When baking quick breads and cakes, I've premixed dry ingredients the night before to save time. Can I premix wet ingredients as well?

I understand that I can't premix the full batter when using leavening agents -- I am curious if I can save some time the day of while preparing the batter by premixing both the wet and dry ingredients separately beforehand.

The following is an example of a recipe for which I was thinking of doing this (wet ingredients would be the egg and buttermilk mixture):


1 1/4 cups buttermilk, milk, or yogurt (or 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar; see Step 2), plus more as needed

2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if you like sweet corn bread

1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. If you’re using buttermilk, milk, or yogurt, ignore this step. If not, make the soured milk: Warm the milk gently—1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off—and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

  3. Put the butter in a medium ovenproof skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan over medium heat; heat until good and hot, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the egg into the buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine); if it seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or pan, smooth out the top if necessary, and put in the oven.

  4. Bake about 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the sides have pulled away from the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Serve hot or warm.

Source: Good Old Fashioned Corn Bread by Mark Bittman


2 Answers 2



With quick breads you just don't want to activate your leavened prematurely. That happens when the wet and dry mix so you're fine.

Two things to watch out for:

The eggs and buttermilk are going to be more prone to spoiling after they are removed from their containers. Additionally, the batter could pick up funny flavors from the fridge. Storing in an appropriate container in the fridge and using it the next day would avoid any issues.

The wet ingredients, including the eggs, are emulsified when they are mixed. The oil dissolves into the buttermilk with the help of the egg yolks. This emulsification is important for the texture of quick breads. The emulsion is not indestructible. If you find your oil has separated in the morning you may need to beat it again to reemulsify before combining with the dry.

Note: your title says "and cakes". Cakes are assembled with different methods such as creaming or beating egg whites. These could not be done in advance without destroying the texture of the cake.

  • 1
    I think it depends on the cake. The one I made last night (from America's Test Kitchen) mixes wet ingredients together, cuts butter into dry (including sugar) and then adds the wet to the dry in two batches. I can't imagine why it wouldn't work if the wet ingredients were premixed.
    – Catija
    Feb 15, 2016 at 13:28
  • I dunno, the buttermilk could ceviche the eggs which may not be desirable. When making cake it's all mixed and baked relatively quickly, and not sitting to let the acidity of the butter milk to work on the egg.
    – Escoce
    Feb 15, 2016 at 15:02
  • 1
    @catija- I haven't seen the biscuit method used for cakes. I agree that mixing beforehand would be fine for that method. Feb 15, 2016 at 15:46
  • @escoce- I thought of that. It needs experimenting but my opinion is that the buttermilk isn't acidic enough to reduce the binding power of the eggs. Feb 15, 2016 at 15:47
  • I really appreciate this thorough answer, but it doesn't quite definitively answer the most important question: will mixing the wet ingredients 24 hours in advance cause the eggs and buttermilk to interact any differently than mixing them immediately before baking? I'd like to leave this open for a little longer before marking as answered.
    – Hakan B.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 18:44

I make several recipes of muffins for a monthly fundraiser (banana nut, pumpkin cream cheese, cappuccino chocolate chip with cream cheese topping). I mix all the dry ingredients 3 days before and the same for the wet with the exception of the eggs, and one calls for buttermilk & bananas. I assemble everything at 5:am at the event kitchen with several other volunteers and it is a madhouse. Even with the prepping, I have forgotten to put in different things at different times. When it all goes well they are fine. I have on occasion had to toss everything back in the bowl to add the forgotten part. Sadly more often than I would like to admit. There is no way I could pull this event off without pre-mixing a few days before.

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