When I first purchased cake flour, I thought it was a gimmick. I figured it was relabelled all-purpose at a slightly higher price and would work exactly the same. However, I was wrong! Cake flour is more finely milled and has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour or bread flour, which creates a softer, more delicate texture in the finished cake. But what if you don’t have any cake flour on hand? Don’t worry! Here are 6 of the best cake flour substitutes that you can use for all sorts of baking occasions.
- All-purpose flour plus cornstarch
- All-purpose flour
- Oat flour plus arrowroot powder
- Oat flour
- Almond flour
- Einkorn flour
Best All-Around Cake Flour Substitute: All-Purpose Flour + Cornstarch
Both cake flour and all-purpose flour are types of white, refined flour, but cake flour is made from soft wheat, whereas all-purpose flour is made from soft and hard wheat (higher protein).
You can make a decent cake flour substitute by combining all-purpose flour with cornstarch. This combination will give you the same texture and softness as cake flour without compromising on taste. To make your own cake flour substitute with all-purpose flour and cornstarch; remove 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose and mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with every cup of all-purpose flour. This combination should be sifted together before use.
Best Budget-Friendly Cake Flour Substitute: All-Purpose Flour
Cake flour is around 17 to 25 cents per ounce, whereas you can find all-purpose flour for as low as 3 cents per ounce. Cake flour absorbs a little more liquid than all-purpose flour, though, so when you substitute it, add a couple of extra tablespoons of all-purpose per cup of cake flour (1 cup cake flour = 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose)
Self-rising flour could also be used, but then any baking powder in the recipe should be omitted.
Best Easy-to-Bake-With Cake Flour Substitute: All-Purpose Flour + Cornstarch
All-purpose flour contains more protein, which can lead to a denser and heavier texture when used in cakes. To achieve a lighter texture similar to cake flour, substitute 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for every cup. Whisk thoroughly to ensure a smooth and lump-free consistency, and sift the flour multiple times for an exceptionally fine texture.
This addition of cornstarch creates super soft cakes, almost identical in its neutral taste and texture to cake flour.
Best Healthy Substitute for Cake Flour: Oat Flour + Arrowroot Powder
A combination of oat flour and arrowroot powder can mimic the effect of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Arrowroot flour, a fine, odorless powder, comes from the roots of the South American arrowroot plant. It’s commonly used as a binding component in various baking recipes.
Previously, cornstarch was the preferred choice for such purposes, but it has been observed that many brands include hidden gluten. Also, corn can be an allergen for some people. As a result, arrowroot has emerged as a convenient substitute.
Oat flour is rich in protein, fiber, and various other nutrients. It’s an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy. It contains essential vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. To substitute for 1 cup of cake flour, mix 1 cup of oat flour with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch).
Best High-Fiber Substitute for Cake Flour: Oat Flour
Cake flour is really low in fiber, at only 1 gram per ¼ cup. Oat flour has 3 grams per ¼ cup, and the fiber is very good quality. As oat flour does not contain gluten, it may not hold together very well, and binding agents may need to be added.
It also tastes different from cake flour and will make your baked goods taste earthier and nuttier.
Best Gluten-Free Alternative to Cake Flour: Almond Flour
Almond flour is remarkably flexible and can serve as a replacement for standard flour in numerous recipes, such as cakes, cookies, bread, and beyond. However, almond flour may be slightly more challenging to handle when baking than traditional flour due to its lack of gluten.
Being denser than regular all-purpose or cake flour, almond flour might result in heavier baked goods unless other ingredients are adjusted accordingly. Also, because it’s gluten-free and high in fat, it tends to spread out more and rise less compared to cake flour.
Best Lower Calorie Substitute for Cake Flour: Einkorn Flour
Cake flour is not too high in calories, at only 120 per ¼ cup, but if you want to go lower than that, you could try einkorn flour.
Einkorn flour is a whole grain flour made from an ancient variety of wheat, lower in calories than regular cake flour, clocking in at only 100 per ¼ cup. It has a slightly nutty flavor and can be used as a one-to-one replacement for all-purpose or cake flour in baking recipes. The texture of einkorn flour is a bit denser than cake flour, so it works well for dense baked goods like brownies and muffins.
Best High Protein Substitute for Cake Flour: Almond Flour
Almond flour has 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup compared to cake flour’s 4 grams per ¼ cup. It is also higher in fat, so the batter is often more moist and oily. Because of its unique baking properties, when looking to make almond flour cakes, search for almond flour cake recipes rather than recipes designed with cake flour in mind!
Best Keto/Paleo/Whole30 Substitute for Cake Flour: Almond Flour
Almond flour is lower in carbs and higher in protein compared to cake flour, making it a great option for those following a low-carb or keto diet. And because it’s made from almonds, almond flour is suitable for both paleo and Whole30. Just be aware that this gluten-free substitute will produce baked goods that are less fluffy and much denser.
Cake flour is a finely milled, low-protein wheat flour used to make cakes. It’s known for its light and airy texture.
Cake flour will make your cookies more tender and delicate. However, the texture won’t be as crisp as it would be with regular all-purpose flour or even bread flour!
Most bakeries use all-purpose flour for their cookies. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and provides a firm texture that stands up to shaping techniques like rolling or pressing.
No, you typically don’t add salt to cake flour. Salt helps strengthen gluten and protein bonds in the dough, but since cake flour is deliberately lower in gluten, it is unnecessary. Though, If I am making chocolate cake, I add some to help the taste of the chocolate shine.