Does cane sugar change the taste of cake?

Nov 10, 2020
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If so, is there anyway I can adjust and does refined sugar just taste better/sweeter?


Jun 23, 2017
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If so, is there anyway I can adjust and does refined sugar just taste better/sweeter?

Flavor and texture will depend on the type of cane sugar used.

When sugar is refined, juice is extracted from the cane, boiled, crystalized, then centrifuged to remove the liquid (molasses) from the crystals, then dried. The more times it is processed, the whiter the sugar since less molasses is in the sugar.

Any sugar that is labelled organic cane sugar is not the same as granulated sugar. It is a single crystallized sugar. This means the sugar cane is crushed; solids are removed; the cane juice heated to concentrate the syrup; it’s then centrifuged once to separate the sugar from the molasses. But some molasses remains in the sugar.

After its been centrifuged the sugar syrup is then crystallized. This less refined sugar has more minerals and some traces of molasses. It has larger and irregular shaped crystals than conventional granulated sugar. This sugar will be darker and coarser than conventional granulated sugar.

Since there is some molasses in the sugar, it will have some flavor of molasses. Molasses is an invert sugar. And since molasses has some water molecules, it will cook and bake differently than conventional granulated sugar. The water molecules will create a softer texture and weaker dough/batter structure.

And since there are trace amounts of molasses in the sugar, it will not caramelize as well as conventional granulated sugar.

Molasses is also acidic, so the ph of organic cane sugar is slightly acidic.

It is not to say organic cane sugar is bad to bake with, only that it will perform differently because of the way it is refined.

Conventional granulated sugar differs in that it is made by re-melting refined conventional single crystallized sugar and processing it a second time to remove all traces of molasses and minerals. Since there is no molasses it will not impart any molasses flavor or additional moisture. Since there is no moisture, it caramelizes beautifully.

Sweetness is complicated. Granulated sugar or table sugar is sucrose, a disaccharide. A disaccharide is a molecule that contains two monosaccharides: glucose and fructose.

Sucrose has a relative sweetness of 100.
Sucrose is one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule (50% glucose and 50% fructose)

All other sweeteners are based on the relative sweetness of sucrose (granulated sugar).
But when you separate the disaccharide into individual molecules the sweetness levels are not the same.

  • Glucose relatives sweetness is 70
  • Fructose relative sweetness is 120

So when you compare sucrose to other sweeteners, the comparison of relative sweetness is determined by the type of disaccharides.

Agava syrup is sweeter than granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses.

Granulated sugar, brown sugar, and honey all have the same relative sweetness.

Molasses has a slightly lower relative sweetness than granulated sugar, brown sugar, and honey.

Corn syrups vary depending on type.

The best way to control the sweetness in baking is to bake using metric weight, and understanding the baker’s percentages. Baker’s percentages is the percent of an ingredient by weight to flour.

A percentage is number expressed as a fraction of 100. In baker’s percentages, the flour is always 100%. All other ingredients are weighed against the flour. An ingredient may be more than the 100% flour. For example, sugar is normally equal or slightly more than flour in a cake.

Example if your formula uses 100% cake flour and 115% sugar, and you use 210g cake flour for a 8” cake, you can easily adjust the sugar to any precise amount that you like simply by changing the percentage of sugar, then multiplying that by 210.

The orignial sugar would be 241g (210 x 1.15 = 241.5)
So if you wanted to reduce the sugar by 10%.

Subtract 115 - 10 = 105.
Then multiple 210 x 1.05 = 220g
sugar instead of the original 241g sugar.

Cake Flour 100%
Egg whites 92%
Yolks 35%
Sugar 115%
Oil 50%
Liquid 68%
Leavening 04%
Salt 015%

I reduce the sugar in my formulas all the time. My family is Japanese; we aren’t accustom to the level of sweetness that Americans enjoy in their baked goods.

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