You can use bread flour for the cake, but it may yield different results than cake flour or all-purpose flour. Bread flour has higher protein content, which can lead to a denser and less tender texture in cakes. Therefore, it’s not usually the first choice for delicate cake recipes.
However, one way to get delicious and good-looking bread flour is to add some cornstarch to the bread flour and avoid overmixing the ingredients.
Differences between Bread Flour and Cake Flour
Bread flour has a higher protein content (12-14%) than cake flour (about 7-8%). Higher protein content leads to more gluten formation when mixed with liquid, resulting in a chewier texture, which is desirable for bread but not ideal for a tender, delicate cake.
Texture and Color
Cake flour is finely milled and bleached, which makes it lighter in color and texture. This bleaching process also alters the flour’s starches, enabling it to absorb more liquid and sugar, leading to moist and sweet cakes.
Due to its high protein content, bread flour is ideal for baking goods that require structure and elasticity, like bread and pizza dough. Cake flour, with its lower protein content, creates tender and fluffy cakes.
While both can be used interchangeably in a pinch, each performs best in its intended use. Using bread flour in cakes can lead to denser textures, and using cake flour in bread can lead to less structure and chew.
Why is Bread Flour Not Suitable for Cakes?
Bread flour isn’t ideal for cakes because it has a higher protein content, leading to more gluten formation. This results in a chewier, denser texture which, while desirable in breads, can lead to a less tender and fluffy cake. Therefore, cake flour or all-purpose flour, with its lower protein contents, is typically more suitable for cake baking.
How to Make Cake With Bread Flour?
While it’s not ideal, you can make a cake using bread flour. Here’s a simplified guide to using bread flour for a basic cake.
Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease your cake pan.
Mixing Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of bread flour, 1.5 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Whisk these ingredients together to distribute them evenly.
Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, beat 1 cup of softened unsalted butter until creamy. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Combining Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with 1 cup of buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. This helps keep the mixture smooth and well combined.
Baking: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cooling: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Best Flours for Cakes
This is the best choice for most cakes due to its low protein content (around 7-8%). The low protein content leads to less gluten formation, which results in a tender, delicate crumb. It’s also bleached, helping it to absorb more liquid and sugar, creating a moist, sweet cake.
While it has a higher protein content (around 10-12%) than cake flour, all-purpose flour is still a good option for many cake recipes. It balances structure and tenderness, making it a versatile choice.
This type of flour has baking powder and salt added to it. It’s suitable for some cakes, especially those with a lighter texture like sponge cakes. Remember not to add extra leavening agents when using self-rising flour unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
With a protein content between all-purpose flour and cake flour (around 8-10%), pastry flour can be used for cakes that need a bit more structure than cake flour can provide without getting too tough. It’s great for tender yet crumbly cakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to convert bread flour into cake flour?
Add 3 tbsp. cornstarch into 1 cup of bread flour to make it all-purpose flour. It is a simple process and gives great results. Mix both and strain using a fine-mesh strainer 1-2 times to remove lumps and big particles.
Can I use bread flour instead of plain flour for baking?
Yes, you can use bread flour instead of plain (all-purpose) flour for baking, but remember that bread flour has higher protein content. This will lead to more gluten development and may result in a denser, chewier texture. It works well for yeast bread but might not be the best choice for delicate cakes or pastries.
Which is the best flour instead of cake flour for making cakes?
If you don’t have cake flour, you can use all-purpose flour as a substitute for making cakes. While it has a slightly higher protein content than cake flour, it can still yield a tender cake. Alternatively, you can substitute cake flour by removing two tablespoons of all-purpose flour per cup and replacing it with cornstarch.
Can I use bread flour for banana bread?
Yes, you can use bread flour for banana bread. The higher protein content of bread flour can help create a more robust structure suitable for the moist, dense texture of banana bread. However, using bread flour might make your banana bread slightly chewier than all-purpose flour.