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Simple syrup is an easy 2-ingredient recipe that is used in your baking to moisten your cakes. It is easy to make and can really transform your baked goods! Learn how to make simple syrup, and use it in all your recipes with this easy baking tutorial.
When I used to work at a bakery, one of the things I learned right away is how to make a homemade simple syrup. We would use it to brush on all the cakes to make them super moist.
This sweet liquid is what transformed the cake from something ordinary you could maybe make at home to something spectacular that you wanted to pay money for and couldn’t stop eating.
Simple syrup is that secret ingredient that moistens your cake and takes it to the next level, and the best part is that it’s super easy to make. So if your cake has ever come out dry, don’t throw it in the trash! Brush on a homemade simple syrup instead.
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What is simple syrup?
Simple syrup is an easy glaze that is made of granulated sugar and water. These two simple ingredients are heated together on the stove, so that the sugar dissolves, to form a syrup-like liquid that is a little thicker than water.
You can use it to brush on a cake or cupcakes to moisten them, but you can also use in your cocktail recipes, coffee drinks and all your hot and cold coffee and tea beverages. Add some syrup to sweeten a cocktail, stir some into a cup of hot or iced coffee, a glass of iced tea, or a cup of lemonade!
Why is simple syrup used on cakes?
Simple syrup is used on your cake to help moisten it, and it can also be used to add flavor if you are using a flavored simple syrup.
If you have a dry cake after baking, a simple syrup can help replace that lost moisture. No trash bin for those cakes! Simple syrup to the rescue.
Simple syrup ratio
The basic ratio for making it is one part sugar to one part water, or a 1:1 ratio. This means that you would use equal parts sugar and water. That means it’s easy recipe to half, double or triple.
If you want a rich simple syrup, you can use a 2:1 ratio, with twice as much granulated sugar to water.
What is simple syrup made of?
Granulated sugar – I used regular white sugar, but you could always try switching things up and using brown sugar, coconut sugar or a natural cane (or raw, demerara sugar). They will just add a bit of caramel flavor and color. You could also replace the sugar with honey and make a honey syrup instead.
Water – You will use just regular water that will be heated on the stovetop.
How do you make simple syrup?
To make simple syrup, it’s an easy recipe that can be done in less than five minutes! Here’s how to make this syrup recipe:
- Combine ingredients. Combine sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Stir the sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula, while it heats, to help dissolve the sugar.
- Boil. Boil water for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Store. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
How do I add simple syrup to a cake?
To add the the syrup to a cake you have a few options. You can use a pastry brush and brush the syrup on, which I think is the best way to control how much is used and where it is distributed onto the cake layer. Or you can also use a squeeze bottle or even just a spoon and lightly drizzle the syrup on.
Torte your cake layer/cut them in half if you are doing so before applying the simple syrup.
Use a pastry brush, squeeze bottle, or a spoon to brush/drizzle on the syrup onto the cake.
Add your frosting or filling. Repeat with more layers and simple syrup.
Simple syrup variations
The basic syrup recipe is just sugar and water. But it’s a perfect blank canvas to add a bit of flavor to it.
So depending on the cake you are making you can enhance your cake by flavoring your syrup. You can really add any spices, herbs, or citrus peels you would like to flavor the syrup.
Here are a few ideas on how to make flavored syrups.
Vanilla simple syrup: Remove the syrup from the stovetop and add in 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla extract once you take the syrup off the heat.
Lemon simple syrup: Remove from heat and add in the juice and zest of 1 lemon.
Coffee simple syrup: Replace the water with coffee and make recipe as directed.
Mint simple syrup: Add 1 cup of fresh mint leaves to the sugar mixture on the stove. Heat as directed, then remove from the heat and let the leaves steep for 10-15 minutes then strain out the leaves.
Storing simple syrup
You can keep the syrup stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a month. I just store in a simple glass jar, like a mason jar.
You can also freeze simple syrup for up to a year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
This will depend on how moist and sweet you would like the cakes and cupcakes to be. I use a brush and just brush a thin layer to moisten the top layer of the cake.
I don’t really measure it but it’s about 1-2 tablespoons for each cake layer. Just keep in mind the more you brush on the soggier your cake could become. Keep in mind, the type of cake can soak up different amount of the simple syrup. A lighter, fluffier cake like a sponge cake will soak up more.
Yes you can double or triple this recipe as long as you keep the 1:1 ratio the same. So if you wanted to make a large batch and double the recipe, you would use 4 cups granulated sugar and 4 cups water.
No it does not make the cake soggy, but simply moistens the cake. A soggy cake usually means you have just used too much simple syrup.
A simple syrup will add some sweetness as it’s made from sugar after all! But it won’t make it too sweet, or sickly. You are only brushing on a thin layer on top of each cake layer. Just keep in mind, the more you brush on, the more sweetness you will be adding.
You can brush on the simple syrup when the cake is warm or cooled. But allow the cake to cool completely then to finish with frosting. I also like to let the cake soak up the simple syrup a bit before frosting so the frosting doesn’t slide around on top. If your frosting is doing this, then give the cake more time to soak it up or try using less the next time.
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- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (480 ml) water
- Combine sugar and water in large saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Stir the sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula, while it heats, to help dissolve the sugar.
- Boil water for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
- Storage: You can keep the syrup stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a month. I just store in a simple glass jar, like a mason jar.
- Freezing: You can also freeze simple syrup for up to a year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
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