Cake Flour vs All Purpose Flour
It is the gluten content of the flour that primarily makes the difference between cake flour and all purpose flour. If you are an experienced chef, you are aware of all the nuances of flour when making different recipes, but it becomes problematical for a beginner when he is trying his hands at cakes and other recipes requiring different kinds of flours. Well, there is this all purpose flour that can be substituted for other flours with little additions while there are other types of flours like bread flour, self rising flour, cake flour, and so on. Is there a difference between cake flour and all purpose flour? Also, can a person substitute one type of flour to the other? Let us find out in this article.
What do you do when you have undertaken to make cookies for the entire family for Christmas, but the cake flour finished while making, and you ended up with a dozen less than you had planned? Do you rush to market, to buy the cake flour or try to make do with what you have at home? This may be a very common problem but rarely answered. Let’s look at this problem later and now turn back to the problem of differentiating between all purpose flour and cake flour.
Both hard and soft wheat go into making of any type of flour and serve different purposes. The proportion of gluten in flour makes all the difference. Gluten content and protein content are directly linked. So, if you know the protein content of flour, then you can get to know the gluten content. It is said that flour with high protein content generate high gluten content while the flour with low protein content creates less gluten content.
Different flours have different amounts of gluten with bread flour having the highest proportion of gluten while the pastry flour having the least amounts of gluten. Pastry flour is used for pie crusts that do not require rising of flour at all. Thus, one cannot use this flour for making bread, as it lacks gluten and will not rise at all. That makes this flour not suitable as it cannot give the structure that is required.
All-purpose flours fall between the two extremes of bread flour and pastry flour, with cake flour lying closer to pastry flour than all-purpose flour that lies in between the extreme.
Bread flour needs a lot of kneading to make great bread. Ever wondered why? This is because the more you knead, the more the flour rises allowing you to make great breads.
What is All Purpose Flour?
All purpose flour is the flour that contains a higher amount of gluten and protein. Hard wheat lends higher proportion of gluten and proteins that help to make chewy cookies and crumbs of breads. Soft wheat makes tender and softer cookies. As the name implies, an all purpose flour can be used to make many different types of recipes, and this is precisely why it contains both soft as well as hard wheat flours.
What is Cake Flour?
Cake flour has a less amount of gluten and protein. Since cake is always soft and tender, it only requires soft flours. Cake flour, as the name implies, is used to make cake. This flour is great for the airy, light, and soft structure a cake needs to have. However, if you are not a person who makes cakes frequently, then you may not have cake flour with you at all times. However, you want to make a cake, and all you have is all purpose flour. You simply have to turn the all purpose flour into cake flour to suit your need. To turn all purpose flour into cake flour, to a scant cup of all purpose flour add two tablespoons of corn starch.
What is the difference between Cake Flour and All Purpose Flour?
• Protein and Gluten:
• Cake flour has a lower proportion of proteins and gluten than the all purpose flour. The exact amount of protein varies according to different brands.
• In Pillsbury all purpose flour, protein content is 12%.1
• In Pillsbury softasilk cake flour, protein content is 11%. 2
• Nature of Flour:
• As a result of more gluten, all purpose flour is used to provide structure and chewy taste to recipes.
• As a result of less gluten, cake flour is light, soft, and airy as cakes need to be softer.
• All purpose flour can be used to make bread while it is hard to make cakes with this flour.
• To turn all purpose flour into cake flour, to a scant cup of all purpose flour add two tablespoons of corn starch.
• To turn cake flour into all purpose flour, add few spoons of wheat gluten.
• All purpose flour does require kneading.
• Cake flour does not require that much kneading.