If you’re into the sweet stuff, chances are you’ve seen a fair amount of baking and decorating videos on Instagram and YouTube. Not only do the Insta-bakers make whipping up a cake look easy-as-pie with their super-speed videos, they get the whole buttercream scrape concept perfect every time! Jealous yet?
You might have noticed another interesting thing about these videos. In quite a few the bakers generously douse their cake layers with liquid before stacking and decorating their edible marvel. Good for you if you’re already familiar with this nifty trick, but for those not yet in the know, dousing cakes with simple syrup is a highly achievable bit of baking magic you absolutely have to try.
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What is simple syrup?
As the name implies, making simple syrup is a piece of cake. What you need is 1 part white granulated sugar for 1 part water. E.g. a cup of sugar for each cup of water.
Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and slowly bring the mixture to a boil.
Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. This should take about 2 minutes if you’re using 1 cup for sugar and 1 cup of water.
Remove your saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool down to room temperature. Once cooled the syrup can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four weeks. Don’t believe it’s that easy? Watch this baker make a batch of simple syrup in no time at all:
Now the real fun begins.
You can douse your cake with quite a bit of simple syrup before it gets too soggy, but as a start work on 80ml for a 22cm layer.
Spooning the syrup onto layers prior to assembly works well, or using a pastry brush, but if you want to go all out, a refillable condiment bottle is ideal for achieving an even spread. Alternatively, you can take any plastic screw-top bottle and prick holes in the cap with a needle to create a perfect DIY syrup spraying utensil. Once your layers are doused you can stack, ice and decorate them as per normal.
For an even better way to add pizzazz to cakes, flavour your simple syrup with spices, spirits or essences of your choice.
Chocolate syrup for an extra rich chocolate cake is no sweat, simply add 1 1/2 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa and ½ tsp. of vanilla extract to your syrup for every cup of sugar. Alternatively, you can give your chocolate cake a mocha flavour by using filtered coffee instead of water.
Why the excitement?
Simple syrup adds essential moisture to any kind of cake while keeping layers soft and delicious throughout every phase of decorating. In addition, dousing cake with simpler syrup keeps it fresh for way longer. Baked layers that are well soaked with simple syrup stay fresh for up to 2 weeks before decorating, as long as you keep them refrigerated. A syrup doused cake also freezes better and remains perfect after defrosting for up to 3 months.
So, in conclusion, using simple syrup makes cakes more delicious, more scrumptious and longer-lasting than ever before. No wonder the Insta-bakers have us all drooling over our phone screens.