Cake Flour vs. Self-Rising Flour: What’s the Difference?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
Difference Between Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour

One of the joys of baking is having a variety of flours to use in your recipe. There are many types of flour you can bake with. The options are just about endless. Cake flour and self-rising flour (or self-rising flour) are just two choices among countless others.

What’s the difference between cake flour and self-rising flour? The main difference between cake flour and self-rising flour lies in the type of flour used. Cake flour is a soft flour, one that is lower in protein. On the other hand, self-rising flour is a hard flour or regular all-purpose flour.

What are Other Differences Between Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour?

Besides the basic difference in flour type, cake flour and self-rising flour differ in composition. Cake flour may have cornstarch, while self-rising flour always has baking powder.

You can spot another difference in their protein content. Cake flour has about 7% to 9% protein, while self-rising flour uses flour containing 9% to 12% protein.

One very important difference is in texture. Cake flour is fine flour. It is light and an extra-fine grind. Quite oppositely, self-rising flour is heavier with a coarse grind. Since self-rising flour contains all-purpose flour, it is not finely ground.

Some more differences between cake flour and self-rising flour? One big difference between cake flour and self-rising flour is in purpose. Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour that you can use to bake recipes that need leavening or baking powder. On the other hand, cake flour is particularly meant for producing softer and lighter cakes, or pastries.

So if you want a tender baked product, it is better to use cake flour.

Does Cake Flour Look Like Self-Rising Flour?

Yes, cake flour does look very much like self-rising flour. So be careful when selecting products at the shop. Check labels. Also, if you plan to transfer them into your home storage containers, clearly label which is cake flour and which is self-rising flour.

Can You Substitute Self-Rising Flour with Cake Flour and All-Purpose Flour?

Yes, you can substitute self-rising flour with cake flour and all-purpose flour. Use the following conversion:

To make 1 cup of self-rising flour, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour or cake flour. Add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. And add ½ teaspoon of salt.

Can You Use Self-Rising Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour?

Yes, and no. Use self-rising flour if the recipe calls for baking powder or baking soda. Remember that you do not need to add baking soda or baking powder anymore.

It is important to note that self-rising flour is not recommended to substitute for all-purpose flour in recipes that do not have any leavening like baking powder and baking soda.

Can You Use Self-Rising Flour to Substitute for Cake Flour?

Yes, and no. Use self-rising flour only if the recipe uses baking powder. Remember though that the texture will definitely change. Don’t forget to omit baking powder if you’re using self-rising flour instead of cake flour.

How Do Sellers Pack Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour?

Like other flour types, cake flour and self-rising flour are often packed in paper packaging or re-sealable airtight plastic packs. Some are also in hard plastic jars. You can find them in 250 grams to 1 kilogram of packaging and more.

Can You Use All-Purpose Flour Instead of Cake Flour?

Yes, and no. If you do not mind the change in texture, then by all means, use all-purpose flour whenever you don’t have cake flour on hand. Otherwise, strictly stick to cake flour.

To make the substitution for 1 cup of cake flour, measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Then take out 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Is Self-Rising Flour the same as All-Purpose Flour?

Yes, and no. Both are basically all-purpose flours. They are hard flours with a higher protein content. However, self-rising flour contains baking powder, while all-purpose flour does not have any leavening agent.

When Should You Use Self-Rising Flour?

Use self-rising flour for any recipe that requires all-purpose flour and baking powder. Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour with leavening, so you can bake cakes, biscuits, pastries, and even pies using self-rising flour.

Choose self-rising flour to make dense brownies and cakes any time. And use them to make bread.

When Should You Use Cake Flour?

Use cake flour if you want light, airy, and tender cakes, pastries, and breads. You should also use cake flour if you want light, crumbly brownies, cookies, muffins or cupcakes.

Use cake flour to bake yummy macaroons, scones, and tortes. Choose cake flour when making layered cakes and light, quick loaves of breads.

Try this easy and quick cookie recipe to go with your favorite cup of coffee or tea:

  1. Beat 1 cup of softened pure butter and ½ cup sugar using an electric mixer.
  2. When the mixture turns fluffy and light, drop 2 cups of sifted cake flour into the mixing bowl.
  3. Mix gently until you form a soft dough using the mixer or a baking spatula.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  5. Roll out onto a floured surface. Cut out the dough into shapes.
  6. Bake at 160°C or 320°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

How Long Does Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour Last?

With proper storage practices, you can extend the quality of flours for up to a year. However, it is generally recommended to discard opened packs of flours after 3 months.

For the best quality, keep your flours in airtight containers. Keep them in a cool but dry and dark place. You may also store them in the freezer.

Final Thoughts

  • Cake flour is a soft flour while self-rising flour is a hard flour.
  • Self-rising flour contains more protein (9% to 12%) than cake flour (7% to 9%).
  • Cake flour is finely ground, while self-rising flour is not finely ground.
  • Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour, while cake flour is best for light and tender baked products.
  • Self-rising flour contains all-purpose flour and baking powder.
  • Cake flour substitutions contain all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

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