Before you grab your tools, please read our recommendations about choosing your dry measuring cups.
Believe it or not, there are many ways to use a measuring cup. You can scoop the cup into your flour or sugar and shake off the excess, you could spoon the ingredient into the cup and level it off with a butter knife (what we call “dip and sweep”) or you could sift flour right into the cup. All of these techniques will give you different amounts by volume and that’s just three of many different ways you might be using your measuring tools. Confusing? It can be, but we are here to help.
First of all, know what approach the recipe developer used. What does this mean? In our test kitchen we use the dip and sweep method. Other baking resources use a spoon-in method. If you are making a recipe out of a cookbook, there is probably a section called “How to Use This Book” or something similar. Read it! It will hopefully describe the techniques that the author used in developing those recipes. Follow their lead and you will get the best results.
Here’s what we do in detail. When using Bakepedia recipes, we suggest that you follow this dip and sweep method for flours and granulated sugar:
- Aerate flour by whisking. Flours will compact upon storage. Fluffing it up a bit will give you a better result. Skip this step if measuring granulated sugar.
- Using the exact-sized measuring cup called for, dip it into your ingredient so you have a heaping scoop.
- Scrape off the excess with a straight edge implement, such as an icing spatula.