Can you Use Cake Flour and All-Purpose Flour for Cupcakes?

Do you want to know how a choice of flour type for your cupcakes can alter the results? And when it’s about cake flour vs all-purpose flour which is better for your cupcakes?

This well-researched blog post is for you. I’ll help you know how both flour types create different textures in your cupcakes.

Let’s know it!

What is cake Flour, and How It Affects your Cupcakes?

Cake flour is a low-protein flour milled from soft wheat. It has a 7-9% protein content, much lower than all-purpose flour (10-12%) or bread flour (12-14%). The low protein content of cake flour causes less gluten in your flour, giving your cupcakes a soft crumb. Resultantly, you create softer and spongy cupcakes each time.

What are the pros of using cake flour for cupcakes?

  • Cake flour produces cupcakes with a lighter, softer, and more tender crumb.
  • The low protein content in cake flour prevents excessive gluten development, resulting in a delicate and fluffy texture.
  • Cake flour is finely milled, providing a smoother and finer texture for cupcakes.
  • Cake flour absorbs liquids more readily, allowing the cupcakes to stay moist.
  • This specialized flour is specifically designed for cakes and delicate baked goods, making it a suitable choice for cupcakes.

What are a few cons of cake flour?

  • It can be expensive.
  • Cake flour may not be as readily available in all grocery stores as all-purpose flour.
  • The low protein content in cake flour may result in cupcakes with less structural support. So, they can be more prone to collapsing or sinking.
  • It may not be suitable for certain cupcake recipes that require a denser or chewier texture.
  • Because of its high starch content, cake flour may absorb more moisture from the batter. It potentially leads to slightly moist cupcakes if not properly compensated for.

What’s All Purpose Flour and How Can It Affect Your Cupcakes?

All-purpose flour is a wheat flour type sourced from a blend of hard and soft wheat. It has a 10-12% protein content, making it suitable for various baking applications. 

All-purpose flour is often used in recipes for cakes, cookies, breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

What are the pros of using all-purpose flour for cupcakes?

  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • It’s a direct substitute in many cupcake recipes with no adjustments.
  • It provides a slightly more structured and sturdier texture to cupcakes.

What are the cons of using all-purpose flour for cupcakes:

  • All-purpose flour can result in slightly denser cupcakes compared to those made with cake flour.
  • Cupcakes made with all-purpose flour may have a slightly less tender crumb than those made with cake flour.
  • The higher protein content in all-purpose flour may lead to a more developed gluten structure, resulting in a slightly chewier texture.
  • Cupcakes made with all-purpose flour may not have the same light texture as those made with cake flour.
  • Because of the higher protein content, all-purpose flour can make cupcakes more susceptible to over-mixing, resulting in a tougher texture.

Cake Flour vs. All-purpose Flour Substitution for Cupcakes

You can use all-purpose or bread flour if you do not have cake flour. However, you will need to adjust the amount of flour you use. For this purpose, use the substitution:

1 cup of cake flour = 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.


You can substitute cake flour or bread flour if you do not have all-purpose flour. However, you will need to adjust the amount of flour you use. For every cup of all-purpose flour, use the following:

 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour

When using all purpose flour in a recipe that calls for cake flour, remember to:

  • Sift the all purpose flour before using it to remove any lumps.
  • Do not over-mix the batter; this can develop gluten and make the baked goods tough.
  • Bake the baked good in a preheated oven according to the recipe instructions.
  • Let the baked goods cool completely before frosting or serving.

Should you Substitute the Flour type in Your Cupcake Recipe?

If you ask me, not!


There are fair chances you run out of cake flour, or you don’t find it at your nearby store. In such cases, you can better find tons of cupcake recipes with all-purpose or plain flour. With them, you don’t need to do any adjustments at all.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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