The beginning years of baking were heart breaking for me too, I remember those collage days full of excitement and enthusiasm on finding a cool recipe of cake in some magazine. Calling papa to get all the ingredients on his way back home. The bad baking and my darling brother teasing me to the extreme saying ” The dog in the colony refused to eat this cake.” I guess if you are a beginner, you might face similar situations too.
Now things have changed – now I bake good cakes ! But I know that the common pitfall in the world of baking, especially for beginners, is the dry cake. A soft, moist, sinfully delicious chocolate cake with just the right texture and the perfect look in home baked cakes is a desire for many of us. With just few basic techniques you can produce a fresh, moist and soft chocolate cake.
How do I bake my chocolate cake extra moist
How do I bake my chocolate cake extra moist
To retain the moistness, a cake must have a balanced amount of liquid, sugar and fat, which together prevent moisture from slowly leaving the cake. These tips I am sharing today will make a huge difference in your cake if you are a beginner:
1. The basics you already know; measure the ingredients accurately, preheat the oven at least for 15 minutes at accurate temperature as given in the recipe.
2. No matter what cake you are baking you must follow the basic steps, because these will effect the texture of your cake. A cake is no less thsn a chemistry experiment. If the recipe says creaming, folding, blending, whipping – Do It ! never use a shortcut in the making.
For eg. in the pound cake process of creaming; fat and sugar are mixed together and they trap little bubbles of air in the mix. Now each bubble is trapped in a layer of fat, it is this air bubble which produces the lightness in the finished cake. Further when the eggs are added, they prevent the fat to collapse in the oven while baking.
Sponge cakes requires eggs which are whipped with sugar until a very thick foam is created. Heating the eggs or yolks with the sugar will result in greater volume. Angel food cakes use no fat, and are leavened with whipped egg whites.
Chiffon-style cakes can use an egg white foam, but are not fat-free, and some recipes call for additional eggs or yolks inside the batter. Additional melted butter or a vegetable oil is added to the mix for richness, and the leavening isn’t solely relied upon by the egg foams; they do contain chemical leavening such as baking powder.
So the texture will be positively supported or negatively affected by how well you follow directions such as these.
3. Getting back to the point of moist cake – the cake should be baked as soon as the batter is mixed. The oven door should never be opened in the early stages of cooking. If the door is opened the temperature will drop suddenly and the air in the cake will stop expanding and actually contract. The whole structure of the cake will then sink back. So, remember, never check a cake until three-quarters of the cooking time has elapsed.
Another important thing is to not over bake the cake. Since all ovens vary, find out what works for your oven and then modify recipes accordingly. Bake according to the recipe but check for doneness the last 5-10 minutes before scheduled. You know it’s done when a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few cake crumbs attached. To avoid over baking, there are two more indicators that you should look for to determine if your cake is done: The cake should be slightly pulling away from the side of the pan, and the cake should spring back when gently pressed.
Tip- You can also pull the crumbs off the toothpick and rub them between your fingers to see if they are too moist or just right. I believe the cake will taste better if it is slightly under-cooked than slightly overcooked. Remember the cake continues to cook just a little bit more after you take it out of the oven.
4. This is my secret – I use sour cream in most of my recipes for moistness. You can also add applesauce to increase moistness. Be careful though, too much of moisture often leads to little more than a soggy, wet mess. We are looking for moist cake not a wet mess.
5. The culprits for dry cake are ingredients that absorb moisture, such as flour and mostly cocoa powder. So never add more then the required quantity written in the recipe. Also if you mix the cocoa powder with a little bit of hot water before adding to the cake batter, it does helps in keeping the cake moist.
Egg whites can dry out a cake too sometimes. This explains why white cakes are usually drier than other cakes with egg yolks.
6. I have always been afraid of doing this – lol, But now have understood – Brush cake layers with simple syrup made by simmering equal amounts of water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely. The syrup keeps the layers moist even in the fridge. So soak your cake nicely with the required amount of sugar syrup mentioned in the recipe.
7. Use baking powder instead of baking soda. The bicarbonate by itself neutralizes the acid in the batter and makes it darken more. Baking powder won’t reduce the acidity, making the cake fluffier.
8. Using oil instead of butter will keep your cake soft even in the fridge. This is required especially for the cakes with frosting. Because you can’t be keeping the cake with cream or ganache at room temperature in an Indian Summer.
9. Brown sugar holds more moisture longer than white sugar. Replacing brown sugar for white sugar will keep the cake from drying out and maintain its moistness. Use the same measurements for the brown sugar as your recipe called for the white sugar. The taste difference will be minimal, but the moisture levels will be higher.
10. You might think you are done baking when the cake is removed from the oven, but proper cooling and storage techniques are key. A cake left out on the counter too long will dry out.Cooling cake pans on racks allows for proper air circulation. Un molding the cakes at the right time allows even more heat to escape, preventing gumminess and a negatively affected texture. Wrapping the cake with plastic wrap and storing at room temperature before assembly is a good idea. Make sure they are wrapped well.