Most people assume that self-raising flour must be used to make a cake. But this isn’t the case. You can actually use plain flour! So, what cakes can one make with plain flour instead?
You can make most cakes with plain flour. If a recipe requires self-raising flour then you can swap it out for plain flour but will also need to add a raising agent such as baking powder. Generally, you should add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to every 75 grams of plain flour.
How to Make a Cake with Plain Flour
The general rule of thumb whereby you add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to every 75 grams of plain flour to create your own self-raising flour will work in most instances.
But below, we’ve gone into a little more detail on how to make cakes with plain flour:
Make a Sponge with Plain Flour and a Raising Agent
Using plain flour and a raising agent, you can make your own self-raising flour without actually buying it. The benefit here is that you can control the level of rise in the flour. This is why some cake recipes specify plain flour and raising agent quantities.
You don’t have to limit yourself to baking powder either. Baking soda combined with a drop of vinegar can actually work. Buttermilk and baking soda can also work but requires you to adjust the other liquid ingredients, of course.
Cream of tartar can also work as a raising agent. Generally, you’ll need double the amount of cream of tartar to the baking powder amount.
Ultimately, in order to make a cake with plain flour, you’ll need to add some form of raising agent to it.
Make a Sponge with Plain Flour and More Eggs
By using more eggs than you usually would, you can easily create air pockets that can replace self-raising flour. This sort of sponge is often referred to as Genoise.
The main elements of a Genoise sponge involve whisking eggs and sugar until they have trebled in volume before folding in flour and baking. By whisking the eggs, you create bubbles of air that are retained during the baking process to ensure the sponge is both risen and incredibly light.
You do need to ensure your quantities are spot on. You’ll need 5 eggs for every 250g of flour, 250g of sugar and 50g of butter.
If you don’t have self-raising flour and don’t want to use a raising agent, then using eggs to create air is the next option you have.
Plain Flour vs Self Raising Flour
As the name suggests, plain flour is precisely that – plain. It doesn’t have anything added to it such as raising agents or salt. Self-raising flour, however, will have some form of raising agent added to it, usually baking powder.
Plain Flour Cake Recipes
We’ve trawled through the internet to find the best cake recipes that use plain flour alongside one of the tips we’ve used above. If you need a decent, plain flour cake recipe, then try one of these out:
- Butter Cake
- Mexican-Inspired Tres Leches Cake
- Blood Orange Pound Cake
- Fudgy Chocolate Cake
- Paul Hollywood’s Genoise Sponge
Plain Flour Cake FAQs
If you’ve still got more questions about making cakes with plain flour, then these additional FAQs might help you out:
If you were to swap self-raising flour out of a recipe and use plain flour instead then you’ll find the cake doesn’t rise. You’ll need to make further adjustments to the recipe such as adding a raising agent.
It is possible but it’s not a good idea. Using bread flour to make a cake will result in a dense and stodgy cake that’s hard to eat. Bread flour will create more gluten strands which will result in the cake pulling together tighter.
Plain flour can be the base of most baked goods, including bread loaves, Yorkshire puddings, sponge cakes, pancakes and pastry.
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.