Which Cake is Which?

Back in June, a reader (yes, I do have one!) emailed me to ask whether I thought it would be okay to treat large batches of flour at a time since her microwave would be big enough to accommodate this. I replied that I thought it would be fine as long as the depth of the bed of flour remained the same as for a smaller batch. She tried it and it worked – which means less time overall doing all that standing and stirring.

But it’s easy to forget how exciting that first “It worked!” actually is. Catherine has kindly allowed me to post her photo of the results of her own treated vs. untreated flour experiment, along with extracts from her email to me. I can identify so well with her astonishment on taking the cakes out of the oven. It really doesn’t seem possible that something so simple as heating up the flour beforehand could make such an outstanding difference.

Hi Kate,

Thanks for your prompt reply!  Yesterday evening after emailing you … I baked 2 test cakes, identical in all things other than the heat-treatment of the flour, and was quite astounded at the difference in results. In both cases the flour was comprised of 1/8 by weight cornflour to give cake flour following your recommendations.

I’m attaching a photo to confirm what you already know!  No prizes for guessing which cake is which.  I was sure you were right but there’s nothing quite like seeing the evidence in the flesh…

Best wishes,

I’m happy to say that I’m very much looking forward to finally meeting Catherine when she comes to have lunch with Rose, Woody and me next week 🙂

Leave a comment


  1. Jeannette Mara

     /  September 7, 2011

    I hope you have a lovely lunch together, Kate. Please convey my good wishes to Rose, I’m so sorry not to be able to join you this time.

  2. We will miss you, Jeannette – maybe next time? (I’m sure there will be one)

  3. Nicola

     /  September 9, 2011

    Have a great lunch Kate. Was hoping that I would be able to participate in a bit of Rose and Woody genuflection. However, the reality of 12 week old twins and a three year old has hit and they are the only ones I will be genuflecting to for quite some time yet!

    Hoping that by the time the next time rolls around, I will be a bit more available to pop to Devon.


  4. Wow! What a difference there is in those two cakes! Any such tips for wholewheat flour? I can’t have white flour as I’m allergic to the bleaching agents and I’m a little bit scared to try unbleached flour. It’s not the flour that scares me (lol), it’s the potential allergic reaction – anaphylaxis. When I’m baking I usually just substitute white flour for wholemeal, but it can make the cake (or whatever I’m baking) heavier than some like. Any tips, Kate?


  5. Jeannette Mara

     /  September 9, 2011

    Nice to see Nicola on here…. I used to like reading about your cake making on Marie’s blog, and was so interested to hear you were expecting twins as I have a set too, mine are a bit older than yours though, in fact I expect they are older than you!!!! I was hoping to meet you sometime, what are your twins, boys, girls or one of each, like mine? I can fully sympathize with how you feel at the moment , I also had a two year old when my twins were born, it can be exhausting, to put it mildly, but you don’t get bored. Not much time for baking, I guess. Take care.

  6. You have more than one reader 🙂


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