Italian Meringue Buttercream boil sugar and water to 240 degrees

Simple syrup for cakes

One of the best ways to keep your cake moist is to brush the top of each layer with simple syrup. Simple syrup adds moistness and flavour to any cake – it’s that magic ingredient that gets people talking about how good your cake tastes.

Making simple syrup is easy, and only takes a few minutes. If you’ve never tried making a cake with simple syrup before, now is your chance to see the difference it makes to your favourite cake recipe. You can also use this simple syrup in your favourite cocktails.

This recipe makes just over one cup of simple syrup, which is more than enough to use on a couple of large, multi-layered cakes. In fact, you may want to cut this recipe in half if you are making a smaller cake.

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water


  • In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water.
  • Heat, stirring gently until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once the mixture has reached a full boil, let it continue to boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat, and let cool to room temperature.

Be careful not to boil the syrup for much longer than a minute, otherwise, it can become too thick when it cools. (If this happens, just add some water to it and boil it again). If you are using a candy thermometer, take the syrup off the heat before the mixture reaches 230° F (110° C).

Simple syrup can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for a few weeks. If the syrup crystallizes (goes solid and grainy), simply reheat it. You can help prevent crystallization by adding some corn syrup to the mix, but it’s not really necessary if you don’t plan to store it.

To use simple syrup, lightly brush each layer of your cake with a thin coat of simple syrup. Don’t soak the cake – a little dab will do. Try it on top of cupcakes too! Don’t forget to add simple syrup to the top of your cake before you add the frosting.

Simple syrup soaks into the cake better when it’s dabbed on the cut side of the cake (as opposed to the smooth, sticky top crust of the cake), so if any of your layers still have the crust attached, flip them upside-down and put the simple syrup on the cut side.


  • You can add Amaretto, Grand Marnier,  or your favourite sweet,  clear, liqueur in place of simple syrup (for adults only, of course).
  • To give your cakes an added hint of flavour, use the leftover syrup from making candied orange peels or any other candied fruit.  (Note that you may need to dilute it a bit, depending on how syrupy it is.)

Questions? Comments?  Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!