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How can I make cake with cake flour vs. pastry flour?

Bethzaida - from Florida, FL

Cakes can be made with a variety of different flours, but it’s important to follow what your recipe calls for. When a recipe simply refers to “flour,” it usually refers to all-purpose flour. The following information is from Sarah Phillips, founder of baking911.com, and a guest on Bake Decorate Celebrate! several seasons ago:

All-purpose flour is one of the most commonly used and is readily accessible in the United States. You can use either unbleached or bleached and you don't need to buy a fancy brand; flour from the grocery store is perfectly fine.

Bread flour, also referred to as "strong white flour" or "strong flour", is a high-gluten flour usually milled from hard wheat. It contains a high percentage of protein which forms gluten when moistened. It is used in bread recipes because it creates a gluten network strong enough to trap the gases from the yeast. It is not good in quick breads, cookies and cakes, which don’t require as strong a network.

Cake flour, an enriched and bleached flour, is used in producing fine chiffon and angel food cakes, as well as assorted cookies. Milled from soft white flour, cake flour has a lower gluten content. It is used where a delicate and tender texture is desired. Almost all cake flour is bleached to lighten its pale beige color. In delicate cakes, it imparts some acidity to a batter resulting in a cake with a crumb that's whiter, finer and sweeter in flavor.

Pastry Flour is available as either plain or whole wheat. It is a low-gluten flour used in delicate cakes and pastries, biscuits, pancakes, pie crust, cookies, muffins and brownies, pound and sheet cakes. If you can't find pastry flour, generally, you can mix 1 cup of cake flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour and get a good close protein mix to use for pastry flour.

All-purpose and cake flour are the flours we use most often on Bake Decorate Celebrate, and we tell you in each recipe or project which to use!


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The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.