Why is my cake dry?
Cakes crumble because they’ve dried out too much. From years of baking, I know that dry cakes happen for one of two reasons; using too much of your dry ingredients or over-baking your cake.
The best ways to avoid a dry, crumbly cake are:
Measure your flour precisely to stop a dry cake
Be careful to use exactly the amount of flour the recipe calls for, and make sure you use a weighing scale for this to ensure accuracy. Basic scales are easy and cheap to pick up and totally worth the investment!
Never ‘round it up a bit’ or measure by eye, no matter how experienced you are at cake baking. Contrary to what you might think, the more experienced the baker, the more they will measure super accurately with scales rather than ‘using their judgement’.
Flour is what gives your cake its shape. It holds all of the other tasty ingredients together and it’s fairly flexible due to the gluten in it. However, you have to get the balance right between flour (a dry ingredient) and the wet ingredients that keep your cake moist.
Make sure your other dry ingredients are measured accurately too
Other dry ingredients that can make your cake too crumbly include things like cocoa powder and sugar. Note: sugar is sometimes considered a wet ingredient, but for cakes we treat it as a dry ingredient).
Cocoa powder absorbs a lot of moisture from your cake – even more than flour. While it’s great for getting a rich, chocolatey flavour, too much can make your cake crumbly. Always stick to the amount in the recipe to make sure you don’t use too much and dry out your cake.
Too much sugar can also cause cakes to crumble, as too much sugar makes cakes brittle. Think of boiled sweets or sugar lollies; the sugar is really hard! If you use too much in your cake, the crystals will clump together and harden inside your cake instead of staying as small crystals throughout it. Again, make sure you only use the amount of sugar the recipe calls for and measure precisely.
Over-baking can be a little trickier to overcome as part of this is down to knowing your own oven, however there are general steps you can take to avoid over-baking. Firstly, follow the recipe temperatures and times exactly and secondly check the bake a few minutes before it’s due to be done (a clean knife/skewer in the middle is the best test) in case it’s ready a little early. Once you’ve baked a few times with these basic steps, you’ll get to know if your oven runs a little hot or cool and start adjusting things accordingly.
We can help with your cake
Baking takes a lot of effort to master, and not everyone has the time. If you need a cake for an occasion but can’t fit baking into your schedule, you can order one of our cakes or bakes and let us do it for you.