1) Are you sifting your flour before you measure into your bowl?
2) When you scoop your flour, do you use the measuring cup to scoop with?
Since your a new baker, let me recommend an article called For Great Cakes, Get the Ratios Right by Shirley Corriher .
Generally that floury taste can be attributed to several things. Too much flour, bad recipe, improper mixing or underbaking, but the most common culprit is too much flour.
Too much flour is most usually caused by scooping with the measuring cup and is probably the most common kitchen mistake made today. I have a daughter and 6 nieces (as well as many of their friends who wanted to learn) whom I have taught to cook and bake over the years, and nearly all of them have done this (worse, they learned it from their moms).
The problem is that scooping compacts the flour, so if you scoop with your measure your getting a compacted amount, which can be as much as twice the amount of flour you need.
Another problem is not sifting your flour, or sifting after measuring. Many people think that today's modern flours don't need sifting, but in fact, it does. Yes, the flour was sifted prior to bagging at the mill, but sitting around in a warehouse, in trucks and on grocery shelves, often with other bags of flour stacked on top of them tends to compact the flour in the bag. Sifting aerates the flour and "fluffs it up".
So as a rule of thumb, whether baking cakes or breads, "sift first, then measure" either by volume or (my preference) by weight.
In my experience, the type of flour your using does not effect taste as much as texture. All Purpose flour is a blend of high-gluten and low-gluten flours and is really only good for frying chicken. (though it can make passable bread). I only use AP flour for cakes when I absolutely have nothing else and can get nothing else. The protein (i.e. gluten) content of AP flour is really just too high for cakes and they tend to come out heavy, though AP flour can be a good choice for Chocolate cake if you want it to come out heavy and "fudgey".
As a rule, use your lowest protein flours (Cake Flours) for cakes.
Biscuit flour (i.e. Martha White, White Lilly) for Biscuits, Pancakes, Pie Crusts and Doughnuts.
AP flour for frying batters, dredges and gravies.
Bread flour for Breads and Rolls.
And Semolina (the highest protein content flours) for Pastas and Pizza doughs.
Welcome to the world of baking! :)
Edited by Raven21633 - 9/18/13 at 10:38pm