Makes 10 1/2 cups; 1 cup equals 4 3/4 ounces

This plain, versatile mix can be used to make cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones and pancakes.

Spelt flour is preferred here; it can be replaced with whole-wheat flour, or the mix can be made using 100 percent unbleached all-purpose flour.

Created by cookbook author Abigail Johnson Dodge. Stir mix well before using. Mix can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

4 cups (18 ounces) spelt flour or whole-wheat flour (see headnote)

1 1/3 cups (9 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar

4 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces/ 50 grams) baking powder

2 teaspoons (1/2 ounce/15 grams) table salt


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Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large container with a tight-fitting lid (15- to 16-cup capacity), until thoroughly incorporated. Seal, label and store at room temperature until ready to use.

Three-Step Basic Cake

To make a basic single-layer cake (8-inch square or 9-inch round) or loaf cake (8 1/2-by-4 1/2 inches), use a fork to whisk together 2 1/2 cups Big Batch Dry Mix, 1/3 cup granulated sugar or packed light or dark brown sugar and up to 2 teaspoons spices in a mixing bowl.

Whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, unsweetened coconut milk, water or a fruit puree, 2 large eggs, up to 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorings, 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 8 tablespoons unsalted melted butter in a liquid measuring cup, then pour over the dry mixture, along with up to 1 1/2 cups of add-ins. Stir to form a lumpy batter. Pour into a greased/floured pan, scatter pre-bake toppings over the surface (optional).

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes (square or round) or 55 to 60 minutes (loaf), until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan to cool completely.

To make a two-layer cake, double the recipe and bake in two pans.

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