freezing is a better option if you need something more long-lasting. Remember that cakes freeze differently, so some might get dry after being stored in these conditions.

Soak the cake with simple syrup

What if you have a dry cake? Don’t give up just yet!

Make a simple syrup by boiling equal parts granulated sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool.

Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer of simple syrup to your cake, adding more moisture.

You can even flavor your syrup out of the heat with vanilla extract, dark rum, Amaretto, or other liqueur.

Or poke holes in the cake with a wooden skewer, drizzle with some flavored liqueur (or orange juice for kids), and let sit for an hour.

Want to try the moistest cake?

This best chocolate cake recipe is perfect for everyday and special occasions.

It is super moist, rich, and decadent, is made with five ingredients, and is ready in under an hour.

Love baking tips? Try these next!

  • 7 Ways To Thicken Heavy Cream
  • Secrets Of The Madeleine Hump

Source: https://www.bakinglikeachef.com/how-to-make-a-cake-moist/

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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.