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Don't Overmix the Batter

Updated on February 22, 2013
Beer battered mushrooms
Beer battered mushrooms | Source

Any recipe that calls for flour like cakes, cup cakes, muffins, waffles, and pancakes should never be over mixed, over beaten or beaten too long. Most good batters will tell you a few bubbles is okay.

That you shouldn't try to beat every bubble out of the batter. You just need to make sure all of the dry ingredients are moist.

The sequence in which you prepare a batter is also key to a very light, fluffy and moist cake. When you mix in some necessary ingredients improperly, you can end up with a different result.

Like liquid butter versus room temperature butter. When a recipe asked for softened butter most of the time it is because the consistency is important to the end result of your baked product.

Using liquid butter instead of vegetable oil is also different because of the richness of butter compared to the oil, butter imparts more flavor and more fat, which changes the outcome of the finished product.

For instance this past Christmas, i had a house full of disappointed folks because i used a new red velvet cake recipe. Yet i realized that the end result of the tough dense cake was my fault because i over mixed the batter.

Why? You may as well ask, 'cause i left out certain ingredients, had to back track, got side tracked and over baked the bloody thing.

My kids especially my son, reminded me that the next time i decided to make their holiday favorite to go back to my original recipe. Of course the thing that made it worse is they'd just had several excellent versions baked by their grandmother.

Christmas / holiday baking and cooking is always a competition!

Reasons for :


  • Because over mixing and over beating flour in a mix tends to toughness, a too dense cake or a rubbery pancake that is unpalatable.
  • Because air pockets of air that contributes to the fluffiness of a batter especially a pancake batter.

Why bubbles?

  • contribute to the fluffiness of the batter
  • proper consistency of the cake
  • proper volume of a cake

When to stop beating?

  • Typically when all of the ingredients are just combined and wet. Or there is no longer any dry flour or un moistened ingredients.

Methods ?

  • folding
  • gently mixing
  • slow stirring

Why tough or rubbery?

  • Gluten in flour.

Over stirring activates the gluten in flour which becomes elastic like and chewy.

Note: The right combination of flour, water and salt will give you a paste or a glue.

What is gluten?

  • protein found in flour

It's usually a combination of things that contribute to the gluten / protein being a problem which can tend to rubbery, and tough anything. Although fats and sugars are supposed to help with gluten not being formed or a problem, over mixing will cause this to happen or leaving out the necessary amount of fat or liquid with tend to toughness.

Simple recipe

Most recipes call for baking soda and baking powder, one or the other and sometimes with some other ingredient that causes your batter to rise.

Good bakers not just professionals will encourage you to stick with the basic recipe and others with tell you to stick with the best ingredients and others still will tell you to stick with the freshest ingredients you can afford.

They are all right!!!

Yet, there are tricks and tips that can create beautiful batters without compromising taste. Which in the end is what most of us are looking for when we eat.

It all starts with smell, the aroma, sight, does it appeal and ultimately taste. Texture also becomes a deciding factor that contributes to the over all appeal of an edible meal.

So, the simpler a batter is usually tends to the best finished product! Some batters are simpler than others only requiring two or three ingredients for deep frying, beer batter is one of the best examples of one of the simplest.

Pancake Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes, Total time:15 minutes

1 cup Sifted all purpose flour or cake flour, leveled

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter

1 cup whole milk / buttermilk ( soured milk)

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla, opt

  1. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl
  3. Combine wet ingredients into to dry ingredients by pouring the wet into a well made in the dry
  4. Gently fold or stir ( whisking is optional) until all ingredients are smooth moistened and no dry ingredients are left - just til mixed, some lumps are okay and bubbles are fine


utensils you need:

  • spatula
  • griddle or frying pan
  • 1/4 cup for pouring
  1. Oil the cooking pan or griddles with butter or vege oil
  2. Pour or spoon batter, about a 1/4 cup or 3 tbsps, depending on size of pancake you desire - into or onto pan / griddle
  3. When bubbles appear and begin to pop, turn over or until the edges are browned, about a minute or less depending on heated oil

Browning (Color) is up to you, but you do want to make sure the pancake is cooked. The first side usually longer and darker than the second side.

Serve these with whipped cream, syrup, fruit or any assortment of whatever you like with your pancakes and enjoy.

Light and fluffy is what you are looking for with these pancakes whenever you decide to eat them.

Soured milk - 3/4 cup of whole milk plus 2 tbsp white vinegar, set aside for 5 minutes - similar to buttermilk ( homemade).


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    • Celiegirl profile image

      Celiegirl 5 years ago

      Hi bearnmom, I thought the same things because we are all taught that but it is usually impossible to get all the bubbles out and some cakes aren't good when over beaten. Personally speaking from experience! Thanks...

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      I have to comment on this since I was taught that you can't overbeat a cake. You are striving to not have any air bubbles in a cake batter and after beating it and putting the mixture into the pan you should give the cake pan a shake to release the air pockets you have missed. On the other hand, pancake and waffle batter is not supposed to be smooth and should contain some small flour pockets in it.