Welcome to Real Baking with Rose, the personal blog of author Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Watch the Baking Bible
Come Alive

Spend A Moment with Rose, in this video portrait by Ben Fink.

Check out my new creations

Rose's Alpha Bakers

Rose's Alpha Bakers for the Bread Bible


Get the blog delivered by email. Enter your address:

Eat your books

Current Announcements

FORUMS will be discontinued by end of October. If one of you is interested in hosting the Forums please contact Woody at: woody@ptd.net

A Great Mistake

Jan 9, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose

I'm sure that most of you who follow my recipes know how passionately I feel about the use of bleached flour for most cake baking, and how overjoyed I was when Kate Coldrick, in Devon England, worked out a way to heat-treat flour to enable it to work in a way very similar to bleached flour. Well by sheer accident I discovered a way to make unbleached flour more acceptable to me.

I was making a birthday cake for my stepdaughter Beth and chose my favorite new yellow cake in the new book "The Golden Lemon Almond." At the same time I was making hamburger buns, using unbleached all-purpose flour. After the cake was baking in the oven, I noticed that it appeared darker than usual and it hit me immediately: I had used the unbleached flour by mistake.

Unbleached flour is slightly higher in protein, which causes it to brown faster. The smooth flour particles do not emulsify the butter and sugar as well as the rougher particles produced by bleaching or heat-treating. After baking, the cake made with unbleached flour usually falls in the center. But the lucky thing with the cake I was making is that it had no center because it was baked in a tube pan.

I asked Woody to test two Golden Lemon Almond cakes side-by-side and here are the results: The cake with unbleached flour had an excellent crumb as you can see in this photo.

335 1 unbleached.JPG

Though the crumb appears just as velvety as the cake made with bleached flour, it has a less tender melt in the mouth texture and less flavor. It is also 1/4 inch higher. But it's still a delicious cake. So the lesson here is that if you must use unbleached flour, a tube pan is the way to go!

Another important thing to note concerns the turbinado sugar called for in some of the recipes. Turbinado sugar contains only 1 percent molasses and is made by steam washing raw sugar which contains 3 percent molasses. The turbinado sugar I use is called Sugar in The Raw and is more blond in color and subtle in flavor than raw sugars produced by C & H and Florida Crystal which are more amber due to the higher amount of molasses.

336 two sugars.JPG


Here's the top of the cake with unbleached flour:


from what i could see from the photo it looks like the unbleached is a tighter crumb. i was sort of hoping KA would 'heat treat' the flour so it would perform like bleached but your results sound like this is not the case.

thanks again charles!


I actually did take a photo of the tops, but I'll have to upload them when I get home. The unbleached top was very bubbly compared to the bleached, if that means anything.

The heights of the edges were about the same 1 1/8 to 1 1/4, but the bleached was very domed, as you can see in the photo. It must have been close to 2 inches. The unbleached flour cake was pretty flat. KAF says my results were to be expected.

I thought the texture of the unbleached cake was terrible, kind of mushy, and on the third day, the top of it was very damp, almost wet.

I posted the photo at full resolution, so if it's fuzzy, my photo is fuzzy. I'd try again, but I threw the cakes out last evening....I kept munching on the good one and that wasn't going to do. ;-)


charles, thank you for doing this but i find it hard to see the crumb well. could you tell us more about the results/ also would be great to see what the tops of the cakes looked like and the measurements of the heights.

if you send me the jpeg maybe i'll be able to post a more clear photo.


I baked two of Rose's All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cakes, one with KAF's new unbleached cake flour and the other with regular bleached cake flour. A photo of the result is below. The cake on the left is with unbleached flour; the funny color of the crumb is due to my using a little food coloring to ensuring keeping track of which cake was which. The photo is large because I wanted people to see the crumb close up. And, I didn't use cake strips.


I use unbleached flours almost exclusively (mostly because they're in bulk at our co-op and much cheaper)... I've never had any problems with cakes falling. Also, there was a segment on Splendid Table that discussed how falling centers on cakes was due to improper leavening (old ingredients, creaming the butter insufficiently...).


