Flour is a pantry staple. It's pretty common to have a bag of flour sitting in the pantry ready to use in your next cake, a loaf of bread or roux to thicken a sauce. You might be familiar with all of the varieties of flour- all-purpose flour, pastry flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, self-rising flour, and rye & barley flour. There are also a bunch of gluten-free flour blends for those who have a gluten intolerance.
One type of flour missing from this bunch is cake flour. I'm sure you've walked by a few boxes at the grocery store or maybe there's a box in the back of your refrigerator right now. Cake flour has to be my preferred flour to use in many baking recipes. If you want a light, tender cake, go for the cake flour. It's worth buying!
What is Cake Flour?
Cake flour is an extra finely ground flour with a low protein content (6-8% protein content) and commonly used in cake recipes. It's softer, finer and more delicate than something like AP flour (9-12% protein content) or whole wheat flour.
Cake flour is typically bleached, like most flours, and has bleaching agents added to it to give baked goods a whiter look and softer texture and also to provide more height. You'll find brands like King Arthur Flour selling unbleached cake flour, which doesn't contain any chemicals and still just as good as bleached cake flour. This is my preferred brand of cake flour-great results every time!
Cake flour is the ideal flour to use in something like chiffon or angel food cake, but since it is so fine, it's best to sift cake flour before using it because it clumps together easily. So, what do you do when a recipe calls for cake flour, but it's not in the pantry? No need to head to the grocery store because it turns out there are a few easy cake flour substitutes that work just fine. Check them out below.
1. DIY Cake Flour
Homemade cake flour is actually really simple to make and only uses two ingredients that are probably sitting in your pantry right now. To make one cup of cake flour substitute, in a measuring cup scoop up one cup of all-purpose flour. Take out two tablespoons of the flour and replace it with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Make sure to sift the ingredients so they mix together thoroughly.
If you don't have cornstarch on hand, you can use arrowroot powder instead. Check out the full directions here.
2. DIY Gluten-Free Cake Flour Blend
Blogger Cara from, Fork and Beans created this gluten-free flour blend that is perfect for cupcakes, cakes or muffins. It's light and gives the finished product a beautiful, fluffy texture. Sure, there are gluten-free cake flour blends you can buy at the grocery store, but why spend so much money? You can easily make it on your own with just a few ingredients.
Combine brown rice flour, white rice flour, arrowroot powder and potato starch for this gluten-free cake flour substitute. For full directions and measurements, check out the recipe.
3. Pastry Flour
While pastry flour has a higher protein content (about 9%) than cake flour, if you're really in a bind, pastry flour can be used instead of cake flour in most recipes. It's a better option than all-purpose flour and chances are, you probably won't taste much of a difference.
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