We can say:
"I can't bake a cake unless I get some flour. "
We should say:
"I can bake a cake provided that I get some flour"

I hope someone can explain what the rule is for not being able to say:
"I can't bake a cake provided I can't get flour."

I think it has something to do with a requirement or proviso, but I'm in difficulty figuring out the precise rule. Confused Thanks! Smile
Original Post
You are right that "provided that" introduces a requirement for something to happen. "Provided that" (also "providing that" in British English) means "if and only if"( Quirk et al.*, Section 15.35, p. 1093, note [e])

"Provided that" states a required condition. In the sentence

I can bake a cake provided that I get some flour

The acquisition of the flour is a necessary condition for the baking of the cake.

It is hard to imagine a necessary condition ("if and only if") for someone not being able to do something. There has to be a possible event that will be enabled if the condition is fulfilled. This, by the way, does not rule out two negatives:

I won't correct your English any more provided that you don't correct mine, OK?

She may not cancel her performance (as she has threatened), provided that you don't criticize her again

In both these cases, the event that is required is a refraining from an action, not an action itself.

Marilyn Martin

*A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985)

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