Difference Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour
By Andrew Parker - April 7, 2023

Whether baking a cake or some delicious pastries, understanding the differences between different types of flour can make all the difference in achieving that perfect end product. Cake and pastry flour are two of the most common ingredients bakers use, but knowing what sets them apart is key to helping you decide which one to use for your recipe.

Chart Summary
It has low protein nutrientsIt has high protein nutrients
Woman rolling out dough on table

Getty images/Moment/Евгения Матвеец


Cake flour is made from soft wheat varieties, usually soft red winter wheat, and is low in protein. Cake flour is very finely ground, resulting in a lighter, less structured cake with a fluffy texture. It is ideal for baked goods with a soft texture due to its low gluten content, making it easier to achieve a lighter, smoother texture when baking muffins, layered cakes, and cupcakes.

Pastry flour is a fine flour with low protein content. Pastry flour is low in gluten and is ideal for baked goods with a chewy, flaky, or crumbly texture, such as pie crusts, croissants, pies, or quick bread.

Cake Flour VS. Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is ideal for pastries, cakes, and baking. In contrast, baked goods made with cake flour have lighter textures, such as pound cake and Angel Food cake recipes. Cake and pastry flour is soft, but cake flour is softer than pastry flour. Pastry flour has a little more texture.

Cake flour contains six percent protein, while pastry flour has a slightly higher protein content of eight percent. Therefore, cake flour has less gluten than cake flour. Low protein content affects the elasticity of baked goods. Cakes that call for a delicate, airy texture benefit from cake flour, but for pastry flour, the final product will be dense if you use pastry flour instead of cake flour.