Cake Flour Substitute Recipe

cake flour how-to make it
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup (4 servings)
Ratings (17)

Cake flour, as the name suggests, is often called for in cakes, cupcakes, and some pastry recipes. Cake flour is a soft wheat, low protein flour with a fine texture, milled from the endosperm of the wheat kernel.  It is lighter and has very little gluten, making for tender and less dense baked items.

Cake flour isn't just for cakes. It is a good alternative for light, fluffy biscuits or scones, or use it in place of all-purpose to make pancakes, waffles, muffins, and quick breads. Because of the low gluten content, it isn't a good choice for pie crust, yeast breads and rolls, cookies, or pizza crust

If you do a good deal of baking, cake flour is probably on your pantry shelf. But, if you don't bake often, a box or bag of cake flour might turn rancid before you use it all. If you don't have store-bought cake flour, it's extremely easy to make a suitable substitute at home with a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. 

Use the formula and instructions below to make as much cake flour as you need for your recipe. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 3 3/4 ounces)

How to Make It

  1. Spoon 2 level tablespoons of cornstarch into a 1-cup measuring cup.
  2. Spoon flour into the cup until it is almost overflowing. Using the flat side of a butter knife, sweep the knife over the top of the cup to level it. Each cup of cake flour will weigh about 4 ounces (all-purpose weighs in at about 4 1/2 ounces).
  3. Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture into a bowl. 
  4. Repeat to make as many cups as is needed for the recipe. When you have all of the flour and cornstarch you need in the bowl, blend it thoroughly with a whisk or spoon and then sift it. Measure the fine, sifted cake flour using the method in step 2, leveling each cup off. If you are weighing, each cup of cake flour substitute should weigh about 4 ounces.
  1. If your cake or pastry recipe calls for all-purpose flour and you feel cake flour would produce better results, you can substitute cake flour or the homemade cake flour blend for the all-purpose flour. Just use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour (or the homemade blend above) for each cup of all-purpose flour in the recipe.
  2. For a brief description of different types of wheat flour, see Types of Wheat Flour.

Recipe Variations

  • Self-Rising Cake Flour: You might occasionally come across a recipe for self-rising cake flour. Add 1 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of cake flour or cake flour substitute and mix well. Sift and measure.
  • Pastry Flour: Combine 3 parts all-purpose flour with 1 part cake flour.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
462 Calories
13g Fat
77g Carbs
9g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)