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Everything You Need to Know about Cake Flour
Today, I’m talking all things cake flour! What is it? Why do we use it? Where can you get it? Is there a substitute?
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions that comes my way. “What is cake flour?” You’ll see it in a lot of my recipes, so let’s make sure you know exactly what it is and why it’s so crucial in certain cakes.
What is cake flour?
Cake flour is a light, finely milled (extracted) flour with a lower protein content than other flours. In fact, it has the lowest protein content out of all the baking flours. But why is the protein content important? Well, protein is what becomes the gluten. The low protein content (low gluten), is what helps your cakes become so light, tender and fluffy. Cake flour is also often bleached which means it’s lighter in color and texture than other flours.
The extra fine consistency also means it will absorb more liquid. This extra absorption allows your batter to rise a little taller – so just make sure your recipe has enough liquid in it to account for this extra absorption if you’re testing out your own recipes.
Why do we use it?
Cake flour is great for when we want to have a light and tender texture to (i.e. yellow cake, white cake, angel food cake, etc.). It’s not in every one of my recipes, but when it’s called for, I think it’s important to use it. Cake flour truly makes such a difference in the taste and texture.
Where can you get cake flour?
My favorite brand of cake flour is Softasilk, but there’s also Swan’s Down, Bob’s Red Mill, and King Arthur – most of which you can find at your local grocery store in the baking aisle, right next to all-purpose flour. You’ll also be able to find it at Walmart, Target, and Amazon.
Is there a substitute?
You bet! While I prefer the real deal, you can certainly make your own if you’re in a pinch and can’t find pre-made. Here’s what you do:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour – 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cake flour
For one cup of AP flour, take out two tablespoons and replace them with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Then sift the mixture at least two times… a couple more would be great. You need to get the mixture as fine as possible, so don’t skip this step. This also helps to mix in the cornstarch really well.
THEN… measure 1 cup of flour from that sifted mixture.
Ok! There you have it! Everything you need to know about cake flour. Hopefully, this answers your questions, but if not, feel free to ask questions in the comments. And, you can always follow me on Instagram @cakebycourtney. Send me a dm anytime!
once prepared this substitution to obtain flour for cakes, how many teaspoons of baking powder should I use? Thank you.
Another question, if I use flour for cakes what amount of baking powder should I use? the same amount above?
You don’t need to change anything in the recipe for baking powder.
Can you substitute cake flour for AP flour in recipes?
Yes that will work, but will result in a slightly different texture than the author intended.
I live in Sydney, Australia. There is no cake flour in the country, however we have plain flour with 8-8.5% protein level. Is this equivalent to cake flour in the UNited States?
NO it’s a little higher than cake flour. But you can make your own cake flour
Hi Courtney! I’m attempting to try your Peach Crisp Cake recipe, and I can’t easily find Cake Flour where I live. I’m making the substitute with the AP Flour + Corn Starch. The thing is, you call for 3 cups + 3 tbsp of Cake Flour. How can I substitute those 3 tbsp? Should I just add AP Flour or Corn Starch? I look forward to your response,
Have a nice day 🙂
Just don’t add the 3 tbsp of extra flour.
Hi Courtney! I’m looking to make a gluten-free version of the Chocolate chip Butterscotch cake. I will us the Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten free flour (blue bag)…. do you know if this will work if i use it to make cake flour with the corn starch (1C-2T of flour + 2T cornstarch)?
Do you weigh ingredients (like flour) when you bake or just measure it out? I’ve found when I scoop a cup of cake flour it weighs much more than if I weigh it to a cup.
Scooping cake flour will give you too much. You want to use a spoon and spoon it into your measuring cup and level off with a knife.
Hello, I am from Spain and here the flour is not found as “cake flour”, could you please tell me how much protein this flour has? Here in Spain the amount of protein is every 100 grams.
Hello, I am from Spain and here the flour is not found as “cake flour”, could you please tell me how much protein this flour has? Here in Spain the amount of protein is every 100 grams
I’m not sure how much protein but this is how you can make cake flour if you don’t have it.
For one cup of AP flour, take out two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons cornstarch. Then sift the mixture at least six times. You need to get the mixture as fine as actual cake flour, so don’t skip this step.
Hi there, since the Covid-19 I find myself baking more than usual. Do you use cake flour for all your baked goods? Such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones? I haven’t used cake flour but I’m excited to try.
Thanks for posting your article 🍰
Not all. Each recipe is different. Some call for AP flour and some call for cake flour.
Hey there! Just another short cut… Softasilk has 3g protein per 1/4 cup. Hungarian High Altitude flour also has 3g of protein per 1/4 cup and it’s more the same price point as regular AP Flour. I live in Colorado Springs, CO so since we are very high altitude they sell it here. Idk if every city has it or not. It’s in a mustard yellow bag. I did end up sifting it 4 times just in case! ☺️
How does cake flour differ in baked goods compared to AP flour? Does it rise more/less, result in a more/less dense crumb, or shrink? Guess I will find out with Covid shortages!
Because cake flour has less protein in it, it will create a fluffier texture.
I have a hard time using cake flour because whenever I do I feel like my cakes are denser, I try not to over mix them, but is there something else I could be doing wrong?
Make sure you don’t overbake!
Whenever I have used cake flour I get a denser, drier cake. What am I doing wrong. I’ve tried not to over mix, but I don’t know when I have? What do I do?
I’m fairly new to baking and was wondering if I could substitute any cake recipe that calls for all purpose flour for cake flour. Is the measurement the same? I made a homemade fun fetti cake with cake flour and fell in love with texture. I want to make a chocolate peanut butter cake for Christmas. Can you give any helpful tips or suggestions?
Yes you can!