reviewed by Truman Perkins
When you think of sugar, what do you usually think of? You probably think of granular sugar or confectioners since they are much more common than any other sugar. While this kind of sugar has its place in recipes, two other sugar forms are beneficial in their own right: Caster sugar and powdered sugar. Read Caster Sugar vs Powdered Sugar.
Both of these ingredients have their uses. They enhance and are an integral part of different kinds of dishes. It will be instrumental to learn as much as you can about both of them. Caster sugar and powdered sugar are used more in baking than in glazing or as a sweetener. That is the first thing that you should know about it.
You need to know about these types of sugars because they both significantly affect what you are baking. Things will not end well if you are not perfect with your measurements.
Powdered sugar and caster sugar are two necessary ingredients for any baker to learn to work with. Knowing their similarities and differences will improve your effectiveness as a baker.
Ordinary bakers may be familiar with powdered sugar, but many of them cannot recognize what caster sugar is, let alone how useful it is.
Caster sugar has a few different names. It is called castor’s sugar, baker’s sugar, or superfine sugar.
The thing about caster sugar is that it is not much different from granular sugar. The only real difference between caster sugar and granulated sugar is that it has even smaller grains than granular sugar.
Think of caster sugar as sugar in between powdered sugar and granular sugar in terms of texture. It can be used almost as a substitute for powdered sugar; it can only be used more effectively than powdered sugar. Caster sugar has properties of granular and powdered sugar.
One of the reasons you may not come across caster sugar is that it is not typically used in the United States. However, bakers in the United Kingdom have been using it for a very long time in their pastry recipes. This is another reason why it is not well known.
The main effect that caster sugar has when baking pastry-type food items is that it makes these food items much softer and lighter. This is because of the “hybrid” type properties that caster sugar has compared to powdered sugar.
If you are interested in using caster sugar in your future pastry recipes, you will need to prepare to spend a little more. This is because caster sugar is a little rarer than other types of sugars that you encounter.
Highlighted below are the key differences between Castor sugar vs powdered sugar.
|Subject||Caster Sugar||Powdered Sugar|
|Texture||Relatively larger grains than powdered sugar||Superfine texture|
|Solubility||Dissolves faster but slower than powdered sugar||Dissolve much faster|
|Clumping vulnerability||Does not clump||Clumps easily, if not properly stored|
|Anti-caking agent||There is no added cornstarch||The sugar contains cornstarch|
|Existence||The sugar is available as both refined and non-refined||Sugar exists as refined sugar|
|Color||The sugar can be white or brown in color – depending on whether it’s refined or non-refined||Powdered sugar is white in color since it undergoes processing|
|Use||Best for sweetening drinks||Best for baking needs, e.g., frosting cakes|
|Properties||Castor sugar features hybrid properties that make pastry food recipes feel softer and lighter.||It has no such properties. Consequently, pastry food items won’t feel softer and lighter, as it’s the case with castor sugar.|
|Quantity||Typically you need more castor sugar for your pastry recipes||With powdered sugar, you need a little (because the sugar is ultra-fine and dissolves faster and evenly|
|Availability||Castor sugar is a bit rarer to find compared to other sorts of sugars||Sugar is ubiquitous and is utilized regularly|
|Substitute||Castor sugar can be used in place of granulated sugar||It would be best if you never attempted to replace granulated sugars with powdered sugars|
|Cost||This type of sugar tends to be a bit expensive (since it’s rare to find)||The sugar is relatively cheaper (due to ready availability)|
|Workability||Compared to powdered sugar, mixing other ingredients with castor sugar can be somewhat slower.||It’s easy to mix with other ingredients thanks to its fine structure|
|Synthesis/How to make||Making castor sugar from granulated sugar doesn’t need too much grinding||You need to grind granulated sugar for prolonged hours to get ultrafine powdered sugar|
Golden caster sugar is a type of sugar created from unrefined sugar or beets and possesses a buttery, subtle, or caramel flavor. Its golden color can transform your baked items into brown. It is readily available in many shops and supermarkets alongside the standard caster sugar. It is also known as raw caster sugar. If you can’t find it in the supermarket or nearby shops, you can instead use standard caster sugar.
