If a recipe calls for “two cups of sifted flour” or “two cups of flour, sifted” do you measure the flour first and then sift it or do you sift it and then measure it?
You need to sift the flour first, preferably onto waxed paper, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
Hope this helps -
This was taken from my post in COOKING TIPS - thread called - SUCCESSFUL BAKING BASICS -
MEASURING FLOUR: Measure flour into a dry-measure measuring cup (use a cup with a “flat” top - not a cup with a “spout” that is used for measuing liquids) by spooning flour from the flour bag and heaping slightly. Holding heaping cup of flour over bag of flour or canister, run flat side of long knife across top to level off cup.
This technique is also used for sugar, cornstarch, etc.
there are many more hints and tips there as well - I hope you check them out.