Cakes begin to lose moisture the moment you put them in the oven to bake. Keeping cakes moist and fresh can be a challenge, especially if you need to bake a few days before serving. Glazing cake is one way that professional pastry chefs keep cakes moist until they are ready to be served. If you start with a recipe that produces a moist cake, keep it fresh, and top it with a flavorful glaze, you will have a delicious dessert without the last-minute rush.
Start With Moist Cake
A cake that is dry when it comes out of the oven will be challenging to re-moisten. Instead, follow the recipe or cake mix instructions carefully to avoid overbaking. Pay special attention to the temperature of your oven and the amount of time the cake needs to bake. Remove the cake from the oven as soon as it is done and cool it according to the recipe or cake mix instructions.
If your oven tends to run hot or heats unevenly, an inexpensive oven thermometer will help you adjust the temperature to compensate, preventing overbaking and keeping your cakes from drying out.
Spike With Simple Syrup
When your cake is completely cool, drizzle it with simple syrup. To make simple syrup, boil equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature before using.
If your cake is a bit too dry, or you need to keep it moist for several days, poke small holes with a toothpick or wooden skewer into the cake before drizzling it with simple syrup. This will allow the syrup to soak into the interior of the cake.
Cover With Glaze
Mix one part liquid with five parts confectioner's sugar to make a simple glaze. Choose a liquid that complements the flavor of your cake. For example, a glaze made with orange or cranberry juice will pair well with a vanilla pound cake. A glaze made with milk and a splash of vanilla will complement a chocolate tea cake.
Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet will catch drips, making it easier to clean up when you are finished glazing the cake. Place your cake on the rack, then pour the glaze over the top, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Let the cake sit for one to two hours to give the glaze time to harden.
Prevent Moisture Loss
Wrap the cake in plastic wrap to prevent moisture loss. If you will serve it, or finish any leftovers, within a two or three days, leave it at room temperature. If you need to store the cake for more than three days, wrap it and store it in the refrigerator. You can store glazed cakes in the freezer for up to six months. Bring your glazed cake to room temperature before serving.