Ina Garten's Go-To Cake Flour Brand Is Especially Fine

Ina Garten knows a thing or two about baking the perfect cake. From recipes like her Devil's Food Cake to helpful tips for saving broken cakes, there's no shortage of incredible confections and kitchen hacks the extraordinary chef has to offer. So, when she reveals her secrets for making a better cake, you'd better listen up.

A cake is only as good as its ingredients, and cake flour is an important component that helps ensure your cakes end up light and fluffy instead of dense and crumbly. But did you know that all cake flours are not created equally? Different types of cake flour yield varying levels of fineness and even protein content.

Thanks to a peek into her favorite things, via Food Network Magazine, we now know the brand of cake flour The Barefoot Contessa reaches for when it's time to bake up a delicate treat. For Garten, it doesn't get any better than Swans Down.

It's so fine it blows our minds

Swans Down isn't just any cake flour, it's the gold standard for all of your delicate baking needs. In fact, it's 27 times finer than all-purpose flour. Swan Down's production process involves repeatedly grinding and sifting their flours until it reaches the peak of fluffy perfection. With such a thorough process and close attention to detail, it's easy to understand why Garten prefers these boxes specifically. And, in addition to its extremely fine texture, Swans Down's protein content sets it apart from the competition.

Flours that are manufactured with less protein are able to form less gluten during the mixing process. This ultimately makes for a lighter and fluffier final product, assuming the batter does not get overmixed. Cake flour, compared to pastry, all-purpose, self-rising, and bread flours takes the cake with the lowest amount of protein content. However, while some competitors offer cake flour with up to 10% protein, Swans Down boasts a product with only 6% to 8% protein, making it an excellent choice for the most tender and airy baked goods.

Swans Down is pretty widely available, but if you're unable to find this supreme cake flour on your store shelves, all hope is not lost. Cake flour is crucial for making delicate and tender cakes, so you'll want to get creative with a cake flour substitute that helps you get as close to the real thing as possible.