FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

Sugar Syrup

Ahhh Sugar Syrup. My new and most amazing discovery! It’s the small things that seem to make the biggest difference in my baking. I hadn’t even heard of sugar syrup until I went to the Peggy Porschen sugar roses class last year. I mean I had heard of it but I just thought it was something people added to give a cake more taste – like with lemon cakes and the like, but no. I was wrong.

What sugar syrup does

One of the ladies at the sugar roses class had also been to one of the Peggy Porschen cake baking classes and she mentioned how sugar syrup had completely changed her cakes. They’re now super moist. The trick – as she told me, is to brush sugar syrup directly onto a warm cake once it comes out of the oven. This basically stops the cake from continuing to bake in it’s very hot tin once it’s removed from the oven – preventing it from drying out. The added water keeps the cake super moist.

So armed with this information I gave it a go and do you know what? It’s worked on every single cake I’ve made so far! Madeira cake, chocolate cake, Victoria sponge cake and even cupcakes – actually especially cupcakes!

The Ingredients

I’ve tried out a few different recipes but the general rule of thumb is to use the same amount in grams of sugar as millilitres in water then add a dash of flavour. The following quantity is suitable for an 8″ cake. You will have some left over though. Don’t be tempted to use it all.

  • 100g sugar – granulated/ caster/ golden – anything goes
  • 100ml water
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence / lemon juice / almond/ orange essence
  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the flavour and leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

Top tip: I use a bristle brush as it is easier to control the sugar syrup than with a silicon one. It also stops you adding too much in one go.

SUGAR SYRUP recipe

Another sugar syrup tip.

Another time I saw sugar syrup being used was at the Squires Kitchen cake show. During her workshop Helen Mansey brushed her cake (which was baked the day before) with sugar syrup when she was stacking the layers. She added a light coating of syrup to the top of each cake using a pastry brush in exactly the same way as described above before she covered each cake layer with chocolate ganache. I’ve never seen that done before but she said that it keeps the cake moist as she bakes a cake on a Monday and decorates it ready for delivery on Friday/Saturday. She said the cake would still be okay to eat a week after the wedding. I’m not sure cake would last that long in my house but it’s good to know.

So, do you use sugar syrup? What flavours do you use? I’d love to know. Just leave a comment below and share your tried and tested recipes with the whole baking gang.

EmmaMT

x


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20 Comments on FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

  1. WoW thanks Emma, yes I have heard of it but never really tried it before..but I will do so now.. sounds amazing! Thanks for the post really appreciated!

  2. That is so funny – I am making my first wedding cake in a fortnight and late into the night yesterday I was brushing sugar syrup on only half of some practice sponge cake and not on the other – and trying to decide whether or not to use it in the actual cake (and if so – lemon or vanilla) – I will leave them for 2 days and try again to see the difference it makes over time. – would be very interested in other peoples comments. My fear is making it too sludgy and sickly – but also def don’t want a dry cake! After last night’s taste test I think I had decided on yes to Sugar syrup with a touch of vanilla.

    • Ooooh I like your testing tactics. How did the cake fair after two days?

      I’ve never really felt the sugar syrup adds too much sweetness, but then again I do have a sweet tooth!

      EmmaMT
      x

    • Hello,

      I do add vanilla essence to my chocolate cakes as I think it gives it that little something extra but you can try it without. I think it might make it taste a little richer. Let me know how you get on. I’d love to know.

      EmmaMT
      x

  3. The same as Victoria I also am making my first wedding cake…..its a naked wedding cake so the tips on sugar syrup has been very welcome. I have practised the 6,8&10 inch maderia cake recipe and all have been successful…..I need now to try another one with the sugar syrup method. Was it successful for your cake Victoria?

  4. I now bake all my cakes using your recipe of half butter half stork marg. and sometimes I too wrap the tin in paper or a wet tea towel. So glad I found your page. Thank you for sharing ?

    • I had decided that the syrup was the way forward in terms of taste and texture – unfortunately gave a wedge of both samples to the lady ordering the Wedding Cake and she chose the one without syrup so it wouldn’t be too sweet – now doubly confused!!

      • Maybe just make a really low sugar syrup to keep it moist- say 10g sugar to 100g water + flavour? I haven’t tried this but I’m sure it will work.

        EmmaMT

  5. Another option could be to sligtly lessen the amount of sugar in the cake batter. I just thinking …loud!!!

    • I like your thinking! I made a Madeira last weekend to test some timings and I left it naked. I just cut a slice and add some raspberry jam. I have to say that the ‘crust’ of the cake tastes amazing once the sugar syrup has dried. Another benefit I hadn’t considered.

      EmmaMT

  6. Hi Emma. Have just tried your madeira cake recipe for the first time, just taken it from the oven and it smells and looks gorgeous! I’ve never tried sugar syrup before and wondered how much you put on and is it just on the top or sides as well? also how long will the syrup keep for? So glad i found your site will be a regular visitor from now on. Thank you.

  7. Hi just a quick one i’m making a four teir wedding cake one plain , one orange the other two lemon could i still add sugar syrup to these cake which have been in the freeze

    • Hello,

      Yes you can add the sugar syrup to the completely defrosted cakes. Just brush them don’t soak them or you’ll end up with a soggy mess.

      Sounds like one amazing cake!

      Happy baking

      EmmaMT

  8. HELP!!! My Daughter wants me to make a naked cake for her wedding. This will be my first naked cake. I will need to bake the cake layers and then travel to the wedding site to assemble. I will have to travel on Thursday/Friday before the wedding on Saturday. I have planed on cooking the top two layers on Tuesday and bottom layer on Wednesday. Do you think I should I freeze the cake layers with the sugar syrup already on the cake or do I wait and put the sugar syrup on the cake after it has thawed?

    • Hello. If you’re baking on Tuesday I would freeze the cake. I add the sugar syrup while the cake is still warm so it soaks in. I would then wait for the cake to cool completely before freezing.
      When you defrost unwrap the cakes then sit on cooling rack. Once completely defrosted wrap in fresh cling film for traveling hope that helps. X

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