I Follow the Recipe Exactly . . . But My Cake Is Always Dry
1. My cake is never moist (the vast majority) and
2. My dough is too wet.
My trick? I always know why.
Andy shares his tricks after the jump.
What's a baker to do? Conveniently, I was weaned on cookbooks. The old Betty Crocker Cookbook tells the reader to 1. dip, 2. level, and 3. pour. Dip the measuring cup into the flour and overfill. Use a chopstick, or the flat side of a knife to level the flour without packing it down. Pour your perfectly measured cup into the mixing bowl and repeat until you have all the flour you need.
There's an alternative method that's more exact, but I never use it. Professional baker like Anne-Marie Blanco weigh their ingredients. 8 ounces of flour is always 8 ounces. If I had to weigh I'd just go to a good bakery.
With regard to the "too wet" recipes my intuition is less accurate, but I take my best shot and lead with an egg question.
"Tell me about your eggs ... do you get the nice extra large or jumbo eggs?"
If so, that's your problem. Like so many things on the market, eggs just keep getting bigger. Standards for recipe writing (there are lots) dictate the use of large eggs, which contain 2 fluid ounces each. A jumbo egg has 2.5 ounces. 4 large eggs = 8 ounces and 4 jumbos = 10 ounces. If you're a smallish batch of cookies those extra two ounces might very well make you a bit soft around the middle.
There are three good things about downsizing your eggs. First, large cost less than jumbo. Second, your recipes will come out better. Third, you'll be getting a little less cholesterol. That means you can justify the butter in the cookie.
Now, if you're in the mood for Almond Scones with Chocolate Butter you're ready to bake.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.