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How to Make Cake Flour (Bold Baking Basics)

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Cake Flour: What is it? It’s a clear path to lovely soft cakes, and I’m going to show you how to make it.


Hi Bold Bakers! 

Cake Flour is used in cake making to yield you lovely soft cakes. I actually had never heard of Cake Flour until I moved to the US. I didn’t know it was a type of flour, and I sure didn’t know you could make your own.

In this Bold Baking Basic, I’m going to show you how to make cake flour. You will get the same result as store bought, and you can make it just as you need it. All you need is some all purpose flour and corn flour, that’s it!

Working as a professional chef, I have learned a lot of tip and tricks over the years. Now I’m going to show you some Bold Baking Basics that will equip you with the tools and skills to be able to tackle any baking question in the kitchen.

How to make your own flour is important, because every country sells different products. Did you know you can also make your own Buttermilk and Homemade Extracts?

What is cake flour?

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Great question! This is a finely milled, very low protein flour, usually 8-10%, that is used primarily for cakes because it produces less gluten and results in a tender, fluffy crumb. It’s most commonly seen in American recipes.

It is very easy to make at home by mixing cornstarch with all-purpose flour (see below). 

[ Looking for a Gluten Free Flour? Make your own Gluten Free Flours with my recipes! ]

Why use cake flour instead of regular flour?

Because it contains less gluten, it produces a very soft, fluffy crumb. You know when you buy a cake at the store and it’s incredibly soft and you wonder why? One of the reasons is they used cake flour.

When to use cake four?

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You probably guessed it, but you use it in CAKES, like my Vanilla Birthday Cake and much more. If you want to use cake flour instead of regular all purpose flour in a cake you can easily sub one for the other 1:1.

Can I use plain flour instead of cake flour?

Yes! You absolutely can. There is no down side to making this substitute. The only difference might not be AS soft and tender but it will still be really good.

Does cake flour have baking powder in it? 

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No it doesn’t. Cake flour doesn’t contain any raising agents. So when using it, you will need to use baking baking powder or baking soda into your cake. When making your own homemade cake flour just note that cornstarch is not a rating agent. It’s what is used to soften your flour and cake.

For more Bold Baking Basics like DIY Condensed Milk, the Best-Ever Buttercream Frosting, and much much more click here.

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4.6 from 22 votes
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How to Make Cake Flour
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Cake Flour: What is it? It's a clear path to lovely soft cakes, and I'm going to show you how to make it.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup ( 5oz/142g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch) (corn starch)
Instructions
  1. Remove 2 tablespoons from one level cup of all-purpose flour, then add 2 tablespoons of corn flour back in.
  2. Sift well together before using.
  3. Label an airtight container with the name and date so you remember what it is and when you made it. Use within 8 weeks.
Recipe Notes

Substituting cake flour with a mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch works because the cornstarch helps inhibit the formation of some of the gluten in the all-purpose flour. The result? A cake that's just as tender as it would be if you used store-bought cake flour. Just be sure to sift your pseudo-cake flour well: you want the cornstarch to be thoroughly combined with the flour and the mix to be light and airy.

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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129 Comments

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  1. Mel on December 16, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Hello Gemma. I want to try a recipe that calls for 150grams of pastry flour and 150grams of cornstarch. The recipe says it is a “pound cake”, and does have 200grams of sugar and 250 grams of butter, but the cornstarch measurement has me confused. Does it sound right to you, to have that much cornstarch per flour ?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2018 at 3:34 am

      Hi Mel,
      That really does not sound right. I have no idea what type of cake that would make but it will not be a pound cake. If the recipe calls for pastry flour then that is already a reduced gluten flour, and should be good as it is.
      Traditionally a pound cake was a pound weight of every ingredient, flour/sugar/butter/eggs.
      Take a look at this recipe (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/painted-cake/) this is a traditional Victoria sponge cake, a veery consistent and useful recipe to have for all of your baking.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Debbie on December 16, 2018 at 10:23 am

    I am getting ready to make this recipe. It will be the “crust” for my caramel apple cheesecake. I don’t go through a box of cake flour fast enough so this recipe will be perfect. Thank you for this recipe!!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2018 at 3:28 am

      Hi Debbie,
      Yes, and that is the idea. Really you should only need one flour for all of your baking, baking powder will stay fresh in the pack better than self raising flour will. It is always best to use fresh flour too, so win win!
      Happy baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Meg L on December 9, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Could arrowroot be used as a substitution for cornstarch?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 10, 2018 at 2:44 am

      Hi Meg,
      Yes! that is the perfect sub. For many recipes an all purpose flour will be good. The secret then is not to over mix, that develops the gluten and toughens the cake.
      Thank you for being here with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Aneeza on November 25, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Gemma! I don’t have cornstarch so I wanted to ask that will cornflour work just as fine? Some people say that you can’t use cornflour to make cake flour. Please do reply.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 26, 2018 at 4:00 am

      Hi Aneeza,
      Cornstarch is cornflour! It is called cornstarch in the US, confusing I know. You can indeed make cake flour with this, all wil lbe well,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Flynnie on November 16, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    Will it still work as well if I half this and only use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and half a cup of Flour?
    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      Yes absolutely you can 1/2 the recipe 🙂

      Best,
      Gemma.

  6. aashni on November 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Can i use self raising flour instead of all purpose flour and add the corn starch.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

      Hi there,
      sure you can. The reason I use all purpose flour in most of my baking is that I can be sure the raising agent is fresh, and I can control the amount too. Then I need to have just one flour in the pantry too!
      Happy baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Jan on November 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Gemma, How many grams in a tablespoon? Are you referring to the American or English tablespoon?Here in Australia we use English measurements. It doesn’t make a great deal of difference in most recipes but when making up a batch of flour those differences would add up. Regards, Jan.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 8, 2018 at 5:18 am

      Hi Jan,
      Yes! this is a bit of a conundrum!
      Actually the Australian tablespoon is about 10g. The British one and the US one is 15g. The difference will certainly add up. There are differences in cup measurements too, and Canada also has these differences. Best to weight your ingredients, and I am noticing that many cookbooks now give metric measurements for their recipes, no imperial, no cups! This will always be the most accurate way to weigh ingredients, but we will all have to get new scales!
      Good question, thank you,
      Gemma 🙂

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