DIY Cake Flour Recipe (and the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour & Cake Flour) by Ann Marie Patitucci

DIY Cake Flour Recipe (and the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour & Cake Flour)

I don’t know about you, but when I run across a new recipe that calls for a slight variation on an ingredient, I always wonder how much of a difference it makes. For example, I recently made a recipe that called for cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. I always try to find exactly what the recipe calls for, but I do wonder if it’s really necessary. So I looked into it and tried to find answers to my questions. Luckily, one of my favorite celebrity chefs, Rae Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) set me straight!

On The Pioneer Woman’s website, Rae tells us that cake flour is “a finely milled version of all-purpose flour that's lightened with cornstarch. It contains the least amount of protein of all the wheat flours … about 8 percent (compared to all-purpose’s 11 percent).”

Now that leads to another question: What difference does that make in the baking? In the taste? Well, according to The Pioneer Woman, “less gluten is produced in the final product, which ultimately translates to a finer, more delicate crumb.” Sounds like you can see and taste the difference in your baking recipes!

But what if you’re all ready to start baking and you don’t have cake flour (don’t you hate when that happens??). Rae suggests that rather than just substituting with all-purpose flour, which really has a different texture and therefore effect, that you make your own. It’s quite easy, as long as you have cornstarch on hand. Here's how to make DIY cake flour:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2 tablespoons cornstarch

Here's how to make it:

  1. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the 1 cup of flour.
  2. Add in the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

You can do this in place of 1 cup cake flour.

The Pioneer Woman recommends using a sifter or fine-mesh sieve (or a large bowl and a whisk). Her instructions: “Sift the flour-cornstarch mixture together about five times, or whisk together until very thoroughly combined. (The sifting/whisking also serves to aerate the DIY cake flour to achieve its signature lightness.)”

I think I’m ready to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour in some light and airy recipes like fluffy pancakes, angel food cake, crepes and more.

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Elisa Schmitz
So great to know this, Ann Marie Patitucci ! Thanks for all the insight you share.
Didn’t realize, good to know.

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