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Corn Starch in Cake

Gluten. You love it and you hate it. It’s the best friend of the bread maker and can be the worst enemy of the cake baker. Has your cake from scratch ever come out of the oven missing that light and fluffy texture? You may be able to attribute this to too much gluten.

Cake flour is the choice of professionals but at a high price for the average at-home baker. Instead, you can make a loose interpretation of cake flour in your own home with cornstarch and all purpose flour.

Cake flour is made from a softer wheat with less protein, but it also has the benefit of being chlorinated to further break down the gluten structure. This means the blend is extremely tender in baked goods.

I have read to get this same effect, you can “dry” your flour in the oven for 10 minutes at 200*. Let cool, then mix 99 grams with 26 grams corn starch to get your desired flour. I don’t have scientific proof to back up the drying method, but I hypothesize the reason it works is because gluten is activated in the presence of water. By further drying the flour, it makes the moisture content even less accessible so the gluten development is impaired.

Follow my logic…  The first panel is cake flour, the second all purpose.

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Cross multiplication tells us there are .0817 grams protein for every gram cake flour and .1032 grams protein for every gram of all-purpose. 125 grams is the average mass of one cup and we want ours to have 10.2 grams protein, so you would use 98.95 grams all purpose flour and 26 grams corn starch.

The cakes from this blend are light, beautiful and create professional results. Try it next time you bake or find yourself without that expensive box of cake flour!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 9, 2010 9:28 pm

    I love learning about food science. Thanks for this!

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