Do you use a sifter when you bake?
If so, what do you sift?
Do you notice a difference?
I sift flour in all recipes. I also sift the powdered sugar for all frosting recipes. I heard it makes the batter and frosting lighter. I'm not sure if I notice a difference. I suppose it mixes better?
I always sift my dry ingredients together in cake mixes (from scratch). This blends and disperses all the ingredients. You want the leavening agent evenly dispersed.
I also always sift powdered sugar for frosting recipes. This prevents lumps, and probably makes it lighter
I always sift any box mixes. Makes a big difference.
I only sift my scratch chocolate and my scratch red velvet to make sure the cocoa is blended well with the flour. But all my butter cakes I reverse cream and don't ever need to sift.
I don't sift the dry ingredients in my cakes unless the recipe specifically says to. And even then I usually don't. I'll whisk them sometimes, especially for a box mix but I usually bake from scratch. I never sift my powdered sugar for my icing and I never get lumps. I like my frosting thick though. But I'm not an expert or anything--there are definitely more qualified people here than I!
I always sift box mixes, flour, icing/powdered sugar, and most improtantly to me- cocoa!! I forgot this step once and ended up with a marble cake with lumps of dry, uncooked cocoa Yuck!!
If my cake recipes says sift I sift. All my recipes are scratch. To mix all the ingredients together I will take a whisk and mix the ingredients up. I will always sift powered sugar in frosting regardless of what the recipes says. I use a fine mesh strainer and wire whisk to sift into a bowl or on parchment paper.
I sift everything together now. I wasn't a first, and wasn't quite happy with the texture of my cakes. I started sifting all my dry ingredients after measuring them out, and my cakes improved dramatically.
I sift ANY dry ingredients when making not only scratch cakes, but also when making doctored cake mixes. I even sift the cake mix. I have found that it will make your cake rise better and your cake will have a lighter texture. When you sift, you will find that almost always there are little chunks of whatever you are sifting remaining in the bottom of your sifter. To do this easier, I use a fine metal mesh strainer. This is much easier then trying to use your "grammas old sqeeze the handle" sifter. I sift all flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, pudding mixes, etc. If it is dry and it is going in the mix, it gets sifted. I think you will be surprised at the difference.
Edited to add: I just wanted to add that if you are dipping your flour from the bag and if you are not sifting...this could make your cakes drier then they should be. When you sift, the flour becomes lighter. If you spoon this into your cup, you will actually find that you have less flour then if you are scooping it directly from the bag or canister. Less flour means a cake that isn't so dry. If you are having a problem with dry cakes, try a couple of things...sift your flour and weigh the flour instead of measuring in a cup.
I bake doctored cake mixes, and I sift all dry ingredients that go into the mixing bowl. I find it gives a lighter texture to the cake and it rises better. I also sift all powdered sugar when making icings.