The key difference between cake flour and self-raising flour is that cake flour is finely milled flour with little protein content, whereas self-raising flour has more protein content with salt and baking powder added to help it rise.
Cake flour absorbs more water and sugar due to its finely milled nature. This makes food items moister and finer. Self-raising flour is not finely milled and it can be found in both bleached and unbleached types. Since baking powder is already added to it, making food items using self-raising flour is easier.
What is Cake Flour
Cake flour is a finely ground flour made from soft wheat. Generally, cake flour has low protein content. A bag of cake flour may contain 7-10 percent protein content. It also has low a gluten content. Due to this low gluten content, cakes become more light and tender. The smooth and silky texture of cake flour also makes a fine-textured cake. Since cake flour is finely milled, it has more surface area; therefore, it can absorb more water. Adding more water to the cake makes it possible to add more sugar. Adding more sugar to the cake makes it moister and long-lasting with a finer and tighter crumb.
Cake flour is believed to help the distribution of fats evenly and make the cake rise higher. Cake flour is usually bleached, so it has a pale colour, so the cake stays moist, rise for longer and prevents getting over browned. We can use this flour to make other types of food items as well, including biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, quick bread, and scones.
Substitutes for Cake Flour
If you don’t have cake flour at hand, you can use the following recipe.
- Take one level cup of plain flour and remove two tablespoons of the flour.
- Add two tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Sift the mixture together to mix the ingredients well.
What is Self-Raising Flour?
Self-raising flour has salt and baking powder added to it. Because of this combination, there is no need to add baking powder to it while preparing food items, making it easier to use self-raising flour. Cakes, doughnuts, bread, roti, naan roti and pastries can be prepared using this flour.
Moreover, self-raising flour also has a slightly higher protein content, which is more than 10 percent. This flour should be stored in an airtight, dry container. If the flour is stored too long, there is a tendency for the baking powder to lose its strength; as a result, the baked food items will not rise properly. Self-raising flour can be prepared by anyone on their own by adding one and a half teaspoons of baking powder and half teaspoons of salt per cup of all-purpose flour.
What is the Difference Between Cake Flour and Self-Raising Flour?
Cake flour is a finely ground flour made from soft wheat, while self-raising flour is flour that has salt and baking powder added to it. The key difference between cake flour and self-raising flour is that cake flour has little protein content while self-raising flour has more protein content.
The following infographic tabulates the differences between cake flour and self-raising flour for side by side comparison.
Summary – Cake Flour vs Self-Raising Flour
Cake flour is finely grounded and made from wheat. It has low protein and gluten levels. No additional ingredients are added to it. Cake flour is usually bleached and therefore is not sold in some countries due to health issues (Eg: Australia). Self-raising flour is not finely grounded as cake flour and has more protein and gluten content. It has additional ingredients like salt and baking powder and can be found in both bleached and unbleached varieties. This is the summary of the difference between cake flour and self-raising flour.
1. “Why Use Cake Flour?” Baking A Moment, 19 Oct. 2018.
2. “What Is Self Raising Flour? Glossary | Uses, Recipes with Self Raising, Rising Flour.” Tarla Dalal, 14 May 2016.
1. “Ingredients for Corn Fritters” By Gavin Tapp (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Bake, butter, flour, mountain, pile, cookie, egg, pastries, sugar, cake” (CC0) via Pxfuel