Cake flour usually refers to wheat flour, which is wheat that has been ground or milled into a soft and fine texture. It is the common base ingredient for baking cakes or cookies. However, it is distinct from regular or ordinary wheat flour, which is usually appropriate for baking bread but not for cakes. Cake flour is wheat flour specially processed for use in baking cakes.
Cake flour has lower protein content than flour made from other cereals or ordinary wheat flour. In processing wheat to become cake flour, the flour is bleached, thereby inhibiting the production of gluten, which accounts for the hardness or toughness of baked goods such as bread. Cakes are meant to be soft, fluffy, light, and tender. If your cake uses regular wheat flour or all-purpose flour, it would turn out having a similar texture to bread.
Cake flour has high starch content, as well, making it ideal for use in baking cakes. The high starch content prevents the cake from collapsing and distributes fat equally in the batter for it to improve the texture of the baked good.
There are those who want to bake cakes or cookies but don’t know what flour to use or where to buy it. Cake flour and other types of flour are available in most groceries. To an untrained eye, all flour is the same. But this is farthest from the truth. There are different types of flours, each one having a unique texture, color, protein and starch content, and suitability for a certain baking task. Cake flour, for example, is very white, soft, and fine. If you are buying flour for baking a cake, make sure you read the label and buy cake flour.
In the absence of cake flour, bleached all-purpose flour may be used for cakes and other pastries. However, some measuring adjustments have to be made. The general suggestion is to subtract two tablespoons of all-purpose flour for each cup of cake flour that the recipe requires.
Although a substitution can be made, cake flour is still the ideal ingredient for cakes. All good bakers use cake flour exclusively for cakes or cookies that need to have a soft and tender crumb. Cake flour is especially good for baking recipes that call for high sugar content.
When working with cake flour in baking your cake, measure the right or exact amount called for by the recipe. The quantity is essential to achieving the right outcome of the finished product. Avoid compacting the flour when you measure it, or else your cake will come out heavier than expected. Cake flour can be sifted before or after a cook measures it; it depends on the whether the recipe asks for sifted flour or unsifted flour.
Cake flour does not spoil fast and can be stored inside your refrigerator, freezer, or in a cool, dry place. If stored in a freezer, make sure the flour is defrosted before using it. Storing the flour inside the refrigerator or freezer also prevents insects from accessing the flour.