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What’s the Difference Between Creaming and Reverse Creaming?

By Lan Lam Published

Ever wonder why different cake recipes call for different approaches to mixing the batter? We wanted to investigate how two of the most common mixing methods impact a cake’s rise and texture.

In cakes that call for solid (versus melted) butter, there are two ways to incorporate that butter into the batter. The creaming method requires beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy before adding the remaining ingredients. The reverse-creaming method requires combining the butter with all the dry ingredients before mixing in the remaining ingredients.

Since both approaches produce tender cake, does it really matter which method you use?

Experiment

We made two layer cakes using the same ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, butter, milk, and egg whites) in the same proportions. We mixed one batter using the creaming method and the other via the reverse-creaming method. We then baked the cakes and asked tasters to compare the texture and appearance of each cake layer. Then, to get really geeky, we used a highly sensitive tool called the Brookfield Engineering CT3 Texture Analyzer to measure the firmness of each cake.

Creaming

Reverse Creaming

Results

Tasters struggled to find any difference in tenderness between the two cakes. Even the texture analyzer measurements confirmed the firmness of the two cakes to be remarkably similar. That said, the cakes exhibited significant structural differences. The creamed version had a slightly domed top and a fluffy, more open crumb, while the top of the cake that we made using the reverse-creaming method was even and its crumb ultrafine and velvety.

Explanation

Takeaway

Both mixing methods produce equally tender results. Their differences boil down to the crumb’s rise and structure. For everyday baking, fluffy, slightly domed creamed cakes are fine. For fancy cakes with multiple layers, the flat top and plush crumb of a reversed-creamed cake can be more desirable.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.