What To Do When You Don’t Have Cake Flour

I have run out of Cake Flour. I can’t go to the store to get some. 

Can I make my own Cake Flour?

Yas! All you need is All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch to substitute Cake Flour. Here is how you should substitute it, for every cup of Cake Flour:

Just curious, why add Cornstarch?

Cornstarch actually contains less gluten compared to flour, so it will play a role in tenderizing or making sure the texture of your cakes come out really soft.

Take note of Cornstarch, Corn flour and Cornmeal. They are each very different ingredients although they sound very similar. 

Goddammit. Tell me the difference between Cornstarch, Corn Flour and Cornmeal.

Hahaha, yeap you probably should know the difference.

Cornstarch and Corn Flour of course yes both come from corn. However, Corn Flour is made by using the whole wheat kernel, whereas Cornstarch is made only from the endosperm of the wheat kernel. The endosperm will be removed, cleaned and milled into a fine, white powder, which is your Cornstarch.

The Cornmeal on the other hand, is slightly the same as Corn Flour just that their milling process is what makes them different. Cornmeal is coarsely grounded whereas Corn Flour is finely grounded. This results in the texture of the Cornmeal being rough and gritty, whereas the texture of Corn Flour being more fine and smooth

So knowing when to use which is vital as it determines the texture of your baked goods. Say for example, you want to substitute a pancake recipe that uses Corn Flour with Cornmeal, you will get pancakes that are more coarse then. This is fine, as long this is what you want.

Alright, so how does the substitution process work?

Here is how you should substitute, for every cup of Cake Flour:

  1. Measure a cup of All-Purpose Flour
  2. Then remove 2 tablespoons from the flour
  3. Add in 2 tablespoons of Cornstarch
  4. Now sift the mixture into a mixing bowl while dancing
  5. Then take another mixing bowl, and sift the mixture again while dancing! Yes you gotta dance!

Now what happens if you don’t even have any Cornstarch? Don’t worry, just carry out steps 1-2 only.

If you are wondering why you need to sift the ingredients twice, it is to ensure that your mixture is similar to the fine texture of cake flour. It also ensures aeration which creates the finest cakes and reduces any clumps!

So by using these simple baking ingredients and carrying out these simple steps, you got yourself a substitute!

Hmm, just wondering about aeration, does it mean to create air?

Yep you got it right! 

Aeration is vital in making sure your cake is able to rise successfully. The air bubbles will ensure structure and volume in your cakes. Aeration happens when you sift ingredients, whip, beat or whisk your batter. 

So can I use the substitution method and store the DIY Cake Flour for a long time?

Absolutely! You can make it in a big batch so that it would be easier for you when you need it in the future. 

However, I do recommend only making it when you really have run out of actual Cake Flour. The reason being is, your cakes will definitely taste much more moist and soft with Cake Flour.

Can I use Bread Flour as a substitute?

Image Credit : https://klstore.bakewithyen.my/products/prima-bread-flour-1kg

Nooo. Please don’t. To help you understand why:

CriteriaProtein contentGluten contentResults
Cake flourLowLowSoft, fine texture
All-Purpose FlourMediumMediumSlightly rough, generally good for most baking goods
Bread FlourHighHighHard, roughest texture, suitable for breads

So you see, the higher protein content in flour, the higher the gluten content which results in a hard and extremely rough texture. This is why Bread Flour is the perfect flour for breads but not the perfect flour for cakes

Bonus Tips

So now you know why Cake Flour is ideal for baking cakes as it produces a wonderful, soft cake.

However, if you want to bake chocolate cakes, it’s actually better to use All-Purpose Flour. This is because the cocoa powder already has a very fine texture. So using Cake Flour, will make your cake too flimsy. You won’t be able to keep your beloved cake upright for too long!

Additionally, if you would like to bake cakes that have wet ingredients, like carrot cakes or fruit cakes for example a banana cake, the same applies. You will need a stronger ingredient like the All-Purpose Flour to hold ‘em together. 

On the other hand, if you like your fruit cakes to have a dense structure and texture, you can try using Whole-wheat flour. 

You can read more on types of flour for baking cakes here

Remember to dance while mixing those ingredients! If you enjoyed baking it, you will enjoy eating it!

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