Skip to Content

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

Summary of key points

The main difference between self-rising flour and cake flour is in their respective leavening agents. Self-rising flour contains baking powder and salt, while cake flour does not have any added raising agents.

This distinction affects the texture of baked goods made with each type of flour. Self-rising flour creates a more fluffy and tender texture, while cake flour results in a more light and delicate crumb.

In terms of versatility, self-rising flour is best used for quick breads, pancakes, and other recipes that require a rise. Cake flour is better suited for delicate cakes and pastries.

Overall, the choice between self-rising flour and cake flour will depend on the desired outcome of the recipe.

Self-Rising Flour and Cake Flour sit at opposite ends of the baking spectrum. We need both, yet they play very different roles in our kitchens.

Self-Rising Flour, the busy baker’s best friend, comes pre-mixed with leavening agents. We just scoop, bake, and boast. Cake Flour, on the other hand, is the secret behind those airy, cloud-like confections we all adore.

Our first encounter with cake flour was a game-changer. Our cakes went from “dense” to “how did they do that?” overnight.

Self-Rising Flour keeps things easy; Cake Flour demands precision. Both ensure our baking adventures end in delicious triumphs.

What is Self-Rising Flour?

Self-rising flour is a great invention for baking fans.

It has a special blend of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

So, it removes the need to measure and mix those ingredients separately – saving time and effort.

The baking powder in it helps with the rising.

Adding salt gives the baked goodies flavour and complexity.

It isn’t ideal for every recipe though.

Self-rising flour won’t work in recipes that ask for extra baking powder or salt or when the texture needs to be exactly right.

In conclusion, self-rising flour is convenient and delicious.

It’s a clever combination of ingredients, so you don’t need to measure out multiple components.

It also makes sure that your baking always turns out well.

What is Cake Flour?

Cake flour is special.

It has less protein and is grounded more finely than other types of flour.

This makes cakes soft and light.

Cake flour soaks up more liquid too, making the cake extra moist and fluffy.

It’s made from soft wheat which gives it its unique texture.

Cakes made with cake flour are finer textured and less dense.

Professional bakers love it as it always produces light and delicate cakes.

Differences Between Self-Rising Flour and Cake Flour

Self-rising flour and cake flour may look alike, but they have essential differences.

1 – Leavening Agents

Leavening agents are essential in baking.

They create a light texture in the end product.

What type of leavening agent you use can really affect the result.

Self-rising flour usually contains baking powder, which is a mix of both acids and alkalis.

When moistened, they produce carbon dioxide which gets trapped in the dough, making it rise in the oven.

With self-rising flour, you don’t need to add other leavening agents.

Cake flour needs baking soda and an acid, like cream of tartar or buttermilk.

Recipes with cake flour usually require more ingredients like eggs or sour cream.

This gives cakes their delicate crumb structure.

Self-rising flour and cake flour are not interchangeable, as they have different ratios of ingredients.

Self-rising flour has a higher amount of baking powder, making it rise more.

Cake flour yields a finer crumb and lighter texture.

2 – Protein Content

Protein levels are crucial in distinguishing self-rising flour from cake flour.

Generally, self-rising flour has less protein than cake flour.

This protein variance affects the texture, structure, and final product of baked goods.

Self-rising flour’s lower protein is intentional.

It produces a softer texture in items like biscuits or pancakes.

This limits gluten formation when mixing, resulting in light and tender products.

Cake flour has an even lower protein content than self-rising.

This makes it perfect for producing fine-textured cakes.

The minimal protein keeps the cake tender and moist, not tough or dense.

Protein content influences the end product, but it’s not the only factor.

Others like ingredients and leavening agents contribute too.

Still, understanding the protein impact helps bakers decide which flour to pick for their recipes.

3 – Texture and Structure in Baked Goods

Texture & structure are essential in baking.

How a baked good feels & holds its shape depends on these factors.

Self-rising flour & cake flour both have unique characteristics that help the final product.

Self-rising flour has leavening agents like baking powder.

This gives a lighter & fluffier texture.

Cakes made with it are tender with a fine crumb.

The texture is velvety & soft – perfect for sponge cakes or light biscuits.

Cake flour has lower protein than all-purpose or self-rising flour.

This gives a more tender & delicate structure.

Cake flour is used for cakes that require a softer texture, like angel food cakes or chiffon cakes.

It produces a velvety smooth crumb that melts in your mouth.

Using the wrong type of flour can affect the outcome.

For example, using self-rising flour instead of cake flour could lead to a cake that rises too much & lacks tenderness.

Similarly, using cake flour instead of self-rising flour could lead to a denser & less airy texture.

4 – Suitable Uses and Recipes

Self-rising flour and cake flour have different characteristics, making them ideal for specific recipes.

