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How to Mix Cake Batter Without a Mixer

How to Mix Cake Batter Without a Mixer

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We all love homemade cake but let’s be honest. Making one can be a real challenge with all the necessary items to prepare it. Not only that, but I always find it extra tedious to whip out the mixer just to mix the batter.

In fact, many people think that you can’t mix cake batter without an electric mixer, but the good news is, you definitely can! 

In today’s guide, I’ll show you how to mix cake batter without a mixer efficiently and still enjoy fluffy and moist homemade cake. Let’s dive right in!

What Tools and Equipment Do You Need to Mix Cake Without a Mixer?

Although you don’t need an electric mixer to mix cake batter (or an oven to bake a cake, as I show you in this post), the right tools are still necessary to get the job done. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to get started.


Wooden Spoons

If you plan to mix the batter by hand, the go-to tool for most is a simple spoon. Spoons come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. 

For mixing, look for a spoon that has a large enough surface area to work through a good amount of your mixture without a lot of effort.

I like this wooden spoon from OXO (on Amazon). It’s inexpensive, rigid, has one corner that can be used as a scraper, and is fairly flat overall.

You can get spoons in different materials, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. 

A wooden spoon is the preferred option over other options because wood is more rigid and perfect for creaming butter.

You may also use silicone spoons, which are highly flexible and ideal for scraping the sides of a mixing bowl.

If you have a steel spoon on hand, it will do the job, but its smooth and rounded surface makes it difficult to cream butter.

Because mixing with a spoon takes quite a bit of time and effort, consider going for one with a comfortable grip. Sturdiness and stiffness are also essential qualities, especially if you’re working with a thick mixture.



Whisks are, by far, the best alternative to consider if you don’t have an electric mixer. In fact, back before electric mixers weren’t invented, whisks were the primary tool for mixing cake batter.

A whisk is used to whip or beat a mixture, which basically means to incorporate air into it. Adding air to a batter results in a light and fluffy cake, compared to non-whipped mixtures.

Like spoons, whisks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but are mostly made of metal or silicone. 

Remember to opt for something with a comfortable handle yet large enough for the job. Also, rigidity is not an essential requirement here because you don’t typically whip thick batter.

Mixing bowl

Mixing Bowl

A spoon or whisk is only half the equation when it comes to mixing by hand. The other half comes in the form of a mixing bowl.

These are a staple in every baker’s kitchen and with good reason. The bowls are used for the prep work in just about every recipe that requires mixing.

Look for a bowl with a handle or non-slip grip. The handle will allow you to hold the bowl with your non-mixing hand.

We also recommend looking for a mixing bowl with a non-skid or rubber bottom. This will keep your bowl from sliding on the countertop while you’re mixing.


A fork is a simple alternative to whisks but it’s only suitable for small batches of liquid ingredients. It’s specifically perfect for beating eggs and ingredient light batters, such as pancake batter.

Elbow Grease

Of course, elbow grease isn’t an actual tool, but you’ll definitely need quite a bit of it when baking without a mixer. Simply put, since you don’t have the power of electricity, you’ll need to do the job manually.

What Techniques Are Required to Mix Cake Batter Without a Mixer?

As I mentioned above, the right tools are a must when it comes to mixing cake batter by hand. However, having the right tools without a good technique may not be enough. Here’s a quick look at the techniques you should be using with the tools mentioned above.


If your cake recipe calls for butter, you’ll need to cream it. Creaming your butter and sugar by hand can take some time and effort, but you should expect great results in the end!

The first step to creaming is getting your butter to room temperature, which softens the butter and makes it much easier to work with. You don’t need to warm up or microwave the butter, as simply taking it out of the fridge and letting it sit on the counter should do the trick.

Ideally, this should take about an hour or so, but if you’re in a hurry, you can dice the butter into smaller chunks, which softens it quicker.

Once your butter is soft, break it up and mash it against the side of a mixing bowl using a spoon. I recommend using the back side of a large, wooden spoon. The stiffness of the wood makes it a little easier to push the butter against the sides of the bowl.

Next, work your sugar into the butter with your wooden spoon. As you do so, the mixture will start to expand in size. This is due to the air pockets that are being incorporated into the mixture. Once the mixture is light and fluffy with a mild yellow color, it’s ready to use.

Here’s a nice video demonstrating the process:


Another technique you need to be familiar with if you’re mixing batter by hand is whipping a mixture. This requires a bit of effort but incorporating air into the batter results in a light and fluffy mixture.

Depending on what ingredients you are beating, you’ll either want to use a whisk or a wooden spoon. 

For thicker mixtures, like the butter and sugar mixture I just discussed, a wooden spoon makes sense. For beating something lighter, like eggs, a whisk is preferred.

When beating a mixture, you’ll want to make quick, circular movements with your hand. As the mixture becomes whipped, it will become light and airy.

Check out this short video that shows the process:

Can I Mix Ingredients Other Than Cake Batter Without an Electric Mixer?

With enough elbow grease, almost any ingredients can be mixed by hand. However, the effectiveness of this technique will vary depending on some aspects.

Besides regular cake batter, you can manually mix various ingredients using this technique, such as pancake batter, muffin batter, and even savory ingredients like salad dressing.

Important Tips While Mixing Cake Batter Without an Electric Mixer

Now that you know more about the proper techniques to mix cake batter manually, here are some tips to make your job a lot easier and more efficient.

