Q: Can I mix cake flour and all-purpose flour for my favorite pound cake?

A: The biggest difference between flours is the amount of protein, which leads to the development of gluten, the stretchy bands that join molecules. For strong, crusty bread, you want lots of gluten. For tender biscuits, you donít want much. For cakes, you need something in the middle.

Bread flour is highest in protein. All-purpose flour is next. Pastry flour is a little lower. And cake flour, which usually comes in a box, is the lowest.

Pastry flour can be difficult to find. But if you mix 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup cake flour, youíll get a protein level thatís very close. You may find it works better for biscuits, pie crusts and some cakes.