What role does gluten play in cake and biscuit making?

Cakes and biscuits are also commonly made from wheat flour, although it is usually low protein flours (7.5-9% protein). Gluten is present in these products; however unlike for bread, the development of gluten is usually discouraged as it can result in an undesirable and tough texture in these products.

There is no need to develop the gluten network during cake mixing as this would make a cake tough. The mixing step in cake making focuses more on combining the ingredients and incorporating air into a uniform batter to give a light desirable cake texture.

Biscuit mixing tends to be a single step, all-in system, or mixed in two steps where fat and sugar are creamed first. Gluten development is generally regarded as undesirable as it can lead to problems such as excessive shrinkage or distortion and checking, which causes biscuits to break or crack after baking.