When the cake you’ve slaved over turns out too dry to enjoy on its own, or the cookies are too hard and crunchy, you needn’t feed them to the neighborhood squirrels. Instead, refashion them into a delectable dessert of another sort. And shh! No need to let your guests in on the secret.

You may be able to save a dry cake by brushing it with a complementary liqueur or a flavored simple syrup before frosting it. Indeed, many commercial cakes are doused with syrup to help them stay moist, thimes says.

As an alternative, use the cake as the base for a dessert with other ingredients that will add moisture. mamachef uses slices of dry cake in a variation of the classic icebox cake made with wafer cookies. Layer cake slices with lightly sweetened, stiffly whipped cream and use more of the cream to frost them, then chill overnight. “The cake will have absorbed some cream, and will have turned almost into a mousse,” mamachef says. Or douse pieces of cake with fruit sauce, let sit for a couple of hours, and top with whipped cream, suggests hotoynoodle.

Cut into cubes, the cake can be incorporated into cheesecake batter or used to make trifle. iL Divo turns dry cake into crumbs and uses the crumbs to add flavor and crunch to other baked goods. A favorite use is to roll balls of cookie dough in the crumbs before baking.

Overdone cookies can also be broken up or ground to crumbs and used as an ingredient. Use them as an ice cream topping, incorporate them into homemade ice cream as it finishes churning, layer them with pudding to make a parfait, or use them to make a crumb crust for a pie or cheesecake.

Discuss: What to do with too dry cake?
What does one do with overdone cookies?

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