Welcome to Real Baking with Rose, the personal blog of author Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Watch the Baking Bible
Come Alive

Spend A Moment with Rose, in this video portrait by Ben Fink.

Check out my new creations

Rose's Alpha Bakers

Rose's Alpha Bakers for the Bread Bible


Get the blog delivered by email. Enter your address:

Eat your books
Previous Book

Roses' Cookbooks

The Baking Bible

The Baking Bible

Buy from Amazon: USA | Canada | France | Germany | UK

Buy from Barnes & Noble
Buy from IndieBound

Next Book

Current Announcements

My new non-stick rolling pin, rolling mat, and "fast tracks" are now available. Click on Rose's Family of Bakeware Products, and then click on APG, Rose's Signature Series.

Soaking Syrup for Layer Cakes

Feb 7, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose


Does a soaking syrup to well on a devil's food cake?


A small sprinkling of syrup will work, but I'm like a sponge cake, layer cakes become soggy/pasty with too much syrup.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Lynne
09/ 3/2013 12:40 PM

Hi Lynne,
We ask have you had success with similar cakes in The Cake Bible, such as the All-Occasion Downy Butter cake or the All American Chocolate Cake?
If you were testing the cake and the sides were only shrinking in when the cakes were removed from the oven, we would think that they wed not over baked. If you applied the syrup and then wrapped the cakes until you frosted them, the syrup amount as stated is correct.
We have modified the chocolate cake by replacing some of the butter with safflower oil. In Rose's Heavenly cakes, we replaced about 20% of the butter with the oil and mixed in at the same time.
Rose & Woody



I used Rose's butter yellow and chocolate batter wedding cake and it turned out a little dry despite simple syrup application. Was it over baked? Did I not use enough syrup?



Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Tia
03/ 2/2013 10:05 AM

Hi Tia,
We are assuming that you are refrigerating the white cake with the buttercream as any egg based buttercream needs to be refrigerated for food safety. The frosted cake should be moist enough for the couple of days in the refrigerated. We suggest letting the frosted cake warm up at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours.
If you have had previous experience with this cake being dry after two days of refrigeration, you moisten it with a Simple Syrup which is just water and sugar, which a recipe is on page 505 in The Cake Bible.
Rose & Woody


I am making the white buttercream cake for my daughter's wedding. I've made the cakes on Friday for a Sunday wedding. Do I need to add the syrup to keep the cake moist or will it be moist enough without it? If it would be best to use it, is there something I can substitute for the liqeur? They do not want any alcohol at their wedding.


Hi Cheryl,
In both The Cake Bible and Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Rose has two moist carrot cakes that you may want to try. We have not had anybody requesting a need for syrupping them due to a lack of moistness. However, Rose also has simple sugar syrup recipes in both books as well, which you could always add flavorings to enhance the syrup.
Rose & Woody


cheryl doenitz
cheryl doenitz
10/20/2012 10:36 PM

I am looking for the J Alexander Carrot Cake Receipe, or a carrot cake that has a soaking syrup. Or maybe you could suggest a soaking syrup for a carrot cake Thanks


Thanks, Woody..I had a feeling that pure lemon juice would effect the ingredients, which is why I thought I'd ask :) Will try lemon oil as suggested by you. Haven't got RHC yet..will do soon.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Yasmin
06/ 3/2011 01:37 AM

Hi Yasmin,
If you have Rose's Heavenly cakes, take a look at the Woody Lemon Luxury Cake. The formulation is basically the Golden Luxury butter Cake (page 48) in the cake Bible with the addition of lemon zest. You can enhance the lemony flavor with adding some lemon oil. Maybe a 1/4 teaspoon to start and experiment to how much you want to use.
I would skip the lemon juice as a substitution as it will effect other ingredients including the leavening.


Hi Rose. I read your comment recently on the Red velvet cake where you said that one could simply use one of your yellow or white cakes and substitute equal qty of fluid with a bottle of red food colouring. Could the same hold true of lemon juice? I want to try converting the Downy Yellow cake to a lemon cake by adding lemon zest to the batter..I wondered if I could decrease quarter cup milk and substitute with lemon juice?


indy, i've never heard of this but shouldn't be hard to do. syrups when brought to a high temperature solidify on cooling. you could check out the different stages of syrup and chose the hard crack stage or you could melt some hard candy and use that if you want a specific flavor.


