Brown Sugar Is The Sweet Addition You Need For Moist Chocolate Cake

Ever find yourself craving chocolate cake but then feel disappointed when the cake comes out of the oven dry and crumbly? The addition of cocoa powder in chocolate cake batter can result in a drier cake rather than a perfectly moist one. The reason is that cocoa powder is a dry ingredient that soaks up the liquid from the batter like a sponge and, as a result, dries out the cake. There's a remedy for this, as one secret ingredient can make your homemade chocolate cakes delightfully moist. And that ingredient, which may already be in your pantry, is none other than brown sugar.

While brown sugar also absorbs moisture in the batter, it retains it during baking rather than drying out the cake like cocoa powder does. That's because brown sugar is more hygroscopic than white sugar, meaning it locks in moisture better. Out of the oven, your chocolate cake won't be crumbly or dry, and you may find that the cake retains its moisture for a longer length of time, thanks to the brown sugar. Since brown sugar moistens your baked goodies, try not to add extra wet ingredients, such as more oil, milk, or eggs. In the case of cookies, they may be chewier, spread more, and bake up thicker than usual. With cakes, they may be more soft and dense. 

Brown sugar lends caramel undertones and helps lock in moisture

Incorporating brown sugar into your chocolate cake recipes can elevate them from good to unforgettable. Tasting Table's recipe developer, Molly Allen, demonstrates this beautifully in her elegant yet simple death by chocolate cake recipe. In this recipe, Allen incorporates both brown and white sugar. As the fudgy crumb proves, the brown sugar addition keeps the cake moist. The white sugar, meanwhile, adds sweetness, as it is sweeter than the brown sugar. 

Allen also mixes the sugars with dry ingredients before combining them with wet ones. This ensures an even distribution of the sugars, hence resulting in an even distribution of moisture retention throughout the cake batter. After baking, Allen's cake is moist and decadent, with molasses and caramel undertones from the brown sugar. 

Once the cake cools, Allen adds another layer of moisture; she spreads a luscious chocolate frosting over the top. It's no wonder that her creation is named "death by chocolate cake." Each bite is moist and rich — a dream for chocolate lovers. So, the next time you're ready to bake a chocolate cake, remember this simple trick: Add brown sugar to keep the cake moist and fudgy.