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Cake Flour vs. All Purpose Flour

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I apologize for my redundant posts, but I was wondering if cake flour is better than all purpose flour for pound cakes, or any cake for that matter.

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  1. Yes, it should be better. Compare the nutritional listing on all-purpose flour, cake flour, and bread flour and you'll notice, among other things, a difference in the amount of protein in each.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Howard-2

      I've got a bag of Price Rite AP flour and a box of Softasilk. Protein content is identical.

      I want to contact Smuckers about this.

    2. Cake flour has a lower amount of gluten and protein and will produce a more tender cake. Not sure whether you could tell the difference in a pound cake, but you would in a less dense cake.

      1. Be sure to note that cake flour is more fine and therefore more mass can fit in the same space, so you'll need to use less. The flour box should tell you how to substitute it for all-purpose.

        Of course, if you're measuring by weight, this doesn't apply.

        I like my pound cakes substantial, so I haven't really tried using cake flour for them.

        1. Cake flour has less gluten than regular (more correctly called All Purpose) flour; it also tends to be lighter in color and weight. Cake flour will look very white next to AP flour, which looks almost creamy in color. I use cake flour when the recipe calls for it, but I would definitely say NOT to use cake flour for a pound cake, which you want to be dense. I prefer Swan's Down to Softasilk (two brands of cake flour commonly available in supermarkets), because Softasilk contains a leavening agent. For ordinary baking of cookies, brownies, etc., I prefer to use unbleached all purpose flour, my favorite being Ceresota (also sold under the brand name Hecker's). Bleaching shortens the protein strands of the flour and I find it can affect my results. Gold Medal is a good all-around flour if that's all you can find. You need to remember that flour can be affected by the weather and how it is stored, one bag of flour can vary from another, even in the same store. Humidity levels make a difference in how the flour handles, especially if you are making pie dough. Be sure to measure consistently, too; obviously, don't pack the flour down in the cup as you measure. Use a dry measuring cup and spoon the flour in, then level off. By the way, I apologize if these are basic things you already know - hope this helps.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Diane Berg

            Are you sure Softasilk has a leavening agent? Do you mean to say it is self rising, because it is not. I use it a lot and never noticed any difference vs. Swans Down.

            1. re: rjka
              t
              TrishUntrapped

              Softasilk has both plain and self-rising versions I believe.

          2. Cake flour has less gluten than regular (more correctly called All Purpose) flour; it also tends to be lighter in color and weight. Cake flour will look very white next to AP flour, which looks almost creamy in color. I use cake flour when the recipe calls for it, but I would definitely say NOT to use cake flour for a pound cake, which you want to be dense. I prefer Swan's Down to Softasilk (two brands of cake flour commonly available in supermarkets), because Softasilk contains a leavening agent. For ordinary baking of cookies, brownies, etc., I prefer to use unbleached all purpose flour, my favorite being Ceresota (also sold under the brand name Hecker's). Bleaching shortens the protein strands of the flour and I find it can affect my results. Gold Medal is a good all-around flour if that's all you can find. You need to remember that flour can be affected by the weather and how it is stored, one bag of flour can vary from another, even in the same store. Humidity levels make a difference in how the flour handles, especially if you are making pie dough. Be sure to measure consistently, too; obviously, don't pack the flour down in the cup as you measure. Use a dry measuring cup and spoon the flour in, then level off. By the way, I apologize if these are basic things you already know - hope this helps.

            1. I saw this demonstration of cake vs. AP flour on tv:

              Place 2 tablespoons of each flour in separate small bowls. Then add two tablespoons of water to each and mix.

              The AP flour will will be thick and pasty because the protein absorbs water. The cake flour will be thinner.

              It was a great visual and made me understand the physical difference between the two flours in way I didn't quite understand until then.

              1 Reply
              1. re: raj1

                I can't (usually) get cake flour (sponge flour) where I live, but I find that ordinary flour leaves a bitter aftertaste, especially in my white cakes. Also a coarser texture. I had success substituting sauce flour in my chocolate cupcakes, but found it made my white cakes denser. My husband doesn't like the taste of cornstarch mixed in with flour, so that trick isn't acceptable at our house. If only our supermarket would stop discontinuing products that taste good and work well.

              2. i use softassilk for things like angel food cake and biscuits - where you want the most tender possible crumb. but i use ap for pound cake, because you want that cake to have some "body" and a crumb structure with some tooth to it. you know what i mean? if you used cake flour it would just be too insusbstantial.