How to Keep Cakes Moist After Baking

A dry cake is definitely not a good cake. Finding your cake dry and crumbly after spending all that time baking can be truly disappointing. But don’t panic! Luckily, there are plenty of easy-peasy ways like wrapping and storing that can make all the difference in restoring moistness to your cake.

Hi! My name is Michelle, and I can’t tell you how many cakes I’ve made (and consumed) in my lifetime. It would be quite an astounding number. With that said, I have had to figure out how to keep my cakes as moist as possible after baking, especially if I plan to sell them.

Keeping a cake nice and moist after baking isn’t too challenging, although it will require a few extra steps. You will also need to be a bit pickier about your procedure. 

Ready to fix a dry cake and make it moist? Keep reading.

7 Ways to Moisten Cakes After Baking

I will start by saying this: a moist cake will start with the right recipe. A good cake recipe will ensure that you bake up an ultra-moist cake. If your cake came out dry, here are seven possible ways to save the mess and make it moist again.

1. Frost Your Cake ASAP

Frosting will seal the moisture inside of the cake, keeping it moist wherever it goes – including keeping the cake moist in the fridge and freezer.

Make sure to cool the cake entirely before frosting it. Trying to apply frosting to a warm cake will end in a melted disaster. 

If you need to cool the cake down quickly, wrap the warm cake in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. Wait around a half-hour, and it should be cooled down enough to frost. By the way, you can also keep a cake in the freezer for several weeks before you have to frost it.

When frosting your cake, make sure that every inch is covered. If a piece of cake is playing peek-a-boo with the outside air, it can lead to a dried-out cake that is seriously lacking moisture. No, thanks!

2. Store Your Cake Properly

Another important thing to consider is cake storage. A cake stored properly makes all the difference between a cake that is left to the elements. You can store cakes on the counter, in the fridge, or in the freezer. Here’s how.

  • Room temperature. The best way to store a cake is to leave it on the counter. That way, it won’t come into contact with anything that could suck moisture out of it – like cold air from a fridge. However, don’t leave it unsealed. A cake stand is an excellent option.
  • Fridge. Yes, you can store cakes in the fridge – even though it might not be “ideal”. As long as the cake is properly stored, such as in plastic wrap or a cake box, it can easily stay moist for up to a week.
  • Freezer. The freezer is an even better option for long-term storage. Place a cake in the freezer, but make sure it’s stored with plastic wrap in an airtight container, if possible. When storing slices, wrap them individually for the best results.

3. Soak Your Cake in a Liquid

My favorite way to fix a dry cake after baking is to use a simple syrup coating. All you need to do is apply simple syrup to the top of your cake using a brush. You can buy simple syrup from the store or make your own. If you want to make your own syrup, all you need is a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, bring to a simmer on medium to high heat, or until all the sugar has fully dissolved. 

Tip: I suggest starting with ½ a cup of sugar and ½ cup of water if you’re making an 8-inch multilayer cake and scaling up and down based on this amount. You don’t need a lot, only two to three tablespoons per layer. Your cake already contains enough sugar so you want to add just enough syrup to moisten the cake without making it overly sweet.

When your cake is done baking, use a pastry brush to “paint” simple syrup over the entire cake. This is a simple way to lock in moisture before you even frost it. Not only does it lock in moisture, but it adds a touch of extra sweetness to the final product. No complaints about that!

Instead of simple syrup, milk bar cake recipes always come with a “milk/cake soak”. The basic cake soak for their famous birthday cake is vanilla milk which consists of nothing but a few drops of vanilla mixed with milk. 

I like this method a lot because you can easily change up the flavor of your milk soak to better bring out the flavor of your cake. For example, I would use coffee milk soak for my chocolate cake to intensify the chocolate flavor. 

Simply pour some milk into a shallow bowl, dip your brush inside, and brush the top of your cake.

