The One Thing You Can Do Ahead Of Time To Prevent Dry Cake

Cake is meant to be a lot of things – delicately fluffy, moist, not too sweet, and have a good crumb. But what it is not meant to be is dry. Some types of cake – especially chocolate cakes – tend to dry out faster than others. Cakes that have added ingredients like carrots or fruit bump up the moisture and don't tend to be dry. Plenty of factors can cause a dry cake, though, and overbaking is number one. This can easily be prevented by using a timer and the tried and true method of using a toothpick to test doneness. 

Dry cakes – including brownies and quick breads like banana bread – can also be the result of overmixing your batter. If you're using a mixer, try to finish mixing by hand, and only until you can't see dry flour. If you tend to get large clumps of flour in your batter, try sifting your flour or adding it slowly instead of in one go (via MasterClass).

However, preventing a dry cake usually starts when you're gathering your ingredients.

Measuring cups are fine to measure flour, but a digital scale is better

Flour makes up the bulk of a cake's recipe because it provides the structure of your cake (via Bake Magazine) If you add too much flour, your cake will be dry and might crack. When measuring the amount of flour called for, if the recipe creator specifies how they came by that measurement – whether it's scoop and level or spoon and level – follow their instructions. 

If no method is specified, opt for the spoon and level method. Because of flour's ability to be packed and pressed into a measuring cup it's very easy to add too much flour to your batter. However, professional bakers and plenty of home bakers achieve accurate, consistent results with a digital scale, so if you don't already have one, go get one (via Bob's Red Mill).

Don't despair if your cake is dry when it comes out of the oven because there are a few things you can do to ensure nothing goes to waste. You can brush the sponge with a simple syrup made of water and sugar. You can even get creative and use milk or a flavored liqueur. Adding a layer of jam or buttercream can also help you achieve a moist cake. If your cake is too far gone, you can crumble it and mix it with frosting to make cake pops or cake truffles, or use it for cake bread pudding (via MasterClass).