Can You Bake Cake With Bread Flour? A How-to Guide

Finding out you’re out of cake flour in the baking mood can be disheartening. But have you ever considered using bread flour to make a cake? I bet you have.

Flour comes in varieties. Some bakers will tell you that you use them accordingly (as their names imply). The only exception is all-purpose flour which indeed serves all purposes.

If you haven’t tried using bread flour for cakes, you should read this article to see if bread flour will make sweet and fluffy cakes.

What is bread flour?

Bread flour is a hard, high-gluten flour perfect for making bread, bagels, cinnamon rolls, and the like. Because of its high gluten content of about 12% to 14%, its dough has high elastic toughness and holds well into shape.

That is why it is best for products that need more structure. Also, baking with bread flour results in a chewy and dense product just like bread.

What is bread flour used for?

Bread flour is good for baking products that require more structure and a chewy and dense texture. It is mostly used for making different types of bread.

  • Bagels
  • Pizza
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Pretzels

Can you make a cake with bread flour?

Yes, you can. But the result would be a chewy, dense cake that isn’t close to the traditional cake. This texture is due to the high proportion of gluten present in bread flour.

Cakes are meant to be fluffy and airy. They do not need a lot of protein in the flour mix. Otherwise, the mix will turn out to be thick and elastic which is only good if you’re baking food that has a chewy and dense texture.

But, if you’re craving cake and bread flour seems to be the only available flour in your cupboard, there is a recipe that can help you get a better cake texture.

Can you turn bread flour into cake flour?

You cannot turn bread flour into cake flour. But if you mix bread flour with cornstarch and baking powder, you can get something less proteinous to bake a cake.

Cornstarch and baking powder help to reduce the protein content in bread flour and give the cake a light and fluffy texture.

You can follow these baking steps to do this:

  • Measure the same amount of cake flour you will need in your recipe for bread flour
  • Remove 20 grams and 3 tablespoons of bread flour from every 100 grams. So, if your recipe is 200 grams of bread cake, take out 40 grams and 6 tablespoons of bread flour
  • Replace the 20 grams of bread flour taken out with cornstarch and the 3 tablespoons with baking powder
  • Mix the three ingredients and sift at least 3 times or grind it into a fine-mesh strainer to break down lumps in the flour and to achieve an airer texture that’s close to cake flour

What is the difference between bread flour and cake flour?

Bread and cake flours are made from wheat, but the difference between them is the proportion of protein present in each.

Bread flour is made from hard red spring wheat which is high in protein. The higher the protein present in the flour, the more gluten in the batter. This gives bread flour the light and elastic texture that it needs to make bread dough.

On the other hand, cake flour is made from soft wheat and has relatively lower protein with a gluten content of 6% to 8%. The low gluten formation in cake flour is necessary for a soft and fluffy result when it’s baked.

Additionally, cake flour has an all-white and fine texture compared to the coarse and off-white color of bread flour.

Is cake flour always best for baking cake?

Surprisingly, cake flour is not the best flour for all types of cake. Cake flour is perfect for fluffy cakes like red velvet, vanilla, and white cake.

But, chocolate cake for example needs more protein to hold up well into shape because of the dry cocoa powder in its recipe. Using cake flour will make the cake flimsy and shrink.

All-purpose flour contains more protein than cake flour but less protein than bread flour. So, it is best for baking chocolate cake because it helps the cake to maintain its fluffy texture.

Carrot cake and banana cake also include wet ingredients in their recipe. As a result, they need all-purpose flour to hold up well.


Can you use bread flour to make cupcakes?

Bread flour has a high protein content, so it isn’t suitable for cupcakes.

What is the best flour for baking cake?

The best flour for baking cakes is cake flour. However, some cakes require more protein, so all-purpose flour is a better option for them.

What are cake flour alternatives?

Bread flour with cornstarch and baking powder or all-purpose flour with cornstarch can serve as an alternative to cake flour.

Final thoughts

Bread flour is specifically designed for making bread but if it’s the only flour you have at the moment, you can try using it to make a cake.

For less glutenous flour, mix bread flour with cornstarch and baking powder. However, I wouldn’t recommend it because the cake would be chewy and dense.

A better alternative to cake flour is an all-purpose cake. It has a protein content of 8% to 10%, so it will do well with a lot of baked products. But cake flour is certainly your best bet for making your cake.

Also, find out if you can make cookies with bread flour when you’re out of all-purpose flour.

I hope this article was helpful. Thanks for reading.