It is easy to make golden caster sugar at home. You only need blitzing standard raw sugar in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder until you get the same texture.
Is golden caster sugar the same as the standard caster sugar? Well, the difference between the two depends on the absence or presence of molasses. Regular caster sugar lacks molasses, giving it pure sugary flavor and white color. On the other hand, golden caster sugar is refined and possesses little molasses, giving it caramel flavor and golden color.
There are many simple options ideal as a substitute for golden caster sugar. Remember that brown sugar is not recommended because it has a lot of moisture and significantly impacts texture. The best golden caster sugar substitute can be standard caster sugar, Turbinado/Demerara sugar.
Although Turbinado/Demerara have the same flavor and color as golden caster sugar, they possess more giant crystals. Thus, when using them as golden caster sugar, remember to pass it through a blender or food processor.
Caster sugar in the US refers to the standard sugar ground steadily to have a final coarseness between powdered sugar and granulated sugar. What does this mean? Well, in regards to granulated sugar, caster sugar possesses finely ground crystals. This implies that it dissolve easier and faster in white, cream mixtures, and more. Caster sugar is primarily ideal for making delicate recipes such as soufflés, meringues, and sponge cakes.
Due to its easy dissolving ability, caster sugar in the U.S. is also ideal for sweetening drinks. Many chefs and bartenders employ it rather than simple syrup when preparing cocktails.
Concerning powdered sugar, known as icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar, caster sugar is less ground than the powder sugar counterparts. In the U.S, powder sugar primarily has anti-caking ingredients such as cornstarch, comprising up to 5% of the sugar.
Since caster sugar lacks a texture similar to that of the powder option, it contains no agent to avoid clumping. People also consider caster sugar as baker’s sugar, superfine sugar, and bar sugar.
Sugar comes in different textures and flavors. If you are making caster sugar, you will need to have the right ingredients and tools. Some tools and ingredients to use can be granulated sugar and a DRY blender. The following are the proper steps to follow;
Caster sugar is essential for making consistently and smoothes baked items. It is also great for including sweetness in the beverages. When looking forward to making caster sugar, don’t overdo it to the point of getting to the powdered sugar. Instead, try having a blender, spice grinder, or food processor to make perfect caster sugar.
After making your caster sugar, be add it to beverages, iced tea, cold drinks, and different cocktails. It also works wonders in whips and creamed mixtures. Regarding desserts, caster sugar is perfect for making fluffy and light delights such as soufflés, puddings, sorbets, cookies, meringues, mousses, custards, and cakes. Caster sugar is an ideal choice for sprinkling on fresh fruits and desserts.
If you don’t have caster sugar, the good news is that many caster sugar substitutes can also serve the same purpose. Usually, caster sugar is a kind of sugar that is challenging to find in the market.
Additionally, it is not easy to stock it up in the home. The reason for this is that caster sugar is significantly expensive than brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar. If you compare caster sugar with standard granulated sugar, you will find it twice as costly per pound.
Generally, it is a complex scenario since it is tricky to replace sugar with other kinds of sugar. For instance, powdered sugar has small cornstarch quantities, which avoid clumping known to influence the recipe. On the other hand, the granulated sugar option is somehow thick and will transform the dessert’s consistency and smoothness.
Fortunately, there is an easy caster sugar substitute that people make at home effortlessly. You only require a food processor and granulated sugar.
Note that when using a food processor, your sugar can etch, mainly it is plastic made. A coffee grinder machine is fantastic, especially if you are creating minute batches of sugar. A food processor is ideal for making a large amount of sugar, leading to unevenly grounding sugar.
For this reason, when employing a food processor, you must use a large amount of granulated sugar compared to the quantity you require. Alternatively, if your food processor possesses a grinder, you can utilize it rather than the blades.
If you use a coffee grinder, consider using its smaller cups, then grind the sugar in batches to help achieve even texture. Every set you make using a coffee grinder takes approximately 30-60 seconds to convert granulated sugar into caster sugar.
