View Full Version : Cake flour vs All purpose
12-22-2005, 02:09 PM
Excuse my stupidity...but what is the difference between cake flour and all purpose?
Today I was a cookie baking maniac as I am in charge of cookies for the whole family on Christmas Day. As I got to my last recipe I was 1/4 cup short of flour. Not wanting to go to the store, I substituted cake flour for the last 1/4 cup. I have made these cookies before and they seem to be turning out fine, but I wanted to know the difference between the 2 flours (for future shortages :D )
12-22-2005, 02:15 PM
All-purpose has more gluten. Gluten affects the crumb of baked goods.
12-22-2005, 02:28 PM
And now for more stupidity
"Affects the crumb"? I don't understand? affects it how?
12-22-2005, 02:29 PM
Thanks for asking this question! I've been wondering the same thing lately.
12-22-2005, 02:35 PM
It makes a tougher crumb.
Bread flour has more gluten which makes for the great chewy characteristic of good bread.
Most good cakes should have a tender not chewy texture or "crumb" and therefore bread flour is used.
Southern flour is lower in gluten - I think Lily White? is one of these which is why it is often used for biscuits.
To some extent, you can interchange but I have learned that when there is a specific recommendation for a type of ingredient and I respect the recipe author, that it is best to go with that recommendation. :)
12-22-2005, 02:40 PM
The "crumb" is the texture of the cake or baked good. The more gluten something has, the chewier it is going to be. Different flours have different amounts of protein/gluten, and you get the best results for baked goods when you use the most appropriate flour. The flour with the most gluten is bread flour. The gluten is what makes the dough "stretchy" and allows the most rise out of the bread while it's baking. On the other end of the spectrum is pastry flour, which has very little gluten and is used for things like pie crust, which doesn't need to rise at all. If you used bread flour for pie crust, it'd be tough, and not very flaky. If you made bread with pastry flour, it wouldn't rise well at all because the gluten is not there to give it structure.
All-purpose flour falls between the two. Even different brands of all-purpose have different gluten content. For example, White Lily flour, sold in the south, has less gluten than national brands of flour, and makes GREAT biscuits, biscuits being a "short" bread with a high fat content, and closer to pastry than to cake. Cake flour is close to White Lily in gluten content. Cake flour will produce a more tender cake than all-purpose. Subbing 1/4 cup of cake flour for all purpose in a cookie recipe will have virtually no effect; using 100% cake flour might produce a cookie that was more tender, falls apart more easily, etc.
12-23-2005, 09:17 AM
I know this doesn't apply to your question but I think it is info applicable to this thread...
To make Cake flour: combine 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons corn starch.
12-23-2005, 09:20 AM
Thanks yomomma for the recipe for cake flour....had I know that- I wouldn't have bought the box of cake flour I need for a recipe for tomorrow but then again, I would have been up a creek yesterday! :D
12-23-2005, 09:48 AM
I wouldn't use that cake flour substitution unless I had to. I don't think it would produce the "best" results, although it might produce acceptable results. Cake flour doesn't have corn starch in it, so if you "make" your own cake flour, and especially if you're going to use a lot of it (like two cups or more of cake flour) which would mean you'd have a lot more corn starch, I would bet that your recipe won't turn out well. Just MHO!
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