If the urge to bake cookies has hit, but you have checked the pantry and all you have is cake flour, when the cookie recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you might be stuck with what to do.
Cake flour and all-purpose flour are not the same thing, so they will give different results in baking.
Can you use cake flour for cookies?
Cake flour can be used to make cookies, but using cake flour to make cookies will give you a softer, lighter cookie that is fluffier rather than chewy and dense. This is due to the difference in protein content in cake flour compared to all-purpose flour.
So, if you are wanting to bake cookies using cake flour, read on for more information on what cake flour is, how it will affect your cookies, and how to make cookies using cake flour!
What Is Cake Flour?
Before we cover how to use cake flour to make cookies, it helps to understand exactly what cake flour is, and why it changes the way the cookies turn out, rather than if you had used all-purpose flour.
You will find that there are many different types of flour used in baking, and most of the differences between the types of flour come down to the protein content, and the percentage of protein that each flour has.
For baking cookies, all-purpose flour is the most common type used, but the protein percentage in all-purpose flour and cake flour is different so you can expect a different result.
All-purpose flour has a higher protein content, at about 10-12%, whereas cake flour has a protein content of about 7-9%.
This lower protein content in cake flour means that less gluten is formed as the dough is worked with and mixed, which gives you a fluffier, lighter texture and consistency once baked.
As the name suggests, cake flour is mostly used to bake cakes, but it is also ideal for baked goods with a tender, light texture, such as cupcakes, scones, brownies, and quick breads.
Can You Use Cake Flour for Cookies?
You can use cake flour for cookies, and there won’t be any drastic change, other than the cookies taking on a different texture.
There is no reason you cannot use cake flour to bake cookies if the recipe calls for all-purpose flour, as long as you are prepared for a slightly different textured cookie once they are baked. You might even prefer to use cake flour for a lighter, fluffier cookie.
Using all-purpose flour to bake cookies gives you denser, chewier, flatter cookies, which many people love, but there are also those who love more cake-like cookies, it really is up to personal preference.
So, you can definitely use cake flour to make cookies, and you might be tempted to do so going forward, once you have had a bite of the light, fluffy, delicate cookies that come out of the oven.
Even if you prefer dense chewy cookies, but find yourself without all-purpose flour, you won’t be ruining the batch of cookies by using cake flour, so it is worth experimenting with and having fresh cookies to enjoy!
Using Cake Flour to Bake Cookies
There isn’t much extra that you have to do when using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour to bake cookies, you can substitute it fairly easily without having to change anything else in the recipe – ingredients and method.
If you only have cake flour, and the recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, you can directly substitute 1 cup of cake flour instead. The two types of flour can be used on a 1:1 ratio, and you do not have to add any other ingredients in.
If you were wanting to experiment a little, or if you had a small amount of all-purpose flour left to use, then you could add in various amounts of cake flour and all-purpose flour to make up the amount of flour needed for the cookie recipe.
For example, if the cookie recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, you could use ½ cup of cake flour and ½ cup of all-purpose flour, or ¾ cup of cake flour and ¼ cup of all-purpose flour for a lighter finish.
Using both types of flour, but not going over the quantity of flour will give you a lighter, fluffier cookie, but which is still slightly chewy too.
Can You Make Your Own Cake Flour?
Cake flour can be found at most grocery stores, and is even available to order online, but if you are about to make cookies, you might not have the time to shoot out to the store to buy some, but you want to try out some soft, light and fluffy cookies.
While it will not be exactly the same, you can make your own version of cake flour at home, which you can then go on to use to make fluffy and delicate cookies.
To make your own cake flour, you would need all-purpose flour and some cornflour (you can use cornstarch if you do not have cornflour).
You will need to work by the cup in this, so for every 1 cup of flour, take out 2 tablespoons of flour, and add in 2 tablespoons of cornflour or cornstarch. Mix this together, and use it in place of the regular all-purpose flour that the recipe calls for.
Which Are the Most Common Types of Flour for Baking?
There are four types of flour most commonly used for baking – whole wheat flour, bread flour, all-purpose flour, and cake flour. These are all similar but have different protein contents, which means they give different results in baked goods.
Here is a little more on each flour, and what makes it unique:
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is heavier and more dense as it uses all of the wheat kernel. As it uses all of the wheat kernels, it has a high protein content, around 13.5%. It is popularly used for pancake and waffle batters, for pasta and bread dough, and it is often mixed with all-purpose flour.
Bread flour is a high-protein flour, with a 12-14% protein content. It yields more gluten, giving the baked goods more of a chewy texture, which is why it is a popular flour used for bread, pastries, and pizza dough.
All-purpose flour is the most common type of flour found in most recipes, and if a recipe simply calls for ‘flour’, there is a good chance it is calling for all-purpose. It has a protein content between 10 to 12% and is available bleached and unbleached.
Cake flour has the lowest protein content out of the common baking flours, around 7-9%, which is why it gives cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and scones a soft, light, and fluffy texture once baked.
Why Should You Use Cake Flour for Cookies?
Whether you stick to the cookie recipe and use all-purpose flour, or if you stray from the recipe and use cake flour instead, is all up to you.
The reason you would choose to use cake flour to make cookies (other than running out of all-purpose flour at home) would be if you prefer a light, fluffier cookie, and you do not want your cookies to turn out too chewy and dense.
Using cake flour really does transform the texture of a cookie, and it will be more cake-like than chewy. You could also opt to make a cookie that was halfway in-between – with half all-purpose flour and half cake flour, giving you a lighter cookie than usual, but still with some chewiness.
It is definitely worth trying out using cake flour in place of all-purpose flour to make cookies, especially if you prefer a lighter crumb.
Can You Use Cake Flour for Cookies?
You can use cake flour to bake cookies, and it can be a great substitute to use if you have run out of all-purpose flour at home, or if you do not have enough all-purpose flour and you need to top up the flour content to match what the recipe needs.
When using cake flour to make cookies, you can expect a lighter, fluffier cookie, compared to the dense, chewy cookie you would get if you had used all-purpose flour.
Use cake flour in a 1:1 ratio with all-purpose flour when baking cookies.
What Flour Is Best for Cookies?
All-purpose flour still reigns supreme as the best flour for cookies, as it has a high protein content that gives you a dense and beautifully chewy cookie, that spreads out rather than rises in the oven.
Can You Use Any Flour for Cookies?
You can technically use any of the baking flours to make cookies, but you should be prepared for different textured cookies, as all the various flours have different protein contents, which does affect how the cookies turn out when baked.