Cake Flour Vs. Pastry Flour: Which One Is Best For Your Baking?
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If you've been baking and cooking with the belief that all-purpose flour is your sole option, you really need to sit down. A multitude of substitutes exist for all-purpose flour, from flours made specifically for certain baking tasks to flours devoid of wheat and other grains. Traditionally, finely ground wheat or other grains are used to make flour.

Naturally, there are gluten-free choices, but one crucial aspect may even categorise wheat flour: the amount of protein. The gluten that gives baked goods their structure is formed with the help of the protein in flour during the kneading or mixing process. Protein content directly correlates with gluten content, meaning that the finished product will be more "structured."

What Is Cake Flour?

Cake flour has a low protein level (approximately 6%), and it is made from soft wheat varietals, most often soft red winter wheat. Extra-fine grinding of cake flour produces a lighter, loosely structured crumb and frothy texture. Due to its low gluten level, cake flour is perfect for baked items with a soft texture. Baking delicate sponges, pound cakes, layer cakes, and cupcakes makes it simpler to obtain lighter, tender textures.

What Is Pastry Flour?

Made from soft white wheat or soft red winter wheat, pastry flour is a type of soft flour. A softer, finer crumb is achieved in baked items because of the finer texture and decreased protein content (gluten is the protein).

It is perfect for crumbly, flakey, or chewy baked items, including quick breads, croissants, scones, tarts, and pie crusts.

What's The Difference?

The following are the three key differences between the two flours:


The flour for pastry is pounded extremely finely. Compared to all-purpose flours, which are designed to be used for a variety of purposes, it is far finer. Even while pastry produced with pastry flour can still be manufactured, the texture of pastry made with all-purpose flour will be thicker.

Cake flour has even finer milling. One of the first things you'll notice about cake flour is how pillowy, cool, and soft it feels in your palm. Even after sitting outside in a hot environment, the flour typically feels quite chilly, if not frigid, due to its increased surface area. Because the grinding is considerably finer, it is even softer, cooler, and more cushiony.

Protein Content

Protein content is lower in pastry flour. The usage of wheat cultivars that are naturally low in protein is mostly to blame for this. White flour is frequently used for pastry, which enhances the flour's qualities. A low protein content in flour indicates a very soft flour.

This is important because a lack of protein chains in your pastry reduces its rigidity, which prevents it from becoming mushy, and its elasticity, which enables you to construct an airy or crisp top.

Similar to texture, cake flour and pastry flour differ in that cake flour has even less protein than pastry flour. This explains why batters made with pastry flour and cake flour result in two distinct cake textures. 

Culinary Uses

For light, flaky pastries like croissants and baked delicacies like brownies and chocolate chip cookies, pastry flour is perfect. Conversely, baked foods made with cake flour, such as pound cakes, have a lighter texture. Since cake flour and pastry flour don't contain much gluten, they shouldn't be used to manufacture baked goods like pasta, breads, or pastries that need the formation of gluten.