What to substitute for cake flour

Updated February 21, 2017

If you habitually grab that big bag of flour for all your cooking, you might want to double-check your recipe. The type of flour used will ultimately affect the texture of your dish. However, if you're missing that necessary bit of plain flour, you can substitute it with a couple of accessible ingredients.

What is cake flour?

All flours are made up of starch and protein. The protein in wheat forms gluten, which in turn determines whether a flour is appropriate for crusty breads or tender baked goods. Protein content in breads can range from five to 15 per cent. Plain flour has a low protein content and forms a weak gluten. It therefore contributes to tender cakes and biscuits. Plain flour is also bleached in such a way as to combine well with water and sugar.

Suitable substitutes

If you don't have any plain flour, you can substitute a mixture of cornstarch and all-purpose flour. For every 250 ml (1 cup) of plain flour called for in your recipe, use 215 ml (7/8 cup) of all-purpose flour and 30 ml (2 tbsp) cornstarch.

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About the Author

Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).