Self-rising flour is great for quick breads, muffins and biscuits.

Cake flour is perfect for making tender cakes and pastries.

Both can be used in various recipes, but understanding their unique properties is key for delicious results.

Self-rising flour rises without the need for extra leavening agents, making it perfect for recipes that require convenience and speed.

Substituting all-purpose flour with self-rising flour in biscuits, muffins, or even pancakes can save time.

The mixture of baking powder, salt and all-purpose flour produces light and fluffy baked goods.

Cake flour is made to create soft cakes with a delicate crumb structure.

Its fine texture creates a smooth batter that absorbs liquid easily, resulting in moist cakes.

It has low protein content, which means less gluten when mixed with liquid ingredients for desired tenderness and lightness.

Both flours can be used in many recipes.

Self-rising flour can be used to make pizza dough or as a coating for fried chicken or fish, adding herbs or spices.

Cake flour’s silky texture can make cookies melting-in-your-mouth and enhance pie crusts with a delicate yet buttery taste.

Similarities Between Self-Rising Flour and Cake Flour

Self-rising flour and cake flour have some commonalities that make them great for baking.

Both have low protein content, creating light and delicate baked goods.

Plus, their fine texture ensures an even batter or dough.

Moreover, they are both pre-sifted.

This means no need to sift the flour before use.

This saves time, especially when in a rush.

Plus, the flours give excellent results with a light, fluffy texture.

Biscuits, pancakes, or cakes – they all come out tender and not too heavy.

However, there are distinctions between the two flours.

Self-rising flour has leavening agents like baking powder and salt, while cake flour does not.

Thus, if you use cake flour instead of self-rising flour, you must add leavening separately.

Best Practices for Using Self-Rising Flour and Cake Flour

Self-rising and cake flours call for different tactics to get perfect baking results.

Experienced and novice bakers alike should be well-versed in these techniques.

Each flour has special traits that shape the texture and flavor of baked goods.

When working with self-rising flour, keep in mind it already includes leavening agents such as baking powder and salt.

This means no extra leavening agents are needed in the recipe.

Plus, it usually has a lower protein content than other flours, resulting in a softer baked item.

So, it’s ideal for dishes like biscuits, pancakes, and quick breads.

Cake flour has a finer texture due to its low protein content in comparison to all-purpose flour.

This creates a lighter and softer cake.

Before measuring, sift cake flour to guarantee an even spread and stop lumping.

It’s also best for making delicate pastries and desserts that require an airy texture.

As well as these common rules, always follow the exact instructions in your recipe when using self-rising or cake flour.

Recipes may have different proportions of ingredients or special techniques that optimize the potential of each flour type.

By understanding the properties of self-rising and cake flours, you can select the correct one for your desired outcome.

Whether you want fluffy pancakes or a moist chocolate cake, these tips will help you bake like a pro every time.

Substituting Self-Rising Flour for Cake Flour and Vice Versa

Swapping self-rising flour for cake flour and vice versa may be tempting.

But, there are key differences to be aware of.

Self-rising flour includes baking powder and salt.

Cake flour has low protein. This affects the texture and rise of your goodies.

If you need to change self-rising flour for cake flour, add baking powder and salt.

If you’re using cake flour instead of self-rising flour, adjust the leavening agents.

It’s important to understand these changes so you get the desired baking result.


After reading this post, you can confidently answer the question: what’s the difference between self-rising flour and cake flour? Self-rising flour is made from a blend of all-purpose and baking powder, whereas cake flour is finer in texture with about 8% protein content which results in light and airy cakes.

Ultimately, the type of flour used while baking can make all the difference.

It can determine whether or not your cake will be dense or fluffy.

It’s important to take into consideration the necessary ingredients for each type of recipe when deciding which type of flour to use.

When attempting a recipe at home with these two types of flours, it’s best to ensure precision and pay attention to any nuances of using them together.

Through this blog post, we hope that you’ve gained more insight into the differences between self-rising flour and cake flour so that you can find the success in any baking endeavour.

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

Searching for the ideal side dishes to elevate your blackened redfish? Discover the top 7 pairings that flawlessly enhance the bold flavors of this dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Self-Rising Flour
  • Cake Flour


  • Choose between self-rising flour and cake flour based on your recipe requirements.
  • Self-rising flour contains leavening agents, so adjust your recipe’s leavening components if using cake flour.
  • Use self-rising flour for recipes where a rising agent is needed, like biscuits or pancakes.
  • Opt for cake flour for delicate cakes, as it produces a finer crumb texture.
  • Enjoy your baking, knowing that your choice of flour suits your culinary goals.
Keyword Self-Rising Flour vs Cake Flour
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating