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Today, we are going to discuss a common question in the baking world. Cake flour vs. All-purpose flour - which one should you use and how can you know when to use it?
You might be wondering why there are so many different types of flour and which one you should use for what recipe. All-purpose flour, cake flour, bread flour, almond flour - they are all essential in creating delicious baked goods that we love. But does it really matter which one you use?
The answer to this question is yes, each type of flour serves a different purpose. The type of flour you use will affect the structure of what you are baking.
Is Cake Flour the same as All Purpose Flour? What is the Difference Between Cake Flour and All Purpose Flour?
The main difference between different types of flour is their gluten content. There are high-protein wheat varieties (10-14% of protein), also known as “hard wheat”.
These types of flour are used to make baked goods firm and more elastic. Meanwhile, low-protein varieties (5 to 10%), also called “soft wheat,” help make baked goods soft and tender.
So, where do cake flour and all-purpose flour fall in this classification?
What is All Purpose Flour?
All-purpose flour (10-12% protein) is the most widely used type of flour because it’s made with a combination of hard and soft wheat and is considered to be the middle ground of all types of flour.
Because it’s so versatile, it is an all-around great flour for baking bread, muffins, cakes, and even making pancake batter. All-purpose flour is most commonly used in default whenever a recipe calls simply for “flour.”
What is Cake Flour?
Cake flour has the lowest protein content of all flours (6-8%) making it the perfect flour for tender and delicate baked goods.
It is mostly used when you are looking to have an extra light and extra fluffy texture for your baked goods.
Pastry Flour vs Cake Flour - What is the difference?
Pastry flour is pretty similar to cake flour, make with soft wheat flour its protein content is 8-10%.
To make 2 cups of pastry flour you can mix 1 ⅓ cups of all-purpose flour with ⅔ cup of cake flour. Pastry flour can be used to make pies, pastries, and cookies.
Can you substitute Cake Flour for All Purpose Flour?
The number one rule when it comes to choosing a flour to use depends on the recipe. Always follow what the recipe instructs first before trying to alter anything.
Replacing all-purpose flour with cake flour might work for some recipes, but it will not work for all types of sweets because of the low protein or gluten content that some types of baked goods need.
You can use all-purpose flour to make bread, flaky pies, cookies, and pancakes unless the recipe calls for a different flour. Cake flour is often used to make soft and delicate desserts and pastries such as cakes, cupcakes, pastries, and biscuits.
When you want your cake layers to be really soft, using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour does the trick. People also sometimes use a combination of both flours when the recipe calls for it.
How to substitute Cake Flour for All Purpose Flour
If your recipe calls for cake flour and all you have is all-purpose flour, that's okay. It only takes a minute or two to make cake flour.
- For every cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Now you have cake flour!
If all you have is cake flour, and your recipe calls for all-purpose flour there is a workaround for this we well.
- For every cup of all-purpose flour you need, add 1 cup of cake flour and then an additional 2 tablespoons of cake flour to your recipe to equal the same quantity of all-purpose flour.
Cake Flour vs All Purpose Flour: FAQs
For baked goods that are typically light, tender, and fluffy in texture, cake flour is really going to help you achieve that. You'll notice that cake flour is a lot finer in texture than all-purpose flour. This will translate to your baked goods as well.
Your recipe should still come out, but it may not have the same texture or chew that you're used to. Try experimenting with both to see which you prefer.
If you're fresh out of cake flour, making it yourself is incredibly easy. To make 1 cup of cake flour add 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
It depends entirely on what you're using the flour in. For a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, but you've used cake flour you'll have a result that's lighter and fluffier in texture. If you've used all-purpose flour in place of cake flour, you may find that your cakes are not as light and tender as they used to be. While there isn't a right or wrong answer, it's purely preference and how you want your baked goods to turn out.