There are lots of types of sugar and generally you should use the sugar stated in a recipe as it does a very specific job in that recipe. We’ve outlined below the different types of sugar and their uses as well as ways as making it if you run out.
Granulated sugar is a coarse form of sugar and is mostly used for day to day sweetening e.g. tea, coffee, cereal etc. It isn’t usually recommended for baking as it doesn’t dissolve as quickly even though the water content and flavour are the same as caster sugar.
Caster sugar is a fine grain of sugar which is finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as icing sugar. If you’re following an American recipe it I’ll be called ‘superfine sugar’. Caster sugar is known for its fast dissolving properties and also incorporates more air than other types of sugar – making it perfect for creating light & fluffy cakes & also melt in the mouth meringues. If you run out of caster sugar you can put granulated sugar in a food processor / blender until it reaches a really fine consistency.
Icing sugar, also known as powdered or confectioner’s sugar, is the finest type of sugar in terms of consistency & is in a powdered form. It dissolves quickly without the use of heat which makes it ideal for making icing and buttercream. You can make icing sugar if you don’t have any by putting granulated sugar into a coffee grinder.
Light Brown Sugar
Light brown sugar contains molasses syrup which gives it a unique flavour and high moisture content, meaning that it tends to clump together. It is soft in texture due to its fine, quick dissolving crystals and will give a lovely golden colour to your bake.
Dark Brown Sugar
Dark brown sugar is similar to light brown however it contains higher levels of molasses syrup so has a stronger flavour and a more moist texture. There isn’t any difference in terms of performance between light & dark brown sugar, just in taste. Dark brown sugar is great for baking gingerbread as it has a lovely intense flavour and will give a rich, dark colour to your bake.
Whatever sugar you have at home it is always good to store it in an air tight container (preferably in its original bag) to avoid it from clumping.