Joy the Baker

How To Make Cake Flour

September 20, 2009

How To Make Cake Flour

For an updated version of this method, click here.

Cake flour.  Let’s face facts:  I never have cake flour on hand when I need it.  Luckily, there’s a super easy way to turn good old all-purpose flour into cake flour, lightening your cake crumb, making it super soft and delicious.    Maybe you already know this trick.  It’s a good one.

Here’s a step by step.  From me to you!

How To Make Cake Flour

How to Turn All-Purpose Flour into Cake Flour

Print this Recipe!

Step One:  Measure out the all-purpose flour that you’ll need for your recipe.

How To Make Cake Flour

How To Make Cake Flour

Step Two: For every cup of flour you use, take out two tablespoons of flour and return it to the flour bin.  Throw the cup of flour (minus the two tablespoons) into a sifter set over a bowl.

How To Make Cake Flour

Step Three:  Replace the two tablespoons of flour that your removed with two tablespoons of cornstarch.

How To Make Cake Flour

Step Four:  Sift the flour and cornstarch together.  Sift it again, and again and again.  The cornstarch and flour need to be well incorporated and the flour aerated.  Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture about five times.  Look at that!  You just made cake flour!

How To Make Cake Flour

+Joy the Baker

420 Comments Add A Comment

  • Thank you so much, I live a long way from anywhere and the shops at my nearest anywhere never have cake flour, this is so great.

  • Thanks Joy! Never thought about making my own!

  • hmmm, thanks! =)
    I’ve never bought cake flour (ok, maybe once…because I was out of corn starch anyway, hahaha), but i’ve never sifted the stuff together. Usually I just replace the 2 tbs of flour with 2 tbs of cornstarch, and call it a day. But I will def do this sifting thing next time!

  • And for “self-rising” flour, I’ve added 1 tsp of baking powder per cup of flour with decent results (not sure if that’s the true proper ratio, but it’s worked for me)

  • you guys Stateside are lucky to have “cake flour” to buy! It seems we haven’t thought of making a lovely marketable product like that here yet. (And when I lived in the middle east, self-raising flour wasn’t even on the shelves! A nightmare.) Thanks for your joy always, Joy!

  • Wow I neve knew that1 Thanks we will be making it from now on!

  • Isn’t cake flour bleached whereas most all-purpose isn’t?

    • Yes. Cake flour is often bleached, but I tend to stay away from bleached flours. I’ve found that this trick with unbleached all-purpose flour works wonders and I get to skip the bleaching. Bonus for me!

  • Awesome! Now I don’t need to buy cake flour! Woo Hoo!

  • very nice. One less big plastic container.

  • Love this and love your recipes. Thanks for posting

  • This is really good to know. I do have a question however. I am allergic to corn and its by products. Have you ever tried this with an alternative starch such as rice or tapioca? The cake flour I do use has no cornstarch in it, but I don’t always have it on hand. Thanks!

    • That’s a great question Vivan! I have never tried this trick with rick or tapioca powder. If you try it, do let me know how it works out for you!

      • Vivian, you can replace corn starch with potato starch. They work one-for-one, so one tablespoon corn starch = one tablespoon potato starch. Be sure to get potato STARCH and not potato FLOUR. If you have trouble finding it now, wait until the Spring and look for it in the Kosher for Passover section of the store. It keeps a long time too!

    • I’ve never purchased cake flour but always sift my all purpose flour with potato starch. it has similar properties and acts in a similar way to corn starch. Using the same technique and amounts Joy listed with the substitution should work. Hope that helps

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    I’m definitely bookmarking this post. I can’t tell you how many trips to the store this one tip will save me. Or SEVERAL stores, because I never know which one will have cake flour on any given day. You’re the greatest, Joy!

  • I did not know you can actually make your own, at home. Thank you so much !

  • I’ve done that for the red velvet cake I made. Works great!

  • Many many thanks!!! Is there a way to turn all-purpose into bread flour?

    • Bread flour is flour with a higher protein content, leading to more gluten,etc.

      The level of protein in certain brands differ. King Arthur’s “all purpose” can frequently be substituted for bread flour.

      Also, if you are able to find “vital wheat gluten” and add some (not sure of the precise proportions, but a bit less than 1 tsp/cup) to all purpose then you’ll raise the net protein content enough to get by.

      Check Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” or Beranbaum’s “Bread Bible” for a bunch more information on this stuff.

      (God how I miss having a working oven ;-)

      • Thanks Mike! I never thought I could turn all-purpose flour into bread flour because of the differing protein contents. Great tips!

        • Happy to help.

          Yep, that’s really the only technical difference. It’s a blend of hard and soft flours but that’s only to achieve the increased protein content. The math is probably easily researched.

          A quick scan turned up this link that talks about the actual numbers.

          I didn’t realize that cake flour was just the other side of the coin and the primary effect of the cornstarch trick is just to remove protein.

          Just goes to show ya, if you’re not careful you learn something new every day.

          I gotta learn to be more careful.


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