The Easy Trick That Will Save Your Over-Baked Cake

Are you inspired by baking shows like "The Great British Baking Show," or do you think you can do better than the clueless contestants on "Nailed It"? Most of us bake a cake a few times a year, perhaps for a birthday or the holidays. Those cakes are either from a box, or scratch for the more adventurous baker. Either way, it's doubtful that a homemade cake would be confused with a professionally baked and decorated one.

Patissiers usually have two years of culinary education and on-the-job training to hone their craft. Home cooks can't compete with that, but we can find lots of inspiration and tips on the internet and in cookbooks to help. Since the pandemic began, many online cooking schools have been offered live and previously filmed. These tips, along with practice, can take your cakes to the next level. Although we will photograph a pretty cake, people remember the taste.

Craftsy recommends that bakers carve out three to eight hours to bake and decorate a cake properly. As easy as it is to bake a cake, it's equally as easy to mess it up. Bakers can overmix the batter, which results in a tough texture instead of a tender cake. Or skip placing parchment on the bottom of the cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Cakes can be dry from over-baking, too much flour, or chilling the cake too long in the refrigerator. Luckily, we have a solution!

Resuscitating a dry cake

BuzzFeed posted nine tips for creating professional tasting and looking cakes. Amongst the tips is the solution to a dry cake. According to Lyndsay Sung of Coco Cake Land, painting on a simple syrup will add moisture to the cake. Simple syrup will thicken as it cools, so it won't make your cake soggy. This can be a plain vanilla simple syrup; made by adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to cooled simple syrup.

You can also infuse different flavors by adding ingredients to the boiling sugar and water. Try citrus peel, flowers, herbs, coffee, tea bags, or berries to transform the taste of the cake. For an adult-only cake, use a rosé simple syrup. Play around with the sweetener by substituting maple syrup or honey for the granulated sugar to further change the profile. Wouldn't a rosemary blackberry simple syrup be delicious on a chocolate cake?

Before you decorate, be sure to trim the domes off of the layers to have a level cake. Place a piping bag in a tall drinking glass and fill the bag with frosting. The first coat of frosting is a thin layer called the crumb coat. Allow that to harden and add a thicker coating of frosting. Any mistakes can be covered with berries or sprinkles. Finally, if you need that Instagram-worthy shot (did you really eat cake if you don't?), place the cake in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting it. We think we just saved two years of schooling!