Chef, author and TV personality Christina Tosi is joining TODAY to share her expert hacks, tips, tricks and recipes to upgrade store-bought cake. She shows us how to make doughnut-flavored frosting, mint-soaked chocolate cake and orange creamsicle cake.
How to soak a cake
Once you start soaking — aka imbibing — your cakes, you won't want to stop. Not only does soak add that extra moisture you look for in the perfect bite of cake, but it also gives you the opportunity to layer in more flavor and help tell your own flavor story, whatever that might be! Take inspiration from what's already in your fridge or pantry and have fun mixing and matching.
The amount of soak you want to use for your cake really depends on the cake you're working with. If it's a dry or over-baked cake, go heavier on the soak to breathe new life and moisture into it. If you're using an already moist cake, brush on just enough to infuse that extra flavor. If you want to go all-in on your soak for a tres-leches style cake, poke a fork into your cake before pouring your soak on top and ditch the frosting!
Here are just some ideas for cake soaks using whatever you have lying around:
- Mixing extracts with milk
- Spirits or liqueurs
- Coffee or cold brew
- Citrus juices
- Drink powders mixed with milk
If you have leftover cake or cake that is over-baked, this creamy orange soak will give it new life. It makes the cake so moist and flavorful, you won't even miss the frosting.
Mint and chocolate are always a winning combination! And this easy soaking technique is a great way to let your cake creativity shine.
How to upgrade store-bought icing
Drop your frosting mix-ins whole into your mixer — whether it's cookies, doughnuts, fruit, whatever — and let your mixer break them up and incorporate into the icing for the best results. If you don't have a stand mixer, just roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease until you achieve your desired frosting consistency.
These are some of my favorite mix-ins to add to homemade or store-bought vanilla frosting:
- Whole apple cider doughnuts
- Chocolate sandwich cookies (to make cookies-and-cream-style frosting)
- Shortbread cookies
- Pretzels (for a salty-sweet moment)
- Strawberries (hulled, dropped into your mixer whole)
Sure, frosting is delicious on its own in all of its smooth and rich glory, but, whether used for layer cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes and more, frosting can also be jam-packed with texture and personality. Take a look in your pantry or fridge and let your imagination run wild!
If you like those easy dessert recipes, you should also try these: