Caster sugar, also referred to as superfine sugar is a delicate, but not powdery form of white sugar. It is used to attain a specific density, caramelization, or smooth aeration in desserts and baking.
Although there is no difference in the taste of white granular sugar and caster sugar, the latter is preferred for certain food preparations because it dissolves much quicker.
Caster sugar is required often in cake, meringue, souffle, and mousse recipes. If you have run out while baking, the good news is that there are a few simple substitutes you can use instead.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know when looking for a caster sugar replacement.
Types of Caster Sugar
There are two main types of caster sugar:
White caster sugar is made from refined sugar cane or sugar beet. It is snowy white and does not change color while baking.
Golden caster sugar is a light golden color. It is made from unrefined sugar that has molasses left in it. The flavor is more complex, and it darkens when baked. Golden caster sugar is preferred when making baked caramel custard.
What To Do When You Run Out Of Caster Sugar?
The type of caster sugar replacement you use will depend on your recipe and the role it plays in your dish.
Make Caster Sugar at Home
The best substitute when you have run out of caster sugar is to make it yourself. There are many applications where using other sugar substitutes will give you the same result as using caster sugar. However, when it comes to making light, airy cakes, meringues, or souffle, sticking to the recipe is best.
Using powdered or granular sugar as a substitute in meringues and souffle can result in a heavy, flat, or grainy texture, instead of the light fluffy rise you are looking for. Making your own caster sugar is simple and worth the effort to ensure your recipe turns out as it should.
How to Make Caster Sugar From Granulated Sugar
To make your own caster sugar, you will need a clean spice or coffee grinder, food processor, or blender. Whichever device you have will work well.
For every 1 cup of caster sugar your recipe calls for, place 1 cup plus two teaspoons of granulated white sugar into the device you are using.
Pulse the granulated sugar for a few seconds until it is finer in texture. You are aiming for a crystal size in between that of granulated and powdered sugar. Do not grind it so much that it forms a powder or clumps together (you will have to start again if it goes that far).
Let the sugar settle to prevent a cloud of sugar dust from escaping when you open the top. Pour the fine sugar through a sieve before adding it to the other ingredients to ensure any big pieces are separated.
If you are using a large food processor, add enough granular sugar to cover the blades. Use the amount the recipe calls for and keep the rest in a labeled airtight container for when you need it again.
Best Caster Sugar Alternative for Baking Cakes and Cookies
If your cookie recipe calls for caster sugar, the same amount of white granulated sugar will work well in most cases. When using granulated sugar instead of caster sugar in cakes and lighter cookies, use butter that is slightly cold, but still mixable, instead of room temperature butter.
Cream the butter and sugar together with a beater or by hand for a little longer. This will allow larger sugar crystals to combine well into the mixture.
Best Caster Sugar Alternative for Berries and Sauces
Regular granulated sugar and powdered sugar can be mixed with berries or into sauces. The larger sugar crystals will take longer to dissolve. Give the sugar extra time to dissolve when sprinkling on berries. Mix the sugar well on low heat for sauces to ensure the crystals dissolve completely.
If you use powdered sugar, note that it can be sweeter, and you will use slightly less. Sprinkle lightly and add small amounts at a time if needed. Powdered sugar will dissolve almost immediately.
Best Caster Sugar Alternative for Cocktails
Granulated sugar can be used for shaken cocktails. It will take longer to dissolve so will require a bit more shaking and stirring. Simple syrup is also ideal as it dissolves immediately in the liquid. It can water down the drink slightly.
Best Caster Sugar Alternative for Meringues or Angel Food Cake
Recipes that require beating egg whites with sugar can substitute granulated sugar in place of caster sugar cup for cup. Make sure to mix the sugar and egg whites at a lower speed to give the sugar more time to melt.
Meringues won’t have the same consistency and will be somewhat granular in texture.
Golden Caster Sugar Substitutes
It is not recommended to use brown sugar as a replacement for golden caster sugar. Brown sugar contains more moisture which will have an effect on the texture of your baked goods.
Regular caster sugar is the best substitution, whether store-bought or homemade. Your end product will be exactly the same in texture. There may be a slight difference in flavor, although this might not be noticeable in some recipes.
Demerara or Turbinado sugar can be used only if the large crystals are ground in a blender or food processor before using. This will break down the crystal size to be more like that of golden caster sugar.
Yes, powdered sugar, icing sugar, and confectioners’ sugar are the same product. Granulated sugar that has been ground to a powder can go by any of these names. Sometimes corn starch is added to keep it from clumping.
Honey will only be suitable as a replacement for caster sugar in a recipe where the sugar is needed for sweetness only. If castor sugar is required as an aeration or textural component, honey won’t work. Honey can be used in syrups, sauces, and cocktails but not in meringues or souffle as a substitute.
Lumps in sugar do not mean that the sugar is off. It is just a sign that the sugar crystals have been exposed to moisture. Simply break up the lumps by pressing them through a sieve to restore the natural consistency.
Since castor sugar is finer, there is less space between the crystals, and it packs slightly more densely than regular sugar. A cup of castor sugar will therefore be slightly heavier than a cup of regular sugar.
The caster sugar replacement you choose will depend largely on the type of dish you are making. To play it safe, simply grind up granulated sugar into finer crystals, and you have the perfect, failproof caster sugar replacement for any application. It really is that easy. Happy baking!
*image by bigacim.gmail.com/depositphotos