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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 raising 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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4.35 from 52 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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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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178 Comments

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  1. Rue on June 8, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Can this recipe be doubled and tripled without having to add any modifications? I like to make everything ahead of time and store it in large batches (like when you get all purpose flour from the store) so that I don’t have to worry about that in the future.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 10, 2019 at 3:00 am

      Hi Rue,
      two thoughts on this.
      1. Flour is best when fresh – this is particularly true if you live in a humid place, so do not store it for too long.
      2. Check the pack – the label should indicate the protein level, this usually runs from 9.5% – 12% for all-purpose flour. At the lower levels, you will not need to make it ‘softer’ as protein is the gluten, and it will be low enough.
      Here is my little note on flour: All-purpose flour is white wheat flour, which is also described as plain flour. It has no additions, such as raising agents. It has a gluten content of between 9% -11.5% though it can be higher. % Gluten is described as protein on flour packs. If you have just one flour in your kitchen have this one. You can lower the gluten by removing some of the flour from the recipe and adding cornstarch/cornflour in its place.
      Bread Flour/Strong Flour is a high gluten flour which contains about 13% protein, and it is, of course, best for bread.
      Pastry Flour/cream Flour is finer, lower gluten (9 – 10%) kind of flour that is best suited for sweet baked goods like cakes and cookies. It has a very soft texture.
      Cake Flour is even finer and lower in gluten than pastry flour (7.5 – 9%) It might be good for baked goods that need an especially soft and fluffy texture and do not need to withstand a long proofing process.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Donna Ringrose on June 5, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Hi, I’ve only got self raising flour, do I following the instructions or do I leave anything out as it’s self raising

    • Gemma Stafford on June 5, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Hi Donna,
      It does not matter if it is self-raising flour. What matters is the protein level. If you buy it in a store it should tell you on the label what the protein level is. Protein in the flour is actually the gluten. If it is below 10% then you should not need to adjust the flour for cakes. You can also sort this out by not over mixing the batter, that develops and toughens the gluten. A ligh hand makes a great cake!
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Emily on May 3, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Hi Gemma I’m making a cake. And the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cake flour. I already know how to make cake flour but I don’t know how many tablespoons of cornstarch I need to add for 1 1/2 cups of flour.And by the way I have been posting this comment on your recipe website several times (all day) but it is not showing up and the number stays at 164 and I refresh the tab and it stays the same. Thanks Gemma 😄😃

    • Gemma Stafford on May 6, 2019 at 4:47 am

      Emily, I responded to this yesterday, I hope you got that. At the risk of repeating myself: 1 Cup ( 5oz/142g) all-purpose flour
      2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) (corn starch).
      for 1/2 cup of flour, you replace one tablespoon with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch/cornflour.
      Do check the pack of flour, find the protein content, this is the gluten.
      This is a quick guide for you:
      All-purpose flour is white wheat flour, which is also described as plain flour. It has no additions, such as raising agents. It has a gluten content of between 9% -11.5% though it can be higher. % Gluten is described as protein on flour packs. If you have just one flour in your kitchen have this one. You can lower the gluten by removing some of the flour from the recipe and adding cornstarch/cornflour in its place.
      Pastry Flour/cream Flour is finer, lower gluten (9 – 10%) kind of flour that is best suited for sweet baked goods like cakes and cookies. It has a very soft texture.
      Cake Flour is even finer and lower in gluten than pastry flour (7.5 – 9%) It might be good for baked goods that need an especially soft and fluffy texture and do not need to withstand a long proofing process.
      If your all-purpose flour is already low in gluten then you will not need to adjust it so much, they vary, a lot!
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Emily on May 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Gemma I’m making a cake. And the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cake flour. I already know how to make cake flour but I don’t know how many tablespoons of cornstarch I need to add. Can you please help me Gemma. 😢😭

