WORK WITH A RECIPE
This action cannot be overemphasized. Baking is as much an art as it is a science. In order to achieve dependable results, we need to work with recipes and not taking guess work. Unlike in time past when we baked merely based on what comes into our heads. If a recipe must be changed during baking, take note of those changes. That way you know what to repeat or avoid the next time you are baking that type of cake.
TYPE OF CAKE
Some types of cakes like, red velvet cakes, carrot cakes are naturally moist and in fact cakes with high liquid proportions always turn out moist. Sponge cakes are naturally fluffy while vanilla cakes are usually not as moist and fluffy. Knowing what to expect from a particular type of cake and having good knowledge of the characteristics of various types of cakes is thus an asset that would help you make a verdict on the type of cake which will fit your objective.
CHOICE OF INGREDIENTS
The type of ingredients you use to bake your cakes play a major role in how fluffy and moist you cake will be. Let’s consider these few tips below:
(i) Use cake flour in place of all-purpose flour. Cake flour is flour which has been mixed with some corn starch in order to make it lighter. Cakes baked with cake flour are usually lighter and softer than cakes baked with all-purpose flour.
(ii) Use real butter in place of margarine, even if the recipe calls for it. Margarine or butter substitutes contain more water than fat. However, it is the fat in butter that helps to hold the cake together and moisten it. The excess water in margarine will evaporate in the oven's heat, leaving you with a dry texture to your cake.
(iii) Substituting some butter with oil in a recipe always leads to moisten cakes. Vegetable oil reduces the production of gluten in flour, a protein found in wheat products that work as a binding agent. Too much gluten in a cake will cause it to be sticky rather than moist.
(iv) Consider substituting milk for buttermilk. Buttermilk has a high acidic content which breaks down the gluten in flour, thus making cakes softer. If you are going to use buttermilk in a recipe which does not include baking soda, consider adding a little bit of baking soda to the recipe.
(v) Blend the batter thoroughly after adding any additional ingredients called for in the recipe to ensure their full incorporation and then bake the cake normally.
MIXING THE BATTER
At the point of mixing the cake batter, here are a few things to consider.
(i) If you are using the creaming method of mixing the butter and sugar first, be sure to add as much air into the mixture as possible. When air is trapped in your batter it will help make your cake light and fluffy, however, do not overdo it. Do not cream your batter for a very long time. 5 to 8 minutes of creaming will be enough.
(ii) The reverse is the case after flour has been added. Over-mixing after the flour has been added will make the cake dense and hard after baking so don’t over mix the batter after you have added flour. Always use the alternate technique of adding flour and milk in various additions (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). This will guarantee that you do not over mix the batter. If you are using a stand mixer, stop the machine after most of the flour has been poured in and mix the rest using your spatula.
(iii) Separate the white from the yolk of one egg included in the recipe. Discard the white and add only the yolk to the batter. This step is necessary for only one egg, regardless of how many are used in the recipe. Egg whites are drying agents and too many will reduce the moisture content of the batter. To achieve extra fluffy cakes especially when making vanilla cakes, separate the egg whites from the egg yolk, make the batter with the egg yolks, beat the egg whites separately and fold it into the batter in the end.
Over baking your cakes could be a problem. Below are a few tips for avoiding this:
(i) Try dividing your batter into 2 baking pans and baking them in those separate pans instead of baking all the batter in one deep baking pan. The more quantity of batter poured in a pan, the longer you will need to bake the cake, and the more chances the cake will dry out during baking.
(ii) Be attentive while your cake is in the oven. Over baking a cake is sure to make it dry. Always bring out your cake from the oven as soon as your cake is baked. This is ascertained as soon as a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Always note the recommended baking time for the recipe you are using and start checking 8 minutes earlier.
(iii) If your cake is taking too long to bake, cover the top of the cake with parchment paper. This will not only prevent the cake from browning too much but will also prevent it from drying out.
STORING AND FROSTING
(i) Make sure your cakes are completely cool before storing them in a fridge. Seal them properly with foil before putting them in the fridge. When cakes are exposed over time, they gradually dry out. Sealing helps to keep moisture inside the cake.
(ii) Adding syrup (eg, sugar syrup) is a great way of adding moisture to your cakes. To use, pour or spray some syrup over your cake slices before frosting the cake.
Let’s have your testimonies rolling in here after adhering to these listed tips as the apply to your own baking concern
Living Strong.com: How do I make a cake Extra moist?
Grated Nutmeg: Terry's guide to achieving Soft, Fluffy and Moist Cakes
BHG Food: My cakes Turn Out Dry