Can I Use Self Rising Flour Instead of Cake Flour?


As a cook and baker with many years of experience, I know that you cannot successfully substitute self-rising flour for cake flour. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried making that substitution in years gone by. What I discovered is that it changes not only the texture of the finished product but also the taste. What I did not know until recently was why that substitution could not be made. After a little research, this is what I found.

It is not recommended that self-rising flour be substituted for cake flour because they have different properties. Self-rising flour has baking powder and protein added. If self-rising flour is substituted, a cake will be much denser and rise higher than is probably desired.

Please read to learn more about using alternatives flours in cake. We’ll even discuss possible alterations that can be made to self-rising flour to make it work in making a cake.

Using Self-Rising Flour Instead of Cake Flour

Cake recipes often ask for cake flour because it has no added ingredients. This flour has been chosen to produce a specific result.

People use cake flour in their recipes because they want to create a delicate, light, or tender product. This desired texture cannot be achieved with a substituted flour.

If you substitute self-rising flour for cake flour, you can expect your cake to be denser. The cake will also rise higher than anticipated.

If those changes are not a problem for you, then you can try using self-rising flour in the recipe. With a little experimentation, you may even find that this product produces results that you like. Some people enjoy denser cakes.

Cool Experiment: To see the specific differences between these flours, you can try your recipe with both flours. Make two cakes the same day except only change the type of flour being used. Once baked, let your family or friends taste test the two different types so you can figure out which is best.

What Is the Difference Between All-purpose Flour and Cake Flour?

All-purpose flour consists of 10%-12% protein content, while cake flour only contains 7%-9% protein—the lower protein content in cake flour results in less gluten produced when combining this flour with liquids.

It is important to note that there is a lower amount of protein in cake flour. This is apparent when comparing cake flour to other types of flour. 

Cake flour has a fine texture, which results in a light and airy cake. This type of flour is specifically formulated for cake and pastry recipes and is mostly used in simple flavored cakes that are more delicate in texture. Dense wet cakes and chocolate cakes should be made with all-purpose flour.

Self-rising flour is made from all-purpose flour; however, its lower protein content is similar to cake flour. Self-rising flour is a mixture of all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder.

Self-rising flour, created in England in the 1800s, should only be used for specific recipes. Certain ingredients interact well together, and others do not. Introducing self-rising flour into a recipe that already has a leavening component included in the recipe is not a good idea. It can cause unexpected interactions between ingredients. This can impact how the finished product comes out of the oven.

Self-rising flour is not the best flour to use as a flour substitute because of its added ingredients. If you do substitute it for a different type of flour, you must make allowances for specific ingredients in the recipe. Follow any substitution advice closely.

Self-leavening flours have a shorter shelf life than other flours. Because of this, self-rising flour should be purchased in smaller quantities as it needs to be used within a year of its production date.

Can You Turn Self-Rising Flour Into Cake Flour?

You cannot turn self-rising flour into cake flour. That transformation is virtually impossible to achieve. Cake flour does not have self-rising ingredients included in self-rising flour. You would need first to remove the added baking powder and then reduce the flour’s protein content.

On the other hand, you can turn all-purpose flour into cake flour or cake flour into self-rising flour.

When Self-Rising Flour Might Work

If your recipes ask you to include baking powder, you may be able to make adjustments to your recipe based on the amount of baking powder included in your flour. If the ingredients do not contain baking powder, it is impossible to remove the baking powder from the flour.

Pro Tip: Some people have recommended substituting a tablespoon of the self-rising flour with a tablespoon of cornstarch in their recipes. This way, bakers can reduce the amount of protein in self-rising flour.

Can You Turn Cake Flour Into Self Rising Flour?

Cake flour can be turned into self-rising flour with the addition of a few simple ingredients. Combine approximately 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of cake flour in a mixing bowl. Sift the ingredients together twice to mix well and remove any lumps.

Final Thoughts

Ideally, when planning your next baking project, you have all the ingredients called for in your recipe on hand. However, if you are like me, you often decide to bake something at the last minute without time to run to the grocery. If that is the case, by all means, try some of the substitutions listed in this article.

Good luck and happy baking!

Jelly Grandma

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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