With stay-at-home orders many people have started to explore baking as a new hobby. It keeps you busy AND you have tasty treats when you’re finished. But what if you run out of cake flour, and the store shelves are empty? Luckily, there are a few other options that will taste just as delicious, and are even a bit healthier too!
Whole wheat flour is the healthier cousin of all-purpose- and cake flour, as it contains more fiber. But this will also make your muffins denser, darker, and with a coarser texture. You can substitute ¾ cup whole wheat flour for every 1 cup flour in a recipe.
Using oat flour is definitely a great health swop for your baking. It’s gluten-free, with a high amount of soluble fiber. But unlike whole-wheat flour, you cannot simply replace all the white flour in your recipe with oat flour. When exposed to heat, the texture of oats becomes gummy or ‘gluey’. So, you will end up with muffins that are very dense. To avoid this, you can use a combination of oat flour and whole wheat flour, using less oat flour than whole wheat. The best will be to experiment with baking, and find the perfect ratio for the recipe you’re making. And remember, if you don’t have oat flour, you can make your own by blitzing oats in a food processor.
Chickpeas (and canned black beans) work surprisingly well great in baked goods. It’s also gluten-free and high in protein. It’s especially great to use in brownies, as it contributes to a fudgier texture. Make sure to only use black beans in conjunction with cocoa powder – otherwise, your blondies may end up looking more brunette! To use it in a recipe, you can simply substitute 1 cup of white flour with 1 cup of mashed beans or chickpeas. You can also use ground chickpea flour from specialty stores, substituting 1 cup white flour for about ¾ cup chickpea flour.
This is an expensive flour to use, but because it absorbs a lot of moisture, you use very little in a recipe, mostly about ½ a cup. The absorbency of coconut flour makes it quite difficult to work with and if you’re not careful, your baked goods will end up dry and crumbly. Bakers recommend substituting white flour with coconut flour in a ratio of 4:1. In other words, if the recipe calls for 1 cup flour, then you can use ¼ cup coconut flour. You can also increase the number of eggs in the recipe.
Traditionally, white cake flour is preferred in baking, as it gives pastries a light texture. These flours are not all the same, so before you start your recipe, it’s important to research more about the flour you’ll be using instead of cake flour. The product in which you use it will also determine what ratios you use. In other words, you can’t use the same ratio for brownies (usually more dense and fudgy), than you would in muffin (light and fluffy). Remember that baking is a science, so often substituting one ingredient for another (without doing your research first) will leave your baked goods with a completely different texture.
Have you experimented with other flours? Tell us in the comments below!