Originally Posted by Bridgett
Haha, i'm sure a sifter does do a more thorough job than a fork. The purpose of aerating the flour with a fok before measuring it out is just to make the measure more accurate for a lighter cake - i.e. 1 cup of aerated ("fluffed up") flour, is obviously a little less and a little lighter than one cup of compacted flour.
Of course, once this has been done, you then proceed to sift the flour for the purpose of aerating it thoroughly, and actually incorporating air into the cake.
Bridgett, flour, for whatever you are using it for, is always intended to be "aerated" with a fork or spoon before measuring. Unless the recipe specifies dipping the cup directly into the flour, you will always get an incorrect amount (read too much) of flour if you measure that way.The rest of the world measures flour by weight. If you do that, you avoid the pitfalls of "compacted" flour.