Yes, I'd discovered this with several of The Cake Bible cakes in my pre-kateflour days in the UK. Using tube pans or mini-loaf pans rather than the usual 4-6 cup ones, along with decreasing the butter, resulted in acceptable cakes---though nothing would make the banana cake work until the advent of kateflour! Chiffon cakes also came out fine with 00 unbleached flour.



I stumbled here from a bread baking forum, and already learned something interesting - using unbleached flour for cakes is no good!

I cannot bake a cake to save my life, but bake bread regularly, and usually don't even take a look at the "bleached flour" - I honestly thought it was good for nothing

Thanks for teaching me something new! I might even have to bake a cake now (I do have your book, though - but only stare at the photos in complete awe)


I've heard that for Gold Medal flour, the unbleached has the same protein content as the bleached flour. Have you heard this? I've made a few cakes from Gold Medal unbleached and they didn't fall. The crumb was just a tad more dense, but the flavor I thought, was better.


Ghiradelli, Scharffen Berger and Callebut all have dutch processed cocoa and can be bought at Whole Foods (if you are in the US). Also, Whole Foods carries Green & Black and they will order it for you if they don't have it in stock. Just speak to the grocer. Hershey also makes a dutch cocoa called "special dark"


I recently purchased the Cake Bible as well as Rose’s Heavenly Cakes; my problem with the chocolate cake recipes is that I am unable to locate Green & Black’s or Valrhona & Van Houten Dutch-processed coco. I tried using Hershey coca, but the cake did not come out well. I tried to purchase Green & Black's from their webpage but they apparently do not sell it and the stores they indicate that carries their product, I have not been able to locate the product there either. Any assistance you can provide relative to where can purchase this product would be greatly appreciated.


From one namesake to another -

Thank you for your reply. Have stocked up on demerara and golden caster and would give both a try.


Hi Susan,
Another Susan here. Demerara sugar is the same as turbinado. I beleive the European name for turbinado is demerara so you should be able to find that in the UK. Although I don't think there is turbinado/demerara sugar as golden as the Sugar in the Raw w/ only 1% molasses. You could also try simply using the lovely "golden sugar" sold in the UK which is unrefined so it has a small percentage of the molasses still in it and is golden in color similar to the sugar in the raw. I hope this helps.


Rose -
I am interested in:
p17 white velvet cake
p104 chocolate layer with caramel ganache
p182 genoise tres cafe
p184 choc genoise w/peanut butter ganache
p250 coconut cheesecake
and of course, the marble velvet you mentioned.
I have faith that you will post in your out-cakes so that I can see what I am up against.
Thank you for taking the time to respond!



Thanks much for the turbinado taste test suggestion and indeed for the tip on superfining!


Susan, we did an informal taste test over in the forums for our UK friends before making the black chocolate party cake, which calls for turbinado. We concluded that demerara sugar came closest to turbinado in taste, while muscovado or light brown sugar was too dark/strong to be a good substitute.

If the demerara is in large granules, it will need to be run through the food processor for a few minutes to make it superfine.

Have fun with RHC, it is a treasure!


I like this mistake epiphany! And you are right about the unbleached flour working well in a tube pan. I hadn't put the connection together. My best unbleached flour cakes are done in tube pans.
I am glad you are more observant!


Thank you Susan but 99% of the cakes have a photo so which do you find missing other than the marble cake and finishes photo of the orange chiffon.

There are many bloggers from the uk so I'm hoping one will respond here. Alternatively you can post the turbinado ? On the forums or visit Kate cildeixk'a great blog a merrier world. Link is on the home page.


I am in awe of your latest RHC (it is my first by you) as I haven't seen baking recipes as detailed and meticulous as you have written! My only regret is that you haven't submitted a photo for every recipe. Perhaps on your out-cakes as I am now discovering?
Here in the UK, what can I use to substitute or comes close to turbinado sugar? Susan


What a wonderful instance of serendipity!



(won't be displayed, but it is used to display your picture, if you have a Gravatar)


You may use HTML tags for style.

Rose's Chocolate Baking Essentials on Craftsy


Sign up for Rose's newsletter, a once-a-month mouthwatering treat!


Featured on finecooking.com