What Is Cake Flour? (What Is It Made Of, What’s It For, Substitutes + Taste) 

Flour is a popularly used ingredient in many recipes, particularly for baked recipes like cakes. Moreover, there are specific types of flour used for cake recipes, and the most notable one is cake flour.

If you have seen cake flour in a recipe, you may be wondering what cake flour is and why cake flour is used. I did the research, and here is what I learned!

What Is Cake Flour?

Cake flour is a type of flour made for cakes since cake flour produces softer textures and moister crumbs. Typically, cake flour is made from soft wheat and has around 5-8% gluten, which is ideal to create cakes like sponge cakes. However, cake flour may be used to create other baked goods, such as cupcakes and muffins.

Do you want to learn about what cake flour tastes like, what you can use cake flour for, and what you can replace cake flour with? Keep reading!

What Is Cake Flour Made Of?

Typically, cake flour is made from milled soft wheat that contains around 5-8% protein, which is lower than most other types of flour, such as bread flour, which can contain 10-14% protein.

Normally, choosing flour that is low in protein is crucial when creating cake flour because low protein flour creates softer results, which you want for cake recipes.

For instance, bread flours are high in protein (a type of gluten), resulting in a tougher, chewier texture that is ideal for bread.

On the other hand, lower protein flour like cake flour does not have enough “strength” to create a harder texture since it is lower in gluten.

What Is Cake Flour Used For?

As you can guess from the name, cake flour is normally used for making cake since cake flour offers the perfect texture for most cake recipes.

Normally, cake flour has an extra-fine texture since cake flour is grounded up very well, which produces a loosely-structured crumb with a fluffier and lighter texture.

Therefore, cake recipes like sponge cakes can benefit greatly from cake flour. However, other recipes that require light and soft texture, such as muffins, pastries, and cupcakes, may also use cake flour.

What Does Cake Flour Taste Like?

When you use cake flour in a recipe and the cake flour is baked, there will not be a distinct “taste” since cake flour will take on the flavor of other ingredients in the cake batter, such as eggs, vanilla, and chocolate.

However, some people state that cake flour smells bad and tastes off, and that cake flour gives food a somewhat chemical flavor.

On the other hand, many bakers still use cake flour since they do not notice any unpleasant flavor and enjoy the texture they get from using cake flour.

Does Cake Flour Have Gluten?

Does Cake Flour Have Gluten?

Cake flour does contain gluten, but cake flour contains less gluten than other types of wheat-based flour since lower gluten content yields softer textures.

Despite having lower gluten levels, cake flour is still not safe to eat for people who are sensitive or allergic to gluten since trace amounts of gluten can still cause reactions.

Is Cake Flour The Same As Plain Flour?

Cake flour is not the same as plain flour because cake flour is made specifically for cakes, which is why cake flour contains soft wheat with low gluten levels.

While you can use cake flour for other recipes like cupcakes, cake flour will create crumbly and soft textures that will not be ideal for every recipe.

On the other hand, plain flour is usually made from a combination of soft wheat and hard wheat with around 8-11% gluten.

Moreover, plain flour is a fairly versatile flour that can be used in many recipes, and some people use plain flour to create cakes.

Since plain flour is a mixture of different kinds of wheat and has a higher gluten content than cake flour, plain flour usually creates cakes with harder and denser textures.

However, that does not mean plain flour is a bad choice for cakes since the denser texture plain flour can provide may be ideal for heavier cakes like pound cakes.

Is Cake Flour And Self-Rising Flour The Same?

Cake flour and self-rising flour are not the same because they have different ingredients, making them better suited for different purposes.

For instance, cake flour is merely flour created from soft wheat with a low gluten content to create soft and tender cakes.

As for self-rising flour, self-rising flour is a mixture of plain flour, baking powder, and salt, and baking powder is added to self-rising flour to help baked goods rise, and self-rising flour contains more gluten than cake flour.

Generally, most cake flours do not contain much gluten or other rising ingredients like baking powder since most cakes need to be relatively flat.

What Happens If You Substitute All-Purpose Flour For Cake Flour?

Normally, using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour may leave you with a cake that has a denser and heavier texture, which may be similar to a pound cake.

As for taste, you may not notice a huge difference in taste if you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.

What Can I Substitute For Cake Flour?

Typically, plain flour is a decent substitute for cake flour since there is little to no difference in taste.

However, you need to be aware that plain flour will create a denser texture in your cake since plain flour contains more gluten.

Therefore, you should try to avoid overmixing your cake batter when using plain flour to avoid forming more gluten.

Have a look at our other articles to discover what cassava flour is, what coconut flour is, and what chickpea flour is.

Conclusion

Cake flour is a type of flour specifically made for cakes since cake flour is made from soft milled wheat with low gluten content, which creates soft, tender, and crumbly cakes.

However, cake flour is not limited to cakes since cake flour can be used for cupcakes, muffins, and more. Other flours may also be used instead of cake flour if you do not mind a heavier texture.

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