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I've been asked to bake at someone else's house that I'm traveling to. I thought it might be easier to measure all the dry ingredients at home and combine them in airtight plastic bags until ready to use - like a store-bought mix. Is there any reason this might not work? For example, are any ingredients problematic: cocoa powder, corn flour, or leavening like baking soda/powder (just throwing those out as examples)?

If it matters, I'll be making cornbread and chocolate cake.

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The cornbread is probably uncritical, but double-check your recipe for the chocolate cake:

If it is a "mix-all-dry-ingredients / mix-wet-ingredients / combine-and-bake" type of cake (like for muffins), you are ok. But if the cake requires creaming butter and/or eggs with sugar and folding in cocoa and flour at the end, you are in trouble if you dump everything in one bag. (Two or three bags might work, depending on the recipe steps.)

Apart from that, your dry ingredients stay safe if they stay dry. Any humidity can lead to lumps or the baking powder activating prematurely and thus flat cakes.

So keep your mixes in airtight containers and you are good to go.

A few practical tips:

  • You might want to take a few extra materials with you - like flour or cocoa to dust your pan or extra flour if you need to shape or roll the dough. Confectioners sugar or cocoa can come handy for a quick dusting should you need to hide a few, ahem, cosmetic flaws.

  • Not all ovens are callibrated well, so if you have a separate oven thermometer, take it with you. Also, keep an eye on your product while it is baking, you might have to adjust baking time or temperature (elevation!) a bit.

  • Your dry ingredients may settle during transport, aerating them helps a lot for better results. Either sift them or stir with a wire whisk.

  • All good advice. My cake recipe calls for blooming the cocoa for instance so I'll make sure I keep separate what needs to be separate. – DaveBurns Nov 18 '16 at 15:49
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If the recipe calls for mixing the dry ingredients together, than it won't be a problem. However, if the ingredients get wet, it could mess up your baking soda or powder, causing them to react prematurely. Moisture could also rot your flour, if you leave it for too long.

As long as the container is water and vermin-proof, I don't see any problem.

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