Cake flour is a highly specialized type of wheat flour, intended for use in making cakes, cookies, and other delicate baked goods. Several characteristics differentiate cake flour from other wheat flours, making it unsuitable for certain tasks like baking bread. When baking a cake, most cooks aim to create a light, fluffy cake with a tender crumb.
This requires a flour with a low protein content, as protein promotes the production of gluten, which can make baked goods more tough. It also means that the flour must be very finely milled, to keep baked goods from getting heavy. Finally, a flour which is starchy and able to hold large amounts of fat and sugar without collapsing is required.
Cake flour is made from the endosperm of soft wheat. The endosperm is the softest part of the wheat kernel, making cake flour the finest flour available. As cake flour is milled, it is heavily bleached with chlorine gas, not only to make it white but to break down the protein in the flour. This enables the fine grains to absorbs fat readily, ensuring that butter and other fats in cakes are well distributed throughout the batter.
It also helps it absorb water. Cake flour can also carry a high volume of sugar when compared to higher protein flours. Since cake flour is a high-starch flour, it is extremely well suited for baking.
Cake flour is generally a flour containing less than 10% protein. Such flours are low in water absorption and are of short mixing time and tolerance. It is used in chemically leavened cakes, cookies, and pastries.Culinary uses:
A cake flour is used to make a white cake where a delicate tender crumb is desired
Cookie and cake recipes which call for cake flour should be made using cake flour, if possible. In the production of certain other baked goods, cake flour can replace ordinary flour for a lighter end product, using one cup and two tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of flour called for in the recipe
Cake flour should not be used to make breads and other leavened products, as it is not strong enough.
Cake Flour is sometimes labeled pre-sifted. This means that the flour was sifted before packaging but it compacts during shipping and handling and therefore is no longer sifted by the time you get it home. So if your recipe calls for sifted flour make sure you sift it again.
Typically, cake flour is around seven percent protein, much lower than other flours; bread flour, for example, has twice that amount of protein
Cake flour is also rich in sugar and hence a good source of energy.
Also see All Purpose Flour, Corn Flour, Pastry flour, Peanut flour.
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