    • Gemma Stafford on May 5, 2019 at 3:16 am

      Emily,
      I meant to add, two tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch, to replace two tablespoons of flour per cup. That then is 1 tablespoon for the 1/2 cup. Do check the pack and see what the level of protein is in the flour. At 9 – 10% protein, which is the gluten, the flour is already soft enough for most of your baking.
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Emily on May 2, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Gemma I’m making a cake. And the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cake flour. I already know how to make cake flour but I don’t know how many tablespoons of cornstarch to I need to add. Pleas help Gemma 😭😢

    • Gemma Stafford on May 5, 2019 at 3:13 am

      Hi there,
      here is what I tell you in the post:
      1 Cup ( 5oz/142g) all-purpose flour
      2 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch) (corn starch)

      Instructions

      Remove 2 tablespoons from one level cup of all-purpose flour, then add 2 tablespoons of corn flour back in.
      Sift well together before using.
      Label an airtight container with the name and date so you remember what it is and when you made it. Use within 8 weeks.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Emily on May 2, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Hi Gemma I’m making a cake. And the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cake flour. I already know how to make cake flour but I don’t know how many tablespoons of cornstarch to add. Please help me Femme Gemma😢😭😢😢😭

    • Gemma Stafford on May 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Hi,

      You might see my other answer but you need 1 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch :).

      Best,
      Gemma.

  7. Sarah on May 2, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Hi Gemma I’m making a cake and I need cake flour. I need 1 1/2 cups of cake flour but I don’t know how many tablespoons of Cornelius to add. Please help me Gemma 😭😢

    • Gemma Stafford on May 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch :).

      Best,
      Gemma.

  8. Charles Mccarthy on April 19, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    I have been in the industry a while,when did a cup of flour become 5 ounces ??

    • Gemma Stafford on April 20, 2019 at 3:56 am

      Hi Charles,
      this is a good question. for the benefit of others, I will explain this.
      Cup measurements are based on an informal system of measurement, prior to home weighing scales. People would share recipes based on their kitchen cups, it did not matter the weight of the ingredients, or the size of the cup, as long as the same cup was used to measure all of the ingredients, in any one kitchen. It a measure of volume. Once the balance is right, then all will be well. Different ingredients have different equivalent weights too, so rice will be different to sugar, cocoa to flour, and different flours will have a different weight too. Think Rocks and Feathers! So, the rule is simple, fill your cups in the same way, scoop/level/compress, however you choose, and the balance in the recipe will be good. It is not a good idea to mix cup measurements with another method, it is unnecessary, and will not be good for your recipes. You have to trust this system, if not, get a digital scales, it will be the most accurate of all!
      In Australia our 1 cup measure 250g an US is 235g, also 1 tbsp Au is 20ml compared to US 15ml s.
      So, for me, and for the way I load the cups I have found that it is consistent with a 5oz measurement, and other bakers will find that too. Therefore I have designed my recipes around this. it is making the camparison, between weight and volume which causes the issues.
      I know this is more than you need, but it always worth explaining,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Suzanne Nevan on April 23, 2019 at 11:30 am

        Thank you Gemma!!

  9. Maddie on April 12, 2019 at 1:51 am

    Hi Gemma, can I use self raising flour by itself instead of the baking flour as I have no cornflour
    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on April 12, 2019 at 5:18 am

      Hi Maddie,
      sure you can. Cake flour is generally used in cakes which need to be tender. You can always use self raising flour, or all-purpose/plain flour with added baking powder. the secret is not to over mix the ingredients. Over mixing tends to activate the gluten in flour and can make for a tough cake.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Sister Rita on March 25, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Peace!

    Dear Gemma,
    I just want you to know I make 7 loaves of your Traditional Irish Soda Bread for the Feast of Saint Patrick for friends here in Rome, Italy who have been so kind to me this past year.

    Everyone has gotten back to me say ” Pane Buonissimo!!!” in little Post-Its. Others simply stopped me to exclain how delicious the bread was and that they cannot wait until next year!

    Thank you so much for posting such a simple, yet truly traditional Irish brown bread just as m own mother made ( but I don’t have her recipe) until now. This is the bread I loved!