Although granulated sugar isn’t a substitute for caster sugar, caster sugar is an ideal substitute for granulated sugar. Simply put, caster sugar is the best compromise between powdered and granulated sugar.
This caster sugar has the same workability and performance as powdered sugar counterparts; however, it has the more advanced sweetness of the granulated option. This switch functions, particularly in cakes, pastry doughs, and cookies.
While caster sugar is rare, powdered sugar is ubiquitous and used regularly. That is the first thing that makes caster sugar and powdered sugar different.
Another difference between the two is their texture.
As mentioned earlier, caster sugar has a texture that falls in between the extremes of powdered sugar and granular sugar.
Powdered sugar is ground into a grain that is so fine that it is impossible to see any individual grains. Caster sugar is still ground, but the grain is not nearly as refined.
As many bakers know, powdered sugar has two essential purposes: First, it is used to make the icing, frosting, and other pastry decorations.
The second thing that powdered sugar does is function as a dust-type decoration that can add flavor to pastry-type food items.
What makes powdered sugar different from caster sugar is that, unlike caster sugar, baking pastries will not result in a lighter or softer product. This can be a good thing if you are not intending on baking a milder or lighter pastry product.
Caster sugar is so similar in its texture and function to powdered sugar that some bakers could argue that it is better to use caster sugar than powdered sugar in their recipes.
When comparing caster and powdered sugar, you can’t reach them in terms of which one is better than the other. Caster sugar and granulated sugar each have unique qualities that apply to different situations.
Caster sugar is very effective for pastry dishes that demand a softer texture. On the other hand, caster sugar is not as effective as powdered sugar when it makes icing or frosting.
Powdered sugar also looks a little better when decorating a pastry than caster sugar since powdered sugar is much more refined than even caster sugar.
You should also know about caster sugar because not only is it a lot less common than powdered sugar, but it is also much more costly. If you do not have the time or money to acquire caster sugar, there is no shame in using powdered sugar.
Caster sugar and powdered sugar are similar in their function. Both are used in pastry recipes, and caster sugar can give these dishes a better texture.
First, caster sugar is a lot more costly and not nearly as common as powdered sugar. Using caster sugar in your pastry dishes can be a challenge if you are new to baking.
However, suppose you are experienced in baking. In that case, caster sugar can make this process a little easier, and you will enjoy a pastry product that is much more flavorful and will also result in a softer texture that will impress others.
This does not mean that caster sugar is superior to powdered sugar. Remember that caster sugar is not as ground as intensely as powdered sugar. Using caster sugar on top of a pastry will not look as inviting as using powdered sugar does.
Powdered sugar and caster sugar each have their advantages and disadvantages. The best bakers know when to use sugar for different situations, like any other sugar type.
There are many stores and online platforms that deal with caster sugar. However, before you buy caster sugar for your recipe, you must know how to select the best.
Having that in mind, you can buy caser sugar in almost every leading supermarket at a cost-friendly price. You can still purchase it online from different shopping platforms such as Amazon. Each kilogram costs approximately $30.
Remember that while caster sugar is readily available in places such as the UK, it can be challenging to get it in the U.S. The reason for this is that some companies advertise it as superfine sugar. Thus, many people don’t know if it is caster sugar or other brands.
After purchasing castor sugar, you must store it well. It is easy to keep this sugar for up to one year, provided that you follow the following tips.
– Store caster sugar in a cool and dry environment
– After opening the package, ensure that you have an air-tight container to store it.
– The reason for having an airtight container is to avoid the sugar getting damp or hard.
Caster sugar plays an integral role in the body. Thus, many people consider buying it because it’s low in calories, cholesterol-free, and fat-free. Interestingly, caster sugar is the best product to give your meals, including white eggs, cookies, creamed mixtures, and cakes, a breathtaking taste. You only need to know how to make it at home or buy high-quality caster sugar for maximum benefits.
About Truman Perkins
Truman Perkins is a Detroit-based SEO consultant who's been in the business for over a decade. He got his start helping friends and clients get their websites off the ground, and he continues to do so today. In his free time, Truman enjoys learning and writing about gardening - something he believes is a natural stress reliever. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their twins in Detroit.