When trying a new cake recipe and it doesn't specify "beat well" or "beat just until blended," which is the best method to use? —F.P., Newark, New York
As a general rule, cake ingredients can be beaten well until the dry ingredients are added. For example, butter and sugar are creamed and then eggs are beaten in. Once the dry ingredients are added to this mixture, the ingredients should be beaten just until blended. At this point, beating the ingredients too much could give the cake a tough texture.