Use Room Temperature or Softened Ingredients

Softened ingredients, especially butter, are much easier to cream with sugar than when they are cold and hard. This reduces both your arm fatigue and the time needed to get the job done.

Additionally, keeping all ingredients at room temperature makes them easier to blend and incorporate together. This prevents lumps and streaks, which can affect the final texture of the cake.

Stay Away from Thick Mixtures

Some mixtures are easier to mix by hand than others. If your recipe calls for a thick mixture or includes lots of tough ingredients such as butter, whipping out your electric mixer might be worthwhile, as it would save you a significant amount of time and effort.

Only Do It for Small Batches

I also recommend staying away from large batches. By large batches, I mean making more than what a standard recipe calls for.

If you’re baking a single cake or a dozen cupcakes, you can definitely get by mixing your ingredients manually. However, if you intend to bake dozens of cupcakes, you really should consider an electric mixer.

Not only will you get the job done more quickly, but you’ll save yourself from the cramps in your arm and hands that accompany mixing ingredients by hand for long periods of time, especially when you need accuracy while decorating the cakes after baking.

Use Oil Instead of Butter

If you’re going to mix by hand, consider using oil instead of butter, whenever possible. Using butter requires softening, which is not only time-consuming, but is quite a bit of manual work. 

On the other hand, Oil doesn’t require any softening and is much easier to work with. Butter and oil both do affect the flavor and texture of a mixture though, so keep this in mind when substituting one for the other.

What Other Options Do I Have?

It’s easy to understand why electric mixers are so popular. After all, mixing a cake by hand is not always worth the time and effort.

If you are considering purchasing a mixing tool to save you some of the hassle of prep work, there are a few options to consider that would cost you less than electric mixers.

Hand Blender

Believe it or not, you don’t have to jump straight from a whisk to a stand mixer. In fact, you don’t even have to jump straight to an electric hand mixer.

With a manual hand mixer, you can achieve some of the benefits of electric mixers, although some elbow grease is still required.

The main advantage of opting for manual hand mixers is the cost. You can typically pick one of these up for about $20 to $30. Not bad for a tool that saves you hundreds of bucks spent on an electric mixer!

Another benefit of a non-electric mixer is that it requires little to no maintenance and is typically small. This means that they won’t eat up your counter space and could easily fit in a drawer or cabinet. You also don’t have a cord in your way to worry about.

However, these mixers still have some drawbacks to consider. For example, they still don’t work well with thicker mixes. Even if they can handle it, you still have to put some muscle into it to achieve good results.

Electric Blender

Hand Mixer

An electric hand mixer is a good stepping stone from a manual hand mixer while providing some of the benefits of a stand mixer.

One of the benefits of an electric hand mixer, when compared with a manual hand mixer, is the increased power.

Manual hand mixers are only intended to be used with lighter mixes or to beat eggs. Electric mixers, on the other hand, can handle mixtures that aren’t a bit heavier. 

For really thick mixtures, you’re still going to want to go with a stand mixer, but more about it in the following section.

Like manual hand mixers, electric hand mixers also boast a smaller frame, so you don’t have to worry about storing them. That being said, they’re typically larger than the manual ones due to the electric components.

The cost of an electric hand mixer can be a benefit or drawback, depending on what you’re comparing it with. You can get a nice, electric hand mixer for under $100.

Something to consider here is that you have to move the mixer around the mixing bowl by hand. I recommend looking for a relatively powerful electric mixer so that you’re able to handle these challenging batters.

Stand Mixer

Stand Mixer

If you really want to make things easy on yourself, a stand mixer is the way to go. While relatively bulky when compared to the other options, a stand mixer provides an easy and efficient way to mix your cake batter.

It’s also more affordable when you compare it to electric mixers, so they’re a perfect alternative if you’re on a tight budget. However, they’re still more expensive than previous options, ranging from $150 to $500, depending on the model, brand, and features.

Stand mixers offer the most power out of all of the options I’ve previously discussed. A typical stand mixture would also have different speed settings to optimally mix different types of ingredients.

Just keep in mind that not all stand mixers offer the same power rating, so make sure you get one with enough power to handle your typical mixtures.

One of the best benefits of a stand mixer is that it spares you the effort like electric mixers. You can simply load up the mixing bowl with your ingredients, set the speed setting, turn it on, and it should work on its own.

Of course, this depends on the type of mixture you’re making, but still, this is not even an option with hand mixers.

Something to consider here is that they’re large and heavy, so you should only consider them when you have enough space to store them when they’re not in use.

If you frequently spend time mixing ingredients in your kitchen, this cost might be easily justified. If that doesn’t sound like you, you might want to go with a hand mixer for now, then upgrade when you’re ready.

Final Thoughts

Mixing ingredients by hand isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. As long as you have the right tools and are willing to put the time and effort into it, you can save the money spent on an electric mixer.

While mixing by hand is quite doable, it’s only a good idea if you do it rarely. However, if you’re an avid cake baker who uses a lot of batter, an electric mixer would be a perfect investment for you!

As with most things, I recommend starting small and working your way up. So, start with mixing by hand, then gradually work your way to an electric mixer only when it makes sense to do so.

Let us know what your experiences have been with mixing the batter by hand!

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