I ate a cake once that the baker told me was made by poking holes in the cake, a syrup was poured over the cake which when cooled produced little rivulets of crunchy candy-like flavor throughout the cake. Do you know of any recipes like this


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from sandyb
03/22/2011 12:04 AM

Hi Sandy,
What vanilla cake are you making?
Does the recipe suggest soaking with a syrup?
A simple syrup for soaking the cake is usually sugar dissolved in water or juice complimentary to the cake.
They are an essential part of a genoise cake to add moistness and sweetness that are not part of the cake's batter. For butter based cakes, the syrup is used either to add some sweetness and moistness as in the Golden Lemon Almond Cake or for wedding/event cakes where the cake is being made a couple of days ahead to keep it moist. In The Cake Bible there are syrups mainly for her genoise recipes while in Rose's Heavenly Cakes there are several cakes with accompanying syrups ranging from sweetened fruit juices to milk chocolate and cream and there formulas. In most cases the sugar component is dissolved in the liquid and the syrup heated to near boiling point.


I'm kind of new to cake decorating. I bake but I'm making a cake for a baby shower. What is simple syrup and what does it do? I want to make a vanilla cake with custard and strawberry filling.


Kristina, sponge cakes (Genoise and Biscuit)need more syrup than butter cakes b/c they are dry and need the extra moisture. In fact syrup is mandatory for these types of sponge cakes. Butter cakes need very little or no syrup as they are more moist. If your butter cake was soggy after you brushed the syrup maybe it was moist enough by itself and didn't need any syrup or maybe you used too much of it. On pg 483 in the Cake Bible (US edition) Rose recommends "3 cups syrup for every 6 1/2 cups of sugar used to prepare the cake batter".


I am learning more and more about using simple syrup to keep cakes moist i made your chocolate butter cake and brushed a simple syrup pretty generously and it came out soggy...what is the rule of thumb on how much to soak a cake and do butter cakes need less than sponge....thanks.


diane, i haven't written on cakes for many years so i think you need to check other books specializing in cake decorating.

kristine, i have the fruit soaking in cognac and it's in a ball canning jar. i can't vouch for sugar syrups plus alcohol but cognac is a high alcohol content and works.


Kristine Purcell
Kristine Purcell
09/25/2007 08:31 PM

13 years soaking. WOW! Are you able to soak dried fruit with other ingredients this long? I am thinking of adding brown sugar & white sugar mixed with boiling water to make a syrup, then adding rum. Maybe even adding a conserve (marmalade or ginger marmalade). And did your alcohol eat into what you stored it in?


Is piping gel transfer the best way to write on a cake? In the Cake Bible there are more formal fonts, but when I create a computer generated design, I want the letters to look flawless...What do you suggest?


i have some that's 13 years old!


Kristine Purcell
Kristine Purcell
09/24/2007 07:12 PM

What is the longest amount of time you can soak dried fruit in alcohol before making a fruit cake or plum pudding?


i think just the raspberry purée and sauce would be really good.


Hi Rose,

Since the Winter Blueberry Topping will not work, do you think the Raspberry Puree and Sauce would be ok to brush on each cake layer before torting with the buttercream?

Would you suggest also using a simple syrup, or just the Raspberry Puree?


Thanks Rose... I'll try the syringe.


all the recipes in the book have storage recommendations, for ex. (unfortunately) the blueberry topping says "keeps at room temp. 6 hours." that means it does not refrigerate or freeze well.
also in the book is my preferred method for applying syrup using a syringe. try it and see if you prefer it to brushing.


Hello Rose,

I recently made your swan cake for a birthday party (I think that's what it is called... the White Chocolate Whisper cake with lemon buttercream and the Winter Blueberry topping.) IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! What a great combination of flavors. A bride-to-be who was at the party wants me to make it for her wedding.
Based on my very busy schedule coming up, I would need to bake the cake, fill and frost each of the three tiers, then freeze them fully completed and decorated for three weeks. Is this okay to do?
Also, I really want to incorporate the Winter Blueberry topping... I was thinking about using it instead of a simple syrup... brushing both sides of each cake layer with the blueberry topping before filling each tier with the lemon buttercream. Have you ever done this, or do you think it will work? Should I add a little blue food coloring, or do you think the blueberry topping will keep it's color being frozen for 3 weeks? Should I also use a simple syrup, or just the blueberry topping?

Also, what is your best techinique for applying simple syrup... I have heard everything from brushing it on, using a syringe, or even a spray bottle...???

Thank you for your help!!! I am just not sure what to tell the Bride...


i assume you mean a fruit cake as other cakes don't last that long.
douse cheesecloth in rum and wrap it around the cake. then wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and store it in an airtight container. voila!


Godfrey Gasefete
Godfrey Gasefete
08/ 8/2006 08:32 AM

I would like to know how to soak a wedding cake. I have had it for the past 3 months.



That makes since, as the level of moisture in layer cakes is already quite higher. As I mentioned, I'm looking for a good chocolate cake with great color that doesn't need soaking syrup....I wish I had time to make every recipe of chocolate cake that's out there. :) Zach



(won't be displayed, but it is used to display your picture, if you have a Gravatar)
Web address,
if any:


You may use HTML tags for style.


Sign up for Rose's newsletter, a once-a-month mouthwatering treat!


Featured on finecooking.com