Joy the Baker

How To Make Cake Flour

September 20, 2009

How To Make Cake Flour

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


405 Comments Add A Comment

  • There’s an easier way than measuring a cup of flour, removing a tablespoon and adding a tablespoon of starch. Take the empty measuring cup, put in your two tablespoons of starch, then fill to the top with flour and level. Ta da!

    I think most people can manage to scoop up a cup of flour without inadvertently dumping the corn starch into the flour bin. If not, then spoon the flour into the cup.

  • I had no idea it was that simple! Thank you SOOOO much Joy!

  • OK. I’m never buying cake flour again. I have too many flour containers in my pantry, but there never seems to be the ones I need.

  • I’ve read that self-rising flour can be made using 1 cup of all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt. You can also make your own baking powder by mixing baking soda with cream of tartar but I’m not sure of the proportions.

  • I have always wondered this! I never have it on hand either. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • great tutorial! keep them coming…& thanks!

  • Joy, you are such a superhero! As much as I love your amazing recipes and photos and prose, I really appreciate that you occasionally share little tidbits of wisdom with us. Making your own cake flour! Who knew?

  • Self raising flour has baking soda (or powder, I forget which) added to it. Cake flour doesn’t, but cake flour will make a lighter, more tender cake.

    Joy, have you done a comparison with self-made cake flour and the stuff you buy? Frankly, I’m lazy enough to want to just use cake flour, but it would be nice to use that hint in a pinch. :)

    I bought a bag of the vital wheat gluten – Bob’s Red Mills. I believe it calls for 1 tbsp per cup of flour. I used some the last time I made pizza dough, but I want to use it for whole wheat rolls. I prefer whole grain bread, but I find when I make it rather than buy it, it’s denser and rather tasteless. Maybe the wheat gluten will be my magic ingredient.

    I love your blog. It’s fun, informative, and so pretty and soothing.

  • Wow, I’m impressed but also slightly confused… I’m in the UK and always thought ‘cake flour’ was the US term for Self Raising flour. What difference does the cornstarch make to the finished product? What would happen if you used plain flour? Do I need to start making this stuff? x

    • Self raising flour is flour that has a leavener such as baking powder already added to it. Cake flour is just a lower protein (therefore lighter) flour used instead of all purpose flour for delicate items like cakes. Things with more structure, ie bread, need the higher protein content of All purpose or bread flour. King Arthur flour has a good explanation of different flour types and their purposes. http://www.kingarthurflour.com

    • Sara

      In the UK ‘Plain Flour’ is US cake flour. Most People have this in their pantry.

      There is also Bread flour and pasta flour, both totally different in the gluten/protien aspect. I tend to use ’00′ for pasta. You will find ‘OO’ flour in deli’s or ask, a good deli will know what ’00′ flour is (the ’00′ is a grade of flour, which is exactly what we are all talking about here). Bread flour is in the supermarket aisle with the bread mixes. There should be just a plain flour there without anything added to it or with the yeast packets in the box. I believe the bread grade of flour is what they are talking about here, when they lighten it using the corn flour.

      Self raising flour is exactly the same in all countries its is ‘cake flour’ with the correct ratio of baking powder (not soda) added.

      Just some background on me – I am and Australian who has lived in the US (18mths) and the UK (2yrs)

      So in answer to your question all you need in the pantry is Plain and Self raising, which should cover most recipes. I buy my bread or pasta flour on demand. If you have a US recipe that calls for cake flour and baking powder then just used self raising. If that same recipe calls for baking powder and baking soda then you still need to add the baking soda (which is Bi Carb Soda). And example of this is Banana Bread/Cake. Bi card makes it the darker colour.

      Hope this makes sense, otherwise feel free to email me at ozgirlkim @ gmail.com

  • For those not in the US cake flour is our normal all purpose or plain flour. It is any other flour that is hard to buy here.

    We have only just started branching out to the high gluten bread or bakers flour.

    If your are not sure check the ingredients listing if it has so sort of corn starch in it then it is already cake flour.

  • This is great! I use cake flour along with all-purpose for my pizza dough every Friday night. Thanks for the tip!

  • Amazing! You cant buy cake flour in the UK so I’ll deffo be giving this a go.

    Katie xox

  • Great tip, Joy! I’ve done this before but it’s always good to be reminded. Did you know King Arthur recently came out with a new unbleached cake flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/unbleached-cake-flour-blend)? But looking at the ingredients, I suspect they pretty much did what you suggest right here ;).

  • Thanks so much Joy!! What a great tip – you are the best!

  • I only wish you’d posted this great tip on Thursday, when I made a birthday cake that called for cake flour and I just substituted all plain flour. The cake was OK … but only just OK. I bet this would have made it better. Still, slather a layer cake with chocolate frosting, and who is going to complain?

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