If you’re like me, you don’t always have cake flour in your pantry. Cake isn’t usually my dessert of choice, so there’s usually no reason for me to keep it on hand. For special occasions, I plan ahead and pick it up at the grocery store. Occasionally, however, I’m caught by a whim to bake a cake, and since we don’t have a supermarket nearby, I find myself needing to make my own cake flour.
Contrary to popular belief, cake flour is not just regular flour ground up smaller. The difference between cake and all-purpose flour is protein (gluten) content. Regular flour averages about 11%, while cake flour ranges from 6-8%. This is why cake flour makes a much lighter, spongier product — gluten is a binding agent, creating elasticity (or chewiness), which is the opposite of what you want in most cakes. Consequently, all you need to do when substituting regular flour for cake flour is reduce the amount of protein.
Here’s how you do it:
For every 1 cup of cake flour in a given recipe:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Sift together flour and cornstarch. Repeat 5 times to ensure complete distribution of cornstarch through flour. Use as a substitution for cake flour in any recipe.
Of course, when baking, you ideally like to use the ingredients as described with the recipe for the most reliable results. But if you just can’t get to the store and you’re aching for a nice moist Devil’s Food or light, airy Angel Food, you now know what to do.