Pros: Very fine flour. Very light cake textures.
Cons: More expensive. Worth it for special cakes.
Swans Down was the first fine baking flour to be manufactured. The popular baking flour was first sold in 1894 and has been popular for all these years.
The difference between Swans Down and other brands of flour sold in bags is that Swans Down is made from tender winter wheat and is sifted extra. In fact, the company says that Swans Down Flour is 27 times finer than typical flours. If you buy some and look at it, you will see the difference. The texture difference is close to the difference between table sugar and powdered sugar. Swans Down is a very light and powdery flour.
Swans Down, as far as I know, always comes in boxes. Around here anyway. Its boxed like Bisquick instead of being in bags.
Swans Down Flour runs around $2 per box. Its close double in terms of cost to the bagged brands of flours.
My Grandma and my Mom both got Swans Down when they made their extra special cakes. For Grandma, it was her applesauce cake. For Mom, German Chocolate. When they were making their signature cakes which take a lot of time and are expensive to make with the nuts and all, they wanted to be extra sure the texture was perfect. I can attest that their cakes were the max. Well, Moms still is. Grandma has now passed away.
I dont get Swans Down Flour real often. For day to day, I go with Hudson Cream flour. Its a wonderful biscuit flour, and Im most likely to make biscuits when baking. If I do make a really nice cake like Red Velvet or my Mom or Grandmas cakes, then Ill spring for Swans Down Flour. It really does make a difference. The texture is light and just really nice.
A lot of people think flour is just flour. When a group of us were making biscuits for a dinner, someone asked me about my flour. That was Hudson Cream. Folks could tell a difference. Same with the cakes. Its not likely with cakes that anyone asks about the flour brand, but theyll ask for the recipe. If they skimp on the flour and use bagged flour, then the cake will not be as light and tasty. One secret to really wonderful cakes is to use Swans Down cake flour. Its not wonder its been around for over 100 years and that it sells up against lower priced bagged flours.