Baking requires you to keep a lot of ingredients at hand, even ones that you usually would not buy when shopping at your local departmental store. Cake flour is such an ingredient, and so it would be beneficial for bakers if they knew how to substitute cake flour with some other kind of flour.
In today’s article, we will be sharing with you three different kinds of flours that you can use instead of cake flour if you ever run out of it and are unable to visit the store immediately.
What Is Cake Flour?
Before we get started, we first need to understand what cake flour exactly is and why we need it. Cake flour gets its name from the fact that it is mostly used in pastries like cakes and muffins, which are better if they are soft and fluffy.
Even though cake flour is also made up of protein, its composition is much lower in cake flour than it is in regular all-purpose flour or even in self-rising flour.
The presence of such a low amount of protein in the flour leads to less gluten being produced, and hence the flour is naturally much lighter and softer. So, the softer the flour used, the better quality the pastry will be, and the key to a soft flour is a low gluten content value.
Why Should You Replace Cake Flour?
The most prominent reason for replacing cake flour is that bakers do not usually have it in their pantries. However, many a time, bakers make the mistake of using all-purpose flour in place of cake flour. We would advise you not to do the same.
Unlike cake flour, all-purpose flours have higher gluten content, making it unsuitable for use in pastries like cake or cookies. Since cake flour is generally light, your pastry will rise more when made from this flour.
On the other hand, all-purpose flours have more leavening agents added to them, and this is actually what makes your pastry rise more, and it is also very harmful to us.
How to Substitute Cake Flour?
How would you know how to substitute the cake flour? You will be surprised to learn that three different flours almost serve the same purpose as cake flour and are even passed off as its substitutes.
1. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder may be mixed with all-purpose flour in order to use the resulting mixture as a substitute for cake flour. The trick is to add one-quarter of a cup of arrowroot powder to 1 and 3 quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour and then mix it well.
Next, simply make the pastry like you usually would and bake it. However, it should be noted that since arrowroot speeds up the time taken for your pastries to bake, you should regularly check up on it in order to prevent it from burning.
The best part about using arrowroot powder with all-purpose flour is that it will help keep your cake extra moist by preventing vapor from escaping too much while the cake is still in the oven.
2. Pastry Flour
Pastry flour is also a widely used flour in the world of baking due to the fact that it has a protein content of less than 12%.
However, since cake flour has an even lower protein content than that (of around 8%), you will have to expect your cake to be slightly harder than normal. But do not worry, because pastry flour will in no way ruin your cake!
Moreover, the quantity of starch incorporated in pastry flour is generally much less than that in cake flour, which is why cakes baked with pastry flour are usually gooier in consistency than cakes that have been baked using cake flour.
Other than that, the good part about using pastry flour is that you do not need to adopt any alternative ways to bake your cake when you are using it. You will get almost the same product with pastry flour that you would have gotten if you had used cake flour.
Hence, do not stray from the recipe on the recipe booklet, and simply just replace the cake flour with pastry flour whenever necessary.
Cornstarch is by far the best-known replacement for cake flour. It will assist in keeping your pastries soft even after they are done baking by preventing the formation of gluten in the flour.
As mentioned before, a lower concentration of gluten in the pastry’s flour will produce a much softer and lighter product, which is also easier to chew on.
Side by side, cornstarch will add a bit of structure to your cake and give it a softer touch, which is close to what cake flour does as well. To incorporate cornstarch into your pastry, you will have to follow the two steps stated below:
4. Mix Cornstarch and All-purpose Flour
Similar to when you added arrowroot powder to all-purpose flour, you will have to follow the same procedure but in place of arrowroot powder, use cornstarch instead.
Measure about one-quarter of a cup of cornstarch and add it to a bowl. Next, using the same measuring cup, take out one and three-quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour from its packet and pour it into the aforementioned bowl. Once both contents have been added, mix them well.
Remember to properly empty the measuring cup into the bowl each time you use it to keep your measurements as accurate as possible.
5. Make the Pastry As Per Usual
By following the same steps that you usually would when baking a cake, whether it be your own recipe or one from a recipe book, prepare the cake mix and wherever cake flour is needed, simply add in the stated amount of the flour mixture that you have just prepared.
Do remember that even though all the substitutes mentioned above are foolproof and have proven to work perfectly, they are still not the real thing.
Hence, whenever you get some free time, do not forget to buy some cake flour and store it in your pantry, because you never know when you might need it, and besides, it never hurts to have extra flour in store, right?
This brings us to the end of our article on how to substitute cake flour for today. Thank you for staying with us till the end. We hope you enjoyed reading and feel more confident in the kitchen now than you did before. See you again next time!