Remember last week when I made best chocolate chip muffins ever? After making them twice in one week, I had a request to make them yet again. However, I ran out of all-purpose flour, and all I had was cake flour. If you don’t know already, cake flour is a softer, more powdery flour. It typically has around 6-9% protein, whereas all-purpose flour has around 10-13%, on average. It’s used in angel food cakes and cakes/cupcakes that are lighter and airy-er than regular. Cake flour really isn’t recommended for breads or doughs, because it’s very fine and doesn’t have as much heft as all-purpose. As they say on Joyofbaking.com:
The type of flour used will ultimately affect the finished product. Flour contains protein and when it comes in contact with water and heat it produces gluten, which gives elasticity and strength to baked goods. Different types of flour contain different amounts of protein. Therefore using a different type of flour than what is called for in a recipe (without compensating for this change) will alter the outcome of the baked good. A cake flour is used to make a white cake where a delicate tender crumb is desired. Bread flour is used to make a chewy bread and all-purpose flour makes a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies.
All-purpose flour has a 10-12% protein content and is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. It can be bleached or unbleached which are interchangeable. However, Southern brands of bleached all-purpose flour have a lower protein content (8%) as they are made from a soft winter wheat. All-purpose flour can vary in its protein content not only by brand but also regionally. The same brand can have different protein contents depending on what area of the country in the United States you are buying it. Good for making cakes, cookies, breads, and pastries.
Cake flour has a 6-8% protein content and is made from soft wheat flour. It is chlorinated to further break down the strength of the gluten and is smooth and velvety in texture. Good for making cakes (especially white cakes and biscuits) and cookies where a tender and delicate texture is desired. To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour. Make your own – one cup sifted cake flour can be substituted with 3/4 cup (84 grams) sifted bleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch.
Now, normally, I could just go out and buy some AP flour and be done with it. Except I had just come home from CVS where I had to purchase a cream for a suspicious rash that popped up under my right eye last weekend and that was resistant to hydrocortisone and every other allergy and itch cream you can imagine. So the past few days had been completely taken over by my funky, itchy, random eye rash that I lovingly referred to as my “EYE PROBLEM” much in the same way Heather at Dooce said “SHINGLES!”, although not always with jazz hands. Was I in the mood to go out again just to buy flour, especially with aforementioned EYE PROBLEM? HELL-to-the-motherfucking-NO. Yet I kinda did want those muffins. So I decided to do a little experiment, and I thought you all, my little baking minions, would appreciate the results, either way. I’m all about substitutions and cheats and tricks when it comes to baking, so I don’t mind being the guinea pig. I figured the worst thing that would happen is that the muffins would be lighter, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I didn’t expect them to come out even more perfect than before!
What I did was I used the regular substitution equation: 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour for every 1 cup all-purpose flour needed (that works the same in reverse, by the way, 1 cup – 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour = 1 cup cake flour in a pinch… although the results won’t be as lightly textured, and this shouldn’t be used in every recipe, some French pastries and desserts need cake flour).
(EVEN BETTER!) BASIC CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- ½ cup butter — melted and cooled
- 2 eggs – beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 ounces mini chocolate chips (about half an average size bag)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. and grease up twelve muffin cups or put liners in them ( I prefer liners because it’s less messy that way).
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them as much as possible; bake 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling.
Like I said, these are the best muffins ever, and apparently they only get better with cake flour! Now you know- no matter what flour you use, these are going to come out pretty damn spectacular. If you substitute self-rising, though, just remember to take out the baking powder and salt.
I filled the cups up more this time, and still got 3 more muffins, making a total of 15. No idea why, really, even though there are two extra tablespoons of flour in them, the flour is so much finer than all-purpose I don’t know if that would really give me an extra 3 muffins. But boy am I glad it did. They came out a tad smoother on top than the ones made with all-purpose flour, but still not as smooth as my banana chocolate chip yogurt muffins. That could be the difference in the flour, or the difference in my hand-mixing of this particular batch.
I know you’re all still waiting for that second frosting tutorial, and I promise you it’s coming. Between my EYE PROBLEM and the usual crap, once again I got behind on my plans. But it should be up next week. Okay? So stop hating me!
oh, and my EYE PROBLEM? All gone, thanks for asking.