Dear Peggy: What's the advantage of adding dry and wet ingredients alternately? —S.S., Bluffton, South Carolina
When making a cake, you traditionally begin by creaming the sugar and fat to create tiny air pockets that expand during baking. Next, eggs are added to hold the fat and liquid together for a smooth, velvety batter. Last, dry and liquid ingredients are added alternately to the batter. This brings the ingredients together slowly and keeps the batter's texture smooth, while preventing the air bubbles from breaking. It may seem like an extra step, but this gives you a cake that's tender but not fragile, with a fine, even crumb.