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Self Rising Flour vs Cake Flour

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

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Lori Walker

People’s baking and cooking choices can really **vary**. Some like using self-rising flour in their recipes, while others pick cake flour.

The question that we ask most frequently is whether self-rising flour or cake flour is better. 

We will explore the differences between these two flours and discuss their benefits and uses in detail.

Let’s look at this face-off: self-rising flour vs cake flour. Read on.

Comparing Self Rising Flour & Cake Flour

cake flour on a measuring cup

Cake flour is soft wheat flour that has been ground and mixed, whereas self-rising flour is fortified with salt and baking powder. 

“Baking happens with ingredients that last for months and come to life inside a warm oven. Baking is slow and leisurely.”

– Regina Brett, American Author

The primary difference between the two flours is that the cake flour has a small amount of protein while the self-rising flour contains more.

Also Read: Can You Make A Sourdough Starter With Bleached Flour?

Key Differences 

Definition & Uses

All-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt are the main ingredients of self-rising flour. The flour mixture is frequently used in biscuits, muffins, and pizza recipes.

Cake flour, on the other hand, is a finely ground, low-protein flour. It is used in dishes when you want a particularly fluffy, light texture. [1] 

Cake flour can also give other desserts, such as Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, a more soft crumb.

Gluten Content

Self-rising flour has a gluten content of 9.5% or higher, whereas cake flour has a gluten content of 7.5–9%. 

Protein naturally produces gluten in the batter, so wheat with a higher protein level will also naturally have a higher gluten content. [2] 

Protein Content

Cake flour, which is light and lower in protein than other types of flour, is often used to make delightful cakes and lighter pastries. 

The protein concentration of cake flour is 8.5%, a little less than the 10-12% present in all-purpose flour. But what can you make with cake flour?

Texture

Cake flour can absorb much water since it is particularly finely ground. As a result, the texture is sensitive and soft with a fine crumb. 

Self-rising flour has the same texture as cake flour because it is often sifted, making it very uniform and smooth in appearance.

Additional Ingredients 

In contrast to cake flour, simply flour, self-rising flour is merely regular flour with a few additional ingredients.

The self-rising flour contains baking powder and salt to accomplish the task of becoming “self-rising,” as its name implies.

Self-rising flour can’t always be substituted for cake flour or regular all-purpose flour because of these extra components.

Read: What Does A Scant Cup Of Flour Mean?

Can You Use Self Rising Flour Instead of Cake Flour? 

flour on a bowl

Yes, you can use self-rising flour instead of cake flour but you have to make some adjustments due to the difference in the additional ingredients. 

You can turn the self-rising flour’s protein content more similar to cake flour by removing 2 tbsp of self-rising flour and replacing it with 2 tbsp of cornstarch.

Can You Use Cake Flour Instead of Self Rising Flour? 

Yes, you can use cake flour instead of self-rising flour, but you have to adjust to change the gluten content produced by protein.

Replace 1 cup of cake flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt with every cup of self-rising flour needed in the recipe.

But is it okay to mix bread flour and all-purpose flour?

Quick Comparison

Cake FlourSelf Rising Flour
DefinitionFinely ground flour made of wheat.Flour that has salt and baking powder added.
UsesUse to add fluffy texture to desserts.Use in biscuits, pizza, and muffin recipes.
Gluten ContentLow (8-9%)High (10-12%)
Protein Content8-9%10-12%
TextureFinely ground and bleached.Smooth but not finely ground and bleached.
Additional IngredientsnoneSalt and baking powder

Related Post:

FAQs 

How to make self-rising flour at home?

To make self-rising flour at home, add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder for every cup of all-purpose flour.

How to make cake flour substitutes at home?

To make cake flour substitute at home, for every 1 cup, subtract two tbsp of all-purpose flour and replace them with two tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

Find out what you can make with water and flour here.

Is bread flour similar to cake flour?

No, bread flour is different from cake flour because it has higher protein content.

Is self-rising flour and self-raising flour the same?

No, self-rising flour and self-raising flour differ in origin and salt content. Self-raising flour doesn’t have salt. But what are some of the flour options for cinnamon rolls?

Can self-rising and cake flour be interchanged? 

Yes, they can be interchanged, but not as is because you have to make adjustments because of their different ingredients. The result of texture might not also be the same.

Final Thoughts 

In general, self-rising flour and cake flour are different flours regarding gluten and protein content, additional ingredients, and their use in baking.

You can’t just interchange these two without adjusting because of those additional ingredients.

To distinguish the two, remember that self-rising flour has salt and baking powder added, and cake flour doesn’t.

References:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-scientific-secret-of-stretchy-dough/ 
  2. https://www.acs.org/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2011-2012/gluten.html 
Lori Walker

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