The Real Secret To Extra Moist Cakes Is To Create Steam In Your Oven

One of the greatest tragedies to befall any cake is a dry crumb, no matter how much ice cream, coffee, or milk you try to use as a remedy. Baking is a dry cooking method that circulates hot air around the wet batter. Over-cooking, high temperatures, and mismeasuring ingredients can often result in cakes drying out in the oven. Adding steam to the arid oven heat will effectively safeguard against these mistakes. To create steam in the oven, you'll need to make a water bath for your cake. 

You can create a water bath by setting the baking tin inside of a larger roasting pan filled partially with steaming water. One way to do this is by placing the cake tin with the batter in it directly into the water bath. First, you'll wrap the outside of the cake pan in foil to protect the cake batter from the hot water (especially if you're using a springform pan). Then, fill the tin with cake batter, place it in a larger metal roasting dish, and place them both on the middle shelf in your oven. Pour hot, steaming water into the roasting dish unti it reaches halfway up the length of the cake tin, close the oven, and bake. 

The second method has you partially fill a large, circular oven-safe pan with boiling water and place the water bath on the lowest shelf in a preheated oven. Then, you'll place the cake tin on the middle shelf. The oven will circulate the steam rising from the water to effectively create a steam bath for the cake.

Tips for creating a successful cake water bath

Except for bread pudding and tres leches, soggy cake is about as unacceptable as dry cake is. While water baths will ensure a moist cake, they also pose the risk of seeping into the cake batter, causing a too-wet bottom. Luckily, there are a few measures you can take to prevent seepage and spillage. The first and most obvious safeguard is not adding too much water to the roasting pan; all you need is an inch of water, whether you're using tin foil or placing the water bath on the bottom rack.

If you're using tin foil to protect the cake batter from seepage, you can add an extra layer of protection by first lining the baking tin with parchment paper before adding the batter. A tip to ensure that the cake stays moist while it cools is to let the cake cool in the water bath inside the oven. After the cake has finished baking, turn off the heat and slightly open the oven door so that the cake will cool in a moist environment.

Cheesecakes and sponge cakes are the most common candidates for water baths, but you can employ this technique with any type of cake. It's the perfect safeguard when trying new recipes or baking in drier climates for the first time.