Have you ever had a cake that you baked a little too long or it got a bit hard or dried out??

All you need to do is soften it, by making a flavorful syrup to moisten it. Simple syrups are used all the time in European style cakes especially sponge cakes that tend to be dry or flavorless.

First, make a simple sugar syrup. Combine equal parts water and granulated sugar; for example, 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil in a saucepan and then take it off the heat and allow it to cool. Now you can add any flavors you want.

For a vanilla syrup, add about 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean that you have sliced open and scraped out.

For a lemon syrup, add a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a touch of lemon extract.

Adding a liqueur adds wonderful flavor as well. Almond, coffee or raspberry liqueurs are my favorites. Add a few tablespoons to the simple syrup and then taste it.

Once you are happy with the flavor poke some holes in the cake you want to moisten. The holes should be deep enough to allow the syrup to penetrate throughout the cake. I like to use thin wooden skewers. You don’t want the holes to be obvious or look like someone mauled your cake. Using a pastry brush dipped into the syrup brush it all over the cake. You will notice the cake will absorb the liquid like a sponge soaks up water. Once the cake appears moist stop brushing. The cake should not appear wet. Allow your refreshed cake to soak in all of its glory with its newly found flavors.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail