How to Moisten a Dry Cake

It's always prudent to learn more about how to moisten a dry cake. Maybe it's a tweak to the recipe, maybe it's the quality of ingredients you use, or maybe it's just the phases of the moon, but ending up with a dry cake is never fun.

While the secret to moist cake is partly in the baking, there is a way to make cake moist after baking if you're worried things didn't work out right. Not only does this make the resulting cake more moist, it also adds some extra flavor.

Interested? All you'll need are a couple common kitchen tools and a single ingredient to make all the cakes you bake from now on extra delicious. Here's the one simple technique for making a dry chocolate cake more moist after it's already been baked.

2 pieces of chocolate cake on a plate.

Prep Time: 10 mins.

Rest Time: From 30 mins. to 2 hours (to soak the cake)

For Big Cakes:

Step #1. Prepare Ingredients

Simple syrup ingredients prepped on the counter, chocolate cakes on a cooling rack.
  • Simple syrup
  • Cake
  • Funnel
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Wooden skewers
  • Pastry brush

Note: For a 9" cake that is 2" high, we used about 1/2 cup of simple syrup. This may be adjusted according to dryness, sweetness of the cake, personal preference, etc.

Use a funnel to pour the syrup into a plastic squeeze bottle with a pour spout.

Simply syrup pouring through a funnel into a squeeze bottle.

Step #2. Poke Holes in the Cake

Woman poking holes into a chocolate cake with a wooden skewer.

Poke holes into the top of the cake with a bamboo skewer.

Step #3. Brush the Cake with Syrup

Woman brushing simple syrup onto cake with holes in it.

Brush the top of the cake with the syrup using a pastry brush (this will allow the cake to be moistened on the outside. It’s important to use a rubber brush to avoid leaving fibers behind).

Step #4. Pour Syrup into the Holes

Woman pouring syrup into chocolate cake with holes in it.

Pour the syrup over the cake so that it seeps into the holes and let it sit for 2 hours so it absorbs completely. This will make the inside of the cake moist.

The amount of syrup you will use depends on factors such as how dry the cake is, how moist you would like it, the size of the cake, the density of the cake (cakes that are more spongy will absorb more syrup) etc.

For Small Cakes:

Step #1. Cut Cake in Half & Poke Holes into Cake

A small chocolate cake sliced in half, woman poking holes into them with a wooden skewer.

You can follow the same steps as with big cakes but you should cut the cake in half first so that you can moisten the bottom half more efficiently. Poke holes into both sides of the cake.

A small chocolate cake sliced in half, woman poking holes into them with a wooden skewer.

Step #2. Brush Syrup Over Both Cake Halves

Woman brushing simple syrup onto cake with holes in it.

Brush syrup on both sides of cake using the rubber pastry brush. The smaller cakes only need about 30 minutes to soak.

Woman brushing simple syrup onto cake with holes in it.


2 chocolate cakes on a cooling rack, with an orange flower.

The cake is now ready to frost as desired and serve.

2 pieces of chocolate cake on a plate.

Now you should have no problem ensuring all your cakes from this point forward are as tender and moist as you could ever dream of. After learning how to fix a dry cake you've got nothing to fear when baking any number of fantastic pastries.

And we do mean any. This isn't just limited to a chocolate cake, after all. All different flavors and sizes work, as do plenty of other baked treats like muffins, breads, and cupcakes. Even cookies could benefit from a little simple syrup brush down if they're not looking up to snuff initially. When in doubt, just give it a try.

Now that you know the secret, what kind of cake are you most excited to bake knowing how moist it's going to be? There is no need to hesitate when it comes to experimentation.

Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out...How to Make Tomatillo Salsa

Tutorial Images Credit: In the Kitch

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