4. Use a Towel

We might use towels to dry off, but you can use a towel to make your cake moist and delicious once more. This method is only used if you notice your cake is dry right when you take it out of the oven.

If so, simply find a clean and thick towel and place it on top of the cake while it’s cooling. What this does is block any evaporation from leaving the area. The only place the extra moisture has to go is right back into your cake. Science people, science!

5. Reheat It

Reheating your cake is another way to make it moister. This is because when your cake is reheated, air pockets inside it expand which gives moisture another chance to reach inside. 

Also, if your cake contains a lot of butter or chocolate, heating it will lead these ingredients to melt, softening and moistening the texture of your cake again. 

Steaming is an obvious way to go about adding moisture to anything. When it comes to baking, cakes that are steam baked always retain moisture way better than a regular cake does.

To steam-bake a cake you want to first preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Fill a tray with water and place it on the bottom rack in your oven.

Tip: You want to make sure to place your cake in a tray or an oven-safe plate before steaming it so that the barrier is there to prevent your cake bottom from getting too soggy. Leave it in for about five to ten minutes and before you know it, you’ll have a moist cake.

A quicker way to moisten your cake is by reheating it with a microwave. This will save you time preheating your oven. All you need is a paper towel and a plate to hold your cake.

First, dampen your paper towel and lay it on your microwave-safe plate. Place your cake on top and place another dampened paper towel on top of your cake, sandwiching it. Then all you need to do is to “nuke” it a few times in 10-15 seconds intervals, checking between each time to make sure nothing is browning or burning. 

The only downside to this method is the moistened effect will only last for a short while after you microwave it. So use this method just before you serve your cake for the best results.

6. Fill It Up!

A good, moist filling can sometimes make all the difference for your dried out cake. For example, a raspberry jam filling or a delectable whipped cream can add some serious moisture to your cake. 

So, even if your cake wasn’t technically “supposed” to have a filling, it doesn’t mean you can’t add one. The best part is, nobody will know you’re trying to mask dryness. They will be enjoying your moist cake too much!

7. Repurpose It

Sometimes a dried cake just can’t be fixed. Or maybe you don’t want to? Whatever your reason may be, don’t think your cake is destined for the receptacle. You can always opt to repurpose your cake. Here are a few ideas.


It’s pretty easy to keep a cake moist after baking. It all comes down to how it’s stored and when it’s frosted. But if you’re still curious about how to keep cakes moist after baking, check out these commonly asked questions asked by bakers just like you.

How do you keep a cake moist for days?

If the cake is unfrosted, then you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it on the counter for five days or in the freezer for weeks. If frosted, the shelf life shortens a bit, but it also ensures that the cake stays moist as frosting seals the cake and keeps the moisture inside.

How do I make a cake moister?

There are many ways to make a cake moister. One of the simplest ways is to avoid overbaking it. When mixing ingredients, use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, and add oil and sour cream. You shouldn’t over-cream or over-mix the batter. Mix room temp butter with flour.

What is a secret ingredient to moisten cakes?

Some of the “secret ingredients” some bakers might share include room-temperature butter, sour cream, yogurt, and oil

Why is my cake hard and dry?

A hard and dry cake is likely an overbaked cake. It is so important to make sure you’re following the cake recipe entirely and not letting your cake sit in a hot oven for even a second more. Another culprit for hard and dry cake is too many dry ingredients, such as flour.

Can you leave freshly baked cake out overnight?

Yes, but I would recommend storing it in something like a cake stand or an airtight container. Just make sure it’s cooled before it is stored. Otherwise, the cake may become soggy and undesirable.

Final Words

Baking a moist cake might be simple, but keeping it moist after baking is another challenge. The best thing to do is to frost the cake asap. You should also coat it with a fine layer of simple syrup. Proper storage is also key, whether stored on the counter, fridge, or freezer.

How do you keep cake moist after baking? Share tips for us to try, too!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • David J Guith

    Thanks for all the information—very helpful Michelle!