Q.: I have a recipe that calls for cake flour. I only have all-purpose flour. Can I use it instead?
— M.B., Brecksville
A.: Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, and makes cakes lighter and less dense than all-purpose flour. By comparison, cake flour is typically 5 to 8 percent protein, while all-purpose flour is 11 to 12 percent protein. Some bread flours are even higher in protein, while pastry flour is typically about 9 to 10 percent protein, but it can be difficult to find outside of specialty stores.
You can use the all-purpose flour, but you may get denser results, depending on what you are baking. Instead, I recommend you use your all-purpose flour to make your own cake flour by following this formula: for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir to combine.
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