Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemaking Tip #8: Cake Flour Substitute

If you're like me, you don't have very much pantry space. If you're like me, you also loathe buying gimmicky specialty ingredients. So, when a recipe calls for cake flour, I stick with my plain all-purpose and some good old-fashioned cornstarch. Very easy, economical, and it doesn't take up any extra cupboard space!

There are lots of tips out there for how to sub all-purpose flour for cake flour, but here's what I do: Put 2 T cornstarch in the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup, then fill to the top with flour as normal and level with the back of a butter knife.

If you need 1/2 a cup, put 1 T cornstarch in the bottom of a 1/2 cup measure and proceed as above. You're all smart; you get the idea! You'll have to use a little more math for more difficult measurements, but as I said, you're all smart. (If you have homeschoolers, let them help you figure out the ratios!)


  1. I wax poetic about for substitutions like this! I live in the middle of nowhere, and ran out of baking powder the other day in the midst of an enormous batch of waffles. I was already partially committed (had begun stirring up ingredients!) so I checked the site and discovered the proportions to sub baking soda and a whole bunch of yogurt. (And I have to admit, I kind of wonder why people buy cake flour and bread flour and stuff like that!)

  2. great tip! I'm trying to become a better cook....and to expand my index..... and these little tips are very helpful.

  3. Bethany,

    I was just wondering about cake flour the other day. So thank. Now the next part, what is bread flour, and is there any way to get around that when it is called for in a recipe?


  4. Elizabeth - Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that has very small amounts of malted barley flour and vitamin C or potassium bromate added. All of these ingredients help in reactions with the yeast. All-purpose flour is lower in gluten and protein. Technically, you can just replace bread flour with all-purpose in recipes, but your final product may turn out less tender than it would have with bread flour. I find that holding off a little on my addition of flour in these cases tends to help in making a more tender, chewy bread or pastry, because recipes that call for bread flour are allowing for a stronger reaction with the yeast, so they can add more flour to begin with.

    Anyone else have tips on bread flour substitutions?

  5. Thank you for this post! I always have horrible results with American cake recipes. I have always blamed it on my tiny Japanese oven, but maybe it has been a flour problem all along. You inspired me to experiment a bit and see if I can't improve my cakes!


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