Presto Self Rising Cake Flour: What it is, how to use it? Which do you prefer?

Hey there! I’m baking more cupcakes at this very moment and I thought, since I have ten minutes left on my oven, I would take a moment to look at the wonderful (if you know how to use it) product called Presto.

Presto is self rising cake flour and if you’ve never seen it, it comes in a box that looks like this:

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The box says for breakfast, dinner and dessert but I’ve only ever used it for cakes and cupcakes. It is essentially, cake flour with baking soda and salt already added. This comes in pretty handy if you’re making simpler desserts that don’t call for too many ingredients. BUT you have to pay attention to the instructions. They’re not too difficult but if you’re making something more complex it could matter.

This is what the box says:

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Seems pretty simple right? Well it wasn’t for me at first.

First, NEVER add baking soda or salt if you’re using presto. Its already in the mix and isn’t necessary. Fortunately I haven’t made this mistake. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what would happen if you do. But I can just imagine it being something terrible, odd or salty.

Next, the sifting rule. This one is important because I’ve noticed that Presto has a tendency to clump up and create these blobs of flour. If you don’t sift them out before measuring it messes up you’re measurements and unless you’re one of those people that can make things work mentally– meaning you can measure things with your eyes– it’ll end up funky. I measure everything, even when I’m making rice. The only place I let loose is when I’m washing my clothes although now that you mention it I think I measure that slightly as well.

ALWAYS consider the type of flour that your recipe calls for. Presto makes a distinction between cake flour and all purpose. When Cake flour is used you’re just going to substitute the same amount of Presto. If you were supposed to be using all purpose you’re going to substitute the same amount PLUS 2 tablespoons more per cup. So if the recipe calls for 3 cups of all purpose flour you would use 3 cups and 6 tablespoons of Presto in its place.

Now look at what your recipe calls for. If BOTH baking soda and sour milk are needed for your recipe you will be using regular milk and no baking soda. But if your recipe calls for cocoa, sour cream, or buttermilk (any of these, that’s why its or and not and) you will be using baking soda, just less of it. 1/4 teaspoon per cup of presto to be exact. So if you’re using 3 cups of presto you will be using 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda.

Pretty easy, huh?

I don’t mind presto to be honest. When I started baking from scratch my dad got it for me to make things easier. Now that I’ve managed a couple recipes on my own with it and without it I think I’m leaning toward doing everything by yourself. Nothing pre-prepared. Maybe it’s just my intense laziness and aversion toward sifting. Or it could be me feeling more “professional.”

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I’ll let you decide which one you prefer. If you’ve used presto before tell me about it!

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