What the hell is self-rising cake flour and, more importantly, where did I get it?

Recipe: Nigella’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Cupcakes gone blond

So today my shining light of a daughter turns 18, which makes me 97, or maybe it just feels that way. Anyhow, with such an auspicious occasion to mark, I wanted to find an appropriate treat to cap the festive birthday dinner — traditionally the birthday girl’s choice, and as always she’s requested mac and cheese with grilled asparagus on the side.

Allegedly purchased by me, but when?

I found this delightfully easy recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes in Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book, and was congratulating myself on coming up with the perfect marriage of the adult (sour cherries, dark chocolate) and the childish (cupcakes) in an incredibly simple recipe (bonus!), when I noticed that it called for self-rising cake flour. Now, this item struck me as just a tad exotic to have on hand, but lo and behold after a bit of frantic rummaging I did find some in the dark recesses of the pantry. It is, to say the least, unusual to find exactly what I need on any given day; however, given my customary frame of mind during a trip to Fairway, it is not surprising that I have in stock things I can’t recall ever buying.

In the event you want to make these or other such items, you can easily substitute all-purpose flour with a little tweaking, and let’s be honest, it is so much easier to sub out an item than it is to slop over to the gourmet market while trying to hide your pajamas under your trench coat.

Now there’s all kinds of science-y information about why this works, but I’m already bored at the thought of reading it. If you’re interested in the molecules and electrons, you can click the link below. Arts and Sciences types can just read on.

Adjusting All-Purpose Flour

If all you have is all-purpose flour, here’s how to substitute it in a recipe that calls for self-rising cake flour.

For each cup of self-rising cake flour you need, mix together:

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
+ 2 tablespoons corn starch
+ 1/4 teaspoon salt
+ 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Quite simple really. Crisis averted — for today anyway.

So on to the cupcakes. Now, having only recently emerged from the sugar coma of my previous chocolate crinkles adventure, I was loathe to fill the house, once again with treats. The rest of the family are all towers of self-restraint, which as a rule leaves me alone to consume the confections that pour from my kitchen like rats from the proverbial sinking ship. That’s not a particularly appealing image for baked goods, and really I only bake sporadically, but you get the gist.

Of course, I’m more than equal to the task of stuffing my pie hole, but really there are only so many hours one can spend in the gym, and after several days of cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s really no way to work it all off anyway. Um…where was I? Oh yes, cupcakes. So, loathe to fill, blah, blah, blah, but such a momentous occasion comes only once in a lifetime and we’ve got a party to throw.

Extra large with a marzipan strawberry for the birthday girl!

Now Nigella, as is her wont, calls for these to be frosted with chocolate, but I don’t agree. Instead, I finished my batch with plain old vanilla buttercream with a little almond extract for flavor. The sweetness of the icing perfectly complimented the chocolatey-sour cherry flavor of the cake. And they looked very cute with the chocolate covered almonds on top. Perfect.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRACIE!  From me and my pal, Jack.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on March 7, 2012, in Baking, Dessert, Party! Party! and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Thanks !!!! The most helpful site I found!!!!!!

  2. I know my oldest is 12 this year and I just feel so ooooold.

  3. Congratulations to the Birthday Girl! I know the cupcakes had to have been a delicious way to celebrate.

  4. I say stuff away Wendie and worry about the gym time later!! 🙂

    Thanks for the great cracking me up read. Now I’m off to your Fairway post…

    • The stuffing has officially stopped. I can honestly say that even I reach a point where sugar fails to please, besides I’d have to live on the treadmill if I kept this up, and there’s no drink service at the gym. Pass the spinach and carrot juice, please.

  5. Happy Belated birthday to your daughter. And, more importantly, do you have any cupcakes left over? Or marzipan strawberries? I really need to have some willpower with this dieting crap.

  6. Whaaaaa?! You have an 18 yo? Dear Lord you have given me hope that it IS possible to have a wickedly awesome sense of humor when you grow up and not turn out like my mom whose sense of humor shriveled up and died at the tender age of birth.

    Oh, and if you need another interesting and delightfully tasteful dish using sour cherries, try making some Hungarian Cold Cherry Soup. It’s AWESOME!

    • I will take the cherry soup under advisement. Thanks! And just for the record I was a mere slip of a girl — let’s say 16 — when I gave birth.

      • Hey that just means you get to subject her to stuff like Vanilla Ice and NKOTB and be all “Hey this was the music of my YOUTH! You’re gonna stop, collaborate, and listen!”

        • In truth, the music of my youth was just a TAD earlier than that. Let’s just say John and Paul were still on good terms and Elvis was not yet in a girdle.

          • Ugh. Darn and I thought I had found a new friend to lament to about how crappy 90s music was. Oh well, at least I got to live through the golden age of freakin awesome toys in the 80s. Peaches and Creme Barbie YO!

  7. Loved the post. If you need another use for cake flour try using it when making fried chicken. It makes the coating really crispy. If you need a fried chicken recipe visit http://tomwisk.wordpress.com Enjoy!

  8. mjcache (Mel Cope)

    Hey KS, “So today my shining light of a daughter turns 18, which makes me 97, or maybe it just feels that way” .. oh mee hee, my daughter turned 25 last year so I’m 538, so I commiserate.

    • I’d like to think of it as middle age, and in the Old Testament sense I suppose it is, but really who am I kidding. Skidding toward oblivion on a prayer and a banana peel.

      • mjcache (Mel Cope)

        Old Testament Age Indexing makes us toddlers – which is apt, as I have been known to behave like one on the odd occasion (every other day).

  9. HAHA! For some reason this stuff gets me all kinds of excited. You probably hate reading my posts. At least I give you pretty pictures right?! Ha.

  10. Happy Birthday to your daughter. She shares her birthday with
    these celebrities: Laura Prepon, 32; Jenna Fischer, 38; Rachel Weisz, 42; Bryan Cranston, 56 and Martha Unplugged, 97.

  11. Oh, Dahhhhlink! If you were, in fact, scurrying around the grocery store in your pjs and a trench coat, I’m sure you looked absolutely fab doing it. Remember, I’ve seen you and you don’t look a day over 87, no matter how you feel. Oh, damn. It is your daughter’s birthday, so I suppose I can’t be such a darn bitch on the day that she graduates into adulthood. You don’t look a day over 35 – and you know it.

    “[T]he confections that pour from my kitchen like rats from the proverbial sinking ship…” Ahhhhhh. Love, love, love the simile. Made me smile.

    Happy Birthday, dear Grace! Hope it’s a wonderful year for you.

  12. Sometime I see a recipe call for self raising flour AND baking powder, how big is this cake gonna be?!

  13. Great post. Love Jack Black. My “little one” is 23. When she was 18, I was the dumbest man that ever walked the face of the earth. Happy birthday to your daughter. Come visit me at my new digs. Went self-hosted on Word Press. Org at todayinhh.com. Cheers!

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