Cake Flour Vs. All-Purpose Flour: Differences To Know
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There are a variety of flours available to you as you embark on baking projects. However, how can you determine which type of flour is ideal for the job at hand? Every flour has advantages and disadvantages. Everything you need to know about cake flour and all-purpose flour will be covered in detail in this guide. When is it OK to use one over the other? Is cake flour meant to be used solely for cakes? Do not fear; all of your baking concerns are addressed in this article. Here's what you should know about cake flour and all-purpose flour:

What Is All-Purpose Flour?

The mildly flavoured white flour known as all-purpose flour, or AP flour, is derived from the endosperm of both soft and hard wheat varietals. The bran and germ of wheat kernels are separated from the endosperm during the AP flour milling process. Because these ingredients include oils that promote spoilage, AP flour is more shelf-stable than other whole-grain flour when those oils are removed during the milling process.

What Is Cake Flour?

Cake flour has a low protein level (approximately 6%), and it is derived from soft wheat varietals, usually soft red winter wheat. Extra-fine grinding of cake flour produces a lighter, less structured crumb and a frothy texture. Cake flour has a low gluten level, which makes it simpler to generate lighter, more soft textures when baking pastries, cupcakes, muffins, and delicate sponges. It is therefore perfect for baked items with a tender texture.

What's The Difference?

The following are the differences that separate cake flour and all-purpose flour:

Gluten Content

The gluten content is the primary distinction between cake flour and all-purpose flour. Although too much gluten can make baked goods difficult, it is what gives them their structure. The amount of gluten required varies depending on what you're making; a light, fluffy cake needs less gluten to maintain its delicate texture, while a chewy, crusty loaf of bread needs a robust structure.

All-purpose flour has a modest gluten content—between 10 and 13%—because it's meant to work for many kinds of baking. With a gluten level of only 6–8%, cake flour has one of the lowest gluten contents and produces a considerably softer, lighter crumb.

Grain Size

Grain size is another significant distinction. Because smaller grains absorb more water during baking, this has an impact on how flour behaves. Although the texture of all-purpose flour varies, its grains are typically of a moderate size, which makes it appropriate for a broad range of baking applications. On the other hand, cake flour is extra-finely ground to maintain your cakes' exquisite moisture.


Cake flour is what it sounds like—you should use it for cakes, especially fluffy pastries like angel food cake. Moreover, despite its name, cake flour isn't exclusively for cakes. Pancakes, muffins, cookies, and biscuits may all be made with cake flour.

It's usually best to use all-purpose flour when a recipe doesn't call for a particular kind of flour. You can make breads, muffins, cakes, and more with all-purpose flour. In many dishes, it produces a soft, chewy feel.

Can You Substitute All-Purpose Flour For Cake Flour?

When a cake recipe calls for cake flour, you may, in fact, use all-purpose flour in its place. To avoid the production of gluten similarly, when you replace a cup of cake flour with a cup of all-purpose flour, take out two tablespoons of the AP flour and add two teaspoons of corn flour. Additionally, sifting all-purpose flour will contribute to a softer texture.

Cake flour is not always the best flour for the task, even in the world of cakes. The relative strength of all-purpose flour helps to provide cakes with a lot of wet components (carrot cake or banana bread) or dry ingredients (cocoa powder) with an appropriate, balanced structure.