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One method says to cream butter, oil, and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour.

Another method says to cream the butter, and sugar, add the eggs, and mix. Add buttermilk and oil and mix well. Then add the dry ingredients.

Which should be the more proper or scientific method?

  • What is the result you want? – GdD Sep 4 '17 at 14:34
  • Biggest volume. I will be cutting back on the sugar and use whole wheat flour. And I wonder if creaming butter with oil and the buttermilk will negate the airy effect. – Backyard Chef Sep 5 '17 at 2:24
  • Whole wheat and less sugar are actually counterproductive when you are aiming for airiness and volume. – Stephie Sep 5 '17 at 8:25
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You probably won't like this answer, but:

Do what your recipe tells you to do.

There are various methods to combine a set of ingredients and each will lead to a slightly different outcome. Drier or moister, lighter or denser... The "right" result will depend on the expectation of the recipe writer and can be the root of an eternal discussion: Compare the cookie lovers that will forever debate about cakey vs. crumbly, soft vs. crisp... and if they should ever agree (highly unlikely!), I'm sure the brownie fraction will fill the gap with a similar debate.

So unless you want to tweak a specific recipe, the best advice I can give you is to stick with your current instructions, as they should also match the ratios of the given ingredients (another factor that should not be ignored). If the results are not to your liking, try perhaps a recipe with another method and/or post a more specific question.

And one anecdote that illustrates how much the "right" method can be misleading:
My mom, experienced baker and all that, kept wondering why one of her cakes came out only half as high as when other family members made them. (And way less experienced bakers to boot!) Once she stopped mixing the ingredients "the right way" - beating the egg whites separately and folding them in at the end - and followed the simpler instructions (which she had ignored before) of using whole eggs, she finally got the desired results.

So in short, there is no "right" method that fits all.

  • Thanks for including your mum's experience, because that was what I intended to do. So I will beat the egg whole instead. – Backyard Chef Sep 5 '17 at 2:24
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    @BackyardChef be careful - that is the right way for that specific case, not generally the best method. – Stephie Sep 5 '17 at 4:39

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