Why are my cakes coming out so dry?
By shortytlk from WV
Usually a cake is too dry because it is cooked too long. I don't know how old your oven is, but your oven might be heating higher than it shows on the temperature knob (therefore you are cooking them hotter than what you think).
This is a great website that will answer your questions:
If you cannot change your oven, then try keeping an ovenproof dish filled with water, alongside the cake tin, while the cake bakes. Another idea to salvage a dry cake is to poke holes in the cake with a toothpick, and pour in a good amount of syrup, while it is still in the baking dish, and let it sit for a while before turning it out, to make it more moist.
I do have an older oven, so I can't offer a cooking comparison between old and new ovens; and I have never tried this with a cake. Regardless, this hint works wonderfully with many of the quick breads and muffins I make with consistently moist results: I always add an extra egg to the recipe and the resulting treats always come out deliciously moist. It just might work with a cake, too, if you are interested in experimenting. Good luck and happy eating. :-)
Since you mentioned that you have an older oven, I would place a oven safe thermometer inside the oven and see if it comes to the temperature you selected or does it go higher? I did this with an older oven I had so I could adjust cooking times.
You might be over baking your cakes. Take the cake out as soon as it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, take cake out of the oven, and place pan on top of a cooling rack to cool. Or, try adding a half cup or so of plain yogurt or applesauce, some ingredient to add more moisture to the batter. Good luck!
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When I make a cake, the directions are to bake for a certain amount of time or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When I wait until the toothpick comes out totally clean, the cake is very dry. Can the toothpick be a little wet, and the cake still be okay to take out of the oven?
Thanks for any and all replies.
P.J. from Delaware
I take my cakes out when there is a small amount on the toothpick and they are just fine. Another thing that I do is frost the cake when it is still a little bit warm. I think the frosting helps trap some of the moisture in the cake. Mine almost always turn out moist. Good luck! (12/12/2005)
If there is a little of cooked cake on the toothpick, that's OK. What you're supposed to check with the toothpick is to make sure there's no "wet" or "uncooked" batter. If the cake cracks a little on top, you know it's done (unless batter is oozing out, which means your oven is baking too hot). Baking any longer will give you a dry cake. (12/12/2005)
Some other ways to tell if your cake is done: (1) look along the edges - if they have come loose from the side of the pan, your cake is done. (2) Use your clean index finger and press lightly on the top of the cake near the center, it should spring back up immediately. (3) If you can smell the cake from other areas of your house, it's either done or just about done. :-) (12/12/2005)
If you are using the new silicone baking pans, I have noticed they turn out the baked goods on the dry side. (12/13/2005)
I make wedding cakes periodically and like to frost and decorate them while frozen. I usually freeze the cake layers while they are still warm. This seems to lock in the moisture. (12/13/2005)
One of the ways to see if your cake is cooked properly is to press the center of the cake with your finger if it springs back that means that your cake is cooked well. Another way is to insert a skewer or tooth pick in the cake if it comes out clean or just a little mixture on it then it is well cooked. (05/04/2007)