Baking can be overwhelming for beginners. Even the most experienced cooks and chefs sometimes find it challenging. Baking requires exact measurements and particular ingredients to yield amazing baked goods that you and your loved ones can enjoy. In almost any baked recipe, it calls for the most basic ingredient, flour. Choosing the best and most appropriate flour for your recipe is essential as it can make or break your baked goods.
Cake flour is one of many types of flour that has its unique use and is called in particular recipes that only it can deliver the results. As the name suggests, it is mainly used for cakes. Using cake flour for your cakes will give you a soft, velvety and crumbly consistency. Also, cake flour enables your cakes to hold more liquid and sugar.
I use Cake flour because it is best in recipes for airy cakes such as angel food cake and layered cakes (which are perfect for birthdays!) as it can hold its shape and can prevent it from collapsing. However, some find it hard purchasing and looking for cake flours in grocery stores. And we don't usually bake cakes every so often right? So it would be impractical buying a lot and storing a lot of cake flour. And so it happens sometimes, a recipe calls for it and you don't have any in your pantry.
You don't need to worry because there are some cake flour substitutes that you can use and make yourself! Cake flour seems really interesting and a great ingredient, right? Let's take a closer look before we discuss the alternatives that we can make, shall we?
What Makes Up The Cake Flour?
What makes it special that it turns your cakes and other pastries into that heavenly consistency that everyone loves?
It's all about the protein
It might sound a little too "sciency" or geeky, but yes the protein content of the flour plays the major role what makes the cake flour extra good for baking. Well, all flours are unique and they usually differ on their protein contents. Cake flour has a low protein content of roughly 6% to 8%, it is also low in gluten.
The protein that turns into gluten in the flour gives structure and texture to whatever you are baking. Because of this low protein content, cake flour is able to give your cakes this crumbly and velvety texture.
It is bleached
Using cake flour also allows layered cakes to be velvety but able to hold its shape. This is because the cake flour is bleached. Bleached or chlorinated flour toughens the protein molecules and makes the flour slightly acidic. This makes the fat distribute evenly to the batter and making your cakes set faster. It can also carry more sugar and liquid contents.
So, it seems that we have an overall idea of what the cake flour is made of, let's talk about the alternatives or substitutes which you can use if cake flour is nowhere to be found. Let’s discuss 4 cake flour substitutes that we can use.
Best 4 Easy Making Cake Flour Substitutes
#1. All Purpose flour+Cornstarch
This is the easiest and probably the easiest alternative because it is probably always present in your kitchen.
All-purpose flour has a protein content of 10%-12%, a bit higher than the protein content of cake flour, that's why to substitute it for cake flour, corn flour or cornstarch needs to be added to all-purpose flour.
To make a cake flour substitute, all you need is:
- a cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon of cornstarch
Simply take out 2 tablespoons out in the cup of all-purpose flour then add in the 2 tbsp of cornstarch and that's it! Just be sure to sift these 2 ingredients together for even distribution and to avoid lumps.
This combination works because the cornstarch helps the formation of gluten in the all-purpose flour; making it as close as for how the cake flour behaves when used in baking.
#2. All-purpose Flour+Potato Starch
Maybe some of you here have corn allergies, so cornstarch will be on the list, don't worry, another thing you can do is use potato starch. Just use the same proportions used in the AP flour and cornstarch and you're all set! Just bear in mind to get potato starch, not potato flour, because this two are different.
#3. Pastry Flour
Pastry flour is one of the closest to cake flour and you can more often than not, land on the safe side if you use it in substitute for cake flour. All-purpose flour, pastry flour and cake flour are close with each other in terms of the protein content, but pastry and cake flour has the smallest difference that's only up to 1%. Remember that cake flour has 6%-8% of protein, all-purpose has 10%-12%, and pastry flour lies in the middle with a protein content of 8%-9%.
Apart from the very small difference in protein content, pastry flour is not bleached this means that it can't hold more moisture than the cake flour. It is soft and ivory in color.
#4. Self-rising Flour
Self-rising flour is basically a combination of all-purpose flour+ baking powder +salt. The protein content is at 8%-9%. The only main difference that this flour has is the baking powder+ salt content. There are lots of cake recipes that call for this flour rather than the cake flour.
The only thing is, some bakers want to add their baking powder and salt on their own according to their preference. Self-rising flours however also creates amazing and decent cakes and pastries. You just need to remember that this flour commonly contains a teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of self-rising flour. Though it can't parallel the velvety consistency of the cake flour on cakes, it is still a good substitute, just mind that there's already salt and baking powder on the mix.
This substitute helped me and some bakers in making cakes when cake flour is of limits. It is always economical and good to know substitutes so that it can't stop you from making delicious baked good. Did you love this list? Feel free to try it out and tell us what you think by commenting below. Also, don't forget to share this with your friends who also love baking and spread some baking hacks and awesomeness!