Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
What is the difference between various types of flour?

The recipe calls for cake flower, I have all-purpose flour. Can I use what I have? Or should I go get the cake flour? I know some things can be substituted, but not all the time. I’m making a n old fashioned pineapple upside-down cake.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Aaronut Mar 3 '12 at 21:19

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

This duplicates What is the difference between cake flour and AP flour? which was merged with What is the difference between various types of flour? The short answer is no; the long answer is yes if you happen to be very experienced with the recipes and flours and know how to adjust ratios and/or baking times to compensate. – Aaronut Mar 3 '12 at 21:19

This can depend on the specific recipe and the goal, but in general know that cake flour has a lower resulting gluten content than all-purpose flour, thereby resulting in the cake having a "lighter" texture. Experimentation with the specific recipe can tell you whether it matters, but in general I would caution substituting if any of the following conditions are called out by the recipe;

  • a very specific kneading/mixing time, i.e. with breads
  • a specific attention is called to the temperature, i.e. with pie crusts
  • the cake should have a very fluffy, spongy, or otherwise specific texture (as opposed to a more loose end result as with cake brownies or other hybrids where some flex either way could yield a nice result)

In some recipes, and especially mediated by the type of fat you use*, it may not matter if you use cake flour. However, if you want to make a spongier or fluffier loaf of cake, it will be detrimental to have all-purpose flour as the main building block. Some recipes can be specifically cut with cake flour to reduce gluten in the end result. The inverse obtains as well.

*If a recipe with a higher gluten flour calls for a room-temperature liquid fat (canola oil), and you substitute it with a lower gluten flour and a room-temperature solid fat (i.e. coconut oil, shortening) you can tweak to approximate a similar end result with pleasant nuances. I do this with otherwise oatmeal and whole-wheat cookies relying on a puree (i.e. pumpkin, sweet potato) for flavor, and cut in some APF with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, thus resulting in a crisp cookie with a pleasant toothiness.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.