How to Use Cake Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour

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Cake flour is finer than all-purpose flour and so there is no need to sift it.
Cake flour is finer than all-purpose flour and so there is no need to sift it. (Image: rolling pin image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com)

Wheat flour is one of the most important baking ingredients in almost all culinary traditions. There are a myriad of different types of ground wheat. Some flours are made with different types of wheat kernals, while others have been enriched with nutrients or additives to make it rise. All-purpose flour is the most common ground wheat called for in recipes, but if you don't have any on hand, cake flour can be substituted for it. The latter has less protein, and therefore produces fluffier and flakier baked goods.

Things You'll Need

  • Cake flour
  • Measuring cups and/or spoons
  • Bowl

Figure out how many cups of all-purpose flour are called for in a recipe. For every cup of all-purpose flour, substitute 1 cup and 2 tbsp. of cake flour if a similar texture to using all-purpose flour is desired.

Measure out the cake flour according to how many cups of all-purpose are called for -- if 2 cups are called for, measure out 2 cups and 4 tbsp. of cake flour. Level the tops.

Add the flour to the rest of the ingredients according to the recipe. If it calls for sieving, omit this step due to the fineness of cake flour compared to all-purpose flour.

Substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour in a 1 cup to 1 cup ratio if a more tender, fluffier or flakier result is desired in a baked good.

Experiment with the ratios between cake flour and all-purpose. The lower gluten levels in the former can produce tender baked goods, however, they will also have a tendency to fall apart easier.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use cake flour when making shortbread for a flakier cookie.
  • If a chewy cookie is desired, use all-purpose flour rather than cake flour. Less gluten is produced by cake flour and so a fluffier cookie is created.

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