    God bless
    Sister Rita

    • Gemma Stafford on March 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you for the lovely message, i am delighted to hear that!

  11. Robertspacrat2 on March 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Zero😱 cake was a complete failure. Ran over the top and built up on the bottom. Had to be thrown out. Followed directions exactly. This recipe needs to be removed from the site.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2019 at 11:25 am

      Hi, i’m sorry to hear that! what cake recipe were you using?

  12. Jocimari on March 17, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Hi, love your recipes. My family loved the scones. Do you have any recipes diabetic friendly?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Hi we do! We have many in the “dietary Preferences” section of our site – https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/category/recipes/dietary-preferences/

      • Brandi on April 10, 2019 at 6:04 pm

        I make my own cake flour and as long as you sift well it shouldn’t be a failure. I just sift several times for good measure!

        • Gemma Stafford on April 11, 2019 at 3:09 am

          Brandi, that is the idea, well done you,
          Gemma 🙂

  13. Linda on March 14, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Oh nos! I quickly skimmed over it and just used corn flour in my cake instead of corn starch. I was wondering why it was weird…

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2019 at 8:24 am

      Hi Linda,
      If you are in the UK then cornflour is the same thing as cornstarch, if you used cornmeal then it would be weird.
      If your flour is low in gluten/protein then you do not nee to add anything. Plain/all purpose flour runs from about 9.5% – 11.5% protein, which is the gluten.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Sandhya on March 12, 2019 at 2:48 am

    Hi Gemma, I usually make a cake with sunflower oil,..can I use the cake flour for the same

    • Gemma Stafford on March 12, 2019 at 6:20 am

      Hi there,
      I think it will depend on the recipe. Some recipes work really nicely with oil. The rule is that you use a little less oil than the butter called for in a recipe, butter is more than just fat. Other than that I cannot see why it would not work with cake flour. Use in fine sponge cakes for best results,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. The Baking Nurse on February 23, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I came across your site, very informative. Spelling error ‘cornstarch is not a rating agent’- sorry.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 23, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks for spotting that. I’ll edit it 🙂

      Best,
      Gemma.

  16. Clau Melissa Zamora on February 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Gemma love your recepies. If you are baking a multi storey cake or a level cake is the cake flour good to be use? Or it will not resist?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 22, 2019 at 11:05 pm

      Hi, yes cake flour is great as long as the recipe calls for it! Best of luck!

  17. Fatima Al-Halwachi on February 8, 2019 at 1:24 am

    You should make an app!!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 8, 2019 at 2:05 am

      Hi Fatima,
      Perhaps, right now we are working constantly on the website to make it as smart and as mobile friendly as possible. Thank you for being here with us, the app may follow,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Denise Pingitore☆☆☆☆☆ on February 7, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Gemma, I love all your ideas and great
    recipes ☆☆☆☆☆

    • Gemma Stafford on February 7, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      I am delighted to hear that, thank you!

  19. Richard on February 7, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Spelling error: “When to use Cake Four”
    Love your recipes!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 7, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      Ah, thank you!

  20. Anja Torvinen on February 6, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    can you use potatoflower instead of cornflower?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Hi there, i would not suggest this as it will have a different effect.

  21. Suzanne Nevan on January 13, 2019 at 9:34 am

    I just found your website- can’t wait to read more!! I am more of a savory cook and baking scares me every time I do it… I appreciate your “basics” approach 🙂 Thanks Gemma!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Welcome Suzanne to the community. I’m delighted you like my recipes.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  22. Cecilia Barnwell on January 1, 2019 at 5:50 am

    i tried this and it worked! thank you Gemma i am so looking forward to more recipes from you

    • Gemma Stafford on January 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Great job, keep it up!

  23. Raga on December 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Can we use wheat flour instead of all purpose flour??

    • Gemma Stafford on December 21, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Hi, i would not suggest that for this recipe.

  24. 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 🙂

  25. 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 🙂

  26. 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 🙂

  27. 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 🙂

  28. 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.

  29. 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 🙂

  30. 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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