Abstract This study aimed to improve the freeze-thawed cake properties by10–20% waxy rice flour (WRF) substitution for wheat flour (WF). Viscosity of WRF-substituted batters was lower; consequently, trapped air was less uniformly distributed than WF batter. After five freeze-thaw cycles, firmness and enthalpy of melting retrograded amylopectin of WF- and WRF-substituted cakes increased and the matrix surrounding the air pores from SEM images was denser than in fresh-baked cakes. Sensory evaluation showed an increase in firmness and a decrease in firmness acceptability of freeze-thawed cakes. However, freeze-thawed cake with WRF substitution had significantly less firmness, less dense matrix and more acceptability than WF cake. This could have been due to a low amylose content of WRF and the spread of ruptured waxy rice starch granules around swollen wheat starch granules as observed by CLSM. Thus, WRF could be used for WF substitution to improve the firmness in freeze-thawed cake.