Cake Flour vs Pastry Flour: Difference and Comparison

You can use cake flour or pastry flour to get your cakes and other baked goods extra airy and delicious. Both fine-textured flours are great for baking, but the results you may get will vary as they both have their own differences. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Cake flour has a lower protein content than pastry flour.
  2. Pastry flour has a higher protein content than cake flour.
  3. Cake flour makes light and fluffy cakes, while pastry flour makes flaky pastries.

Cake Flour vs Pastry Flour 

Cake flour is fine textured flour with low protein quantity especially made for cakes to give light and tender texture to cakes. Pastry flour is slightly ground flour with higher proteins, has fine texture for making layered flaky and soft pastries.

Cake Flour vs Pastry Flour 1

Cake flour is very finely milled flour, and it is the lightest flour you could find. It has a very soft and airy texture. This flour is bleached, which reduces its protein content but allows it to rise more evenly.

It also contains a high quantity of starch and has a higher absorption ability. It’s great for recipes with a good sugar-flour ratio and more delicate baked goods.

Pastry flour is also milled to a fine texture but is more defined than cake flour. It doesn’t go through the bleaching process, and neither does it go through chlorination.

It has a higher protein content which helps in achieving a tender baking process, and a fine crust in recipes like pies, pound cakes, etc. It has a lower starch content but a higher quantity of gluten present.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Cake Flour Pastry Flour 
Uses Delicate baked goods and recipes with high sugar-flour ratios. It is ideal for things like pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, etc. 
Protein 7% to 8.5%  8.5% to 9.5% 
Starch It has a high starch content. It has a comparatively lower starch content. 
Absorption Absorbs more. Absorbs less liquid. 
Texture Soft texture. A more defined texture. 
Bleached It is bleached. It is not bleached. 

What is Cake Flour? 

Cake flour is made from soft-quality wheat and is milled into tiny particles. It goes through a bleaching process that weakens the protein present in the cake flour, which makes it a more delicate flour.

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Its protein content is lower, at around 7% to 8%. This protein content affects the elasticity and the texture of finished baked goods.

The bleaching process also makes it a little more acidic, so it is a good choice for recipes that have a high sugar-to-flour ratio. It is the most ideal choice for delicate baked goods like chiffon cakes or sponge cakes.  

Cake flour also contains a high starch content, providing a brighter look to the cake that can look white. It contains less gluten, which gives the texture a more tough and dense look. 

The goods made with cake flour mostly do not tend to collapse after rising, especially if the recipe has a high sugar-to-flour ratio. It also absorbs a decent amount of liquid compared with other flour types. 

The most common substitute for cake flour is a mixture of all-purpose flour and cornstarch in the right ratio. It is also sold in a boxed form, found at grocery stores. 

cake flour

What is Pastry Flour? 

Pastry flour comes from the same soft quality wheat used for cake flour, but it has a more defined texture.

It doesn’t go through the bleaching process, which means that it has a higher protein content of around 8% to 9.5%, making it ideal for recipes like pie crusts, biscuits, etc.

It has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour or other flour. Flours with a higher percentage of protein give their products a toucher and denser finished feel, so pastry flour is also ideal for lighter baked goods.

Pastry flour also tends to have a high gluten content, making it more elastic than cake flour. This flour helps your finished food be more structurally sound.

This means that it is ideal for airy and flaky recipes like puff pastry, croissants, etc., where there are layers in the crust. 

It also has lesser starch content when compared to cake flour. It tends to absorb a lesser amount of liquids than cake flour. It gives the finished baked goods a lighter and airier texture.

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It is also ideal for things like muffins, pancakes muffins, pound cakes, brownies, etc. 

The most common substitute for pastry flour is a mix of all-purpose flour and cake flour, although it may not be the most reliable.  

pastry flour

Main Differences Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour 

  1. The difference between cake flour and pastry flour is that cake flour is used to make recipes with a high sugar-flour ratio and delicate cakes like angel food cake, chiffon cake, etc. Pastry flour is ideally used in recipes to make pastries, cakes, pie crusts, cookies, muffins, etc. 
  2. Cake flour is bleached, and chlorine, whereas pastry flour, is not. 
  3. Another difference between them is that cake flour contains 7% to 8.5% of proteins. This is because the bleaching process weakens the protein, creating a more delicate and airy flour. On the other hand, pastry flour contains 8.5% to 9.5% protein. 
  4. Cake flour has a high starch content, and pastry flour has less starch content. 
  5. Cake flour tends to absorb more liquid, and pastry flour absorbs less liquid in comparison. 
  6. Cake flour has a very soft texture, making it best for baking delicate and soft goods, whereas pastry flour has a more defined and a little tougher texture when compared to cake flour. 
Difference Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Cake Flour vs Pastry Flour: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I’ve always wondered about the difference between these flours. The text shows that cake flour and pastry flour are not the same.

  2. Cake flour and pastry flour are two very different things. The article has opened my eyes to the advantages of using the right flour.

  3. This article is simply perfect, because it clarifies the difference between these two flours in the most detailed way.

  4. The article explains exactly ‘what’ each flour is, i.e. the qualities and the differences that make each of them perfect for different recipes.


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