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« 4.17.09: Baked Good of the Day: Cupcakes from Sweet Cakes, Kirkland | Main | Cakewalk Special: A Carrot Cake Caper in Seattle »

All Dried Out: Can Cake Make a Comeback?


Recently, a baker we know confessed that one of her least favorite cake descriptors is "moist". Why? "It just sounds gross" she says. Seems she's not alone--when we asked around, many seemed to share her disdain for the word.
Is it simply semantics? Because when pressed, nobody confessed to preferring dry cake to...well, not dry cake.

Which leads us to believe that as bad as the word moist may be, it's nowhere near as bad as eating dry cake.
And that brings us to the point: the cursed dry cake. It happens to the best of us--we accidentally forget to cover a cake (or cover it carelessly) and that fine crumb becomes a hardened, crisp enemy. But is it really the end? Or can that cake be brought back to life?
We're set on finding out.

Cupcakes drying out
And so, in an effort of furthering Cake Science, we've purchased a batch of cupcakes which we are currently letting dry out, with a mind to test out some re-moistening procedures to see if it truly might be possible to bring them back to life. 
Will it work? Is it possible for cake to make a comeback, or is just better to let it rest in peace? 
We'll find out soon enough.
If you've got any suggestions for bringing dead cake back to life, let us know!


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Reader Comments (31)

Soak it with liquer? Well, after a few bites you won't be able to tell the difference between dry and m_ist anyway, hi hi hi ;-)

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterNurit - 1fff

At my work we use our cakes odds and ends to make our "bread pudding"- they're soaked in so much custard you'd never know.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterAlana

;-) Make cakeballs!

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ditto. Make Cakeballs!

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterSimplySweeter

i agree-- there are so many gross-ish adjectives in the world and moist for cake is gross-ish!!

yes, soaking with simple syrup or flavoured liquers can do the trick! but sometimes a dead cake corpse is a dead cake corpse. you gotta toss it.

April 15 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

depends on how dry you let it get...if it's only slightly dry, you can definitely give it a light dabbing of simple syrup/liqueur...
if it's very dry, but not so dry it could kill someone if tossed at their head, I'd go w/the "bread pudding" option (made a lovely bread pudding out of gingerbread cake & creme anglaise once) OR you could simply make "cake crumb" out of it (but you'd have to make sure you got rid of the icing)...
if it's so dry it's hard and potentially lethal (see above), chuck it! (not at someone's head, pls) ;)

April 15 | Unregistered Commenterlilly

There are so many things to make with leftover cake--and who ever has that? A too-dry cake gives you a chance to try your hand at them: trifles, bourbon balls, or the Danish dessert, Danish Veiled Country Lass/Bondepige med Slor(made with dry cake crumbs, applesauce, whipped cream and jam) come immediately to mind.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterGiovanna

don t know of any suggestions to give, but that would be interesting :)

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

I think dry cake (especially if it is vanilla with powdered sugar buttercream) is a great excuse to bring out a bowl and to just pour milk all over it. I love that!

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterPinky

What a cool experiment! Whenever I have chocolate cake that is a little dry, I mix it through vanilla ice cream and it is delicious!

I can't wait to see the results!

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

I agree with the cake crumb suggestions. I know a pastry chef who uses them as an ingredient for the filling in cinnamon rolls.

I guess you cna play around with syrups and liquors but I'm not exactly sure. Can't wait to see the result of this great experiment.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterEliana

I vote for mixing it in ice cream as well... or better yet, make fresh ice cream and mix in the dried dehydrated cake in the process so it'll soak up more "moisture"....
Thinking about dry cake makes me so thirsty...

I for one LOVE moist cake. I revere it. To me it's a delicious masterpiece.

If you don't want to re-make the dried cake into something else, try this trick my mom taught me:
Lightly soak a paper towel (best the use the ones that are courser not the fluffy soft ones) in water and wrap it around the cake. Pop it in the microwave and the cake will soak up the moisture from the paper towel. Of course you must then eat it immediately!

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterDidi

to the person who said make cake balls....uh..no. dry cake balls are just as unpleasant as cripsy cakes. I say fry it lol. Soak it in liquor! Maybe a syrup? It can be done! I BELIEVE IN YOU CAKESPY!

on the apprentice they had a cupcake challange where the men made TERRIBLE cupcakes... they soaked them in something.. i think it was simple syrup....it didnt make them taste better but they got more...moist lol.

April 16 | Unregistered Commenteragoodbuild

I'll be honest: I often purposefully don't cover cake overnight. Morning-after cake (icing a little hard, cake a little dry) is almost better then fresh cake! It's not something I would serve to a guest, because I know many people don't enjoy it, but to me, there's no better breakfast!

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I overbaked some cupcakes once and they were dry. I put them in a tightly sealed tupperware and the next day they were moist. Go figure.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterBri

my brother & i love to eat cake that has been left out uncovered... we break it into chunks, and pour milk over it. no matter what flavor cake, it is delicious!!!

April 16 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

All of the men in my family would be drooling over your dried cake. Slice it, put it in a bowl, pour milk over the top and they are happy little boys.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer D.

Hope it'll make a comeback!!

By the way, the emails still won't load for me - you know what I'm talking about.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

Bakers hate the word moist because it's, like, the holy grail of cakedom. Or more specifically, they hate the word "dry" because all too often it's the go-to descriptor for anything besides a box mix cake. And for the record, there is a middle ground between dry and moist. I call it "cakey," which is horribly vague, but I suppose it's a soft, but not fudgy cake, with a light feathery texture. Maybe like an angel food or chiffon cake? I think of chocolate as being more moist, and lighter cakes as, uh, cakey. I'm not good with words today.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterEmmy

Bringing cake back from the dead. Hmmmmm. Well, if anyone can do it, you can. However, this does make me ponder a conversation that some of my former co-workers seemed particularly interested in a few years ago. Especially the men. Vampires vs. Zombies and the reanimation of the dead. Are there some gastronomic rules for the gateau?

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterAnali

some sort of pudding? adding in a cream egg mixture to dry cake pieces and baking it???

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
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