How to Use Raw Sugar for Baking
I use raw sugar all the time. Hey, if I’m going to eat sugar the least I can do is pick one that brings some minerals and nutrients to my body. I recently wrote this post about the differences between raw sugar, white sugar and brown sugar and talked about how raw sugar keeps a good amount of the natural minerals and antioxidants found in the cane juice. You may use raw sugar instead of white sugar, but you need to take some considerations before you make the substitution.
Now, sugar has a super important role in baking. Well of course, you might be thinking. Sugar is that sweet ingredient that makes us say ummmm!! after that first bite of a cake or motivate us to stay one more minute in a that forearm plank just to not have a guilt trip.
But besides this, sugar is one of the key players of the chemical processes of baking in two ways: it imparts liquid and moist when heated and helps to hold air when beaten with butter. It’s through this last part that using raw sugar could make things tricky.
When the sugar is beaten with the butter it creates very little sockets of air. Because white sugar is smaller the butter will hold many little uniform bubbles. This will yield a soft, light and uniform crumb. Since raw sugar granules are larger and inconsistent in shape, you will not get those magnificent little pockets of air that you would get with white sugar.
What’s a sweets dependent girl to do? I give my raw sugar a few pulses, even in my NutriBullet or my regular food processor for larger amounts until the texture is more like that of white sugar. And it’s literally a few pulses because you don’t want to pulverize the sugar or it will melt almost right away in the baking process.
You may start with one or two pulses, scoop any untouched sugar from the bottom and then give it about two pulses more. When in doubt, just think you are just going after the size of regular white sugar and don’t over do it. Scoop and measure your sugar after this process for the recipe you are making.
This is how I use raw sugar for baking. My Mexican Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake and my Coconut Bundt Cake with Hibiscus Glaze are made using this trick and the results are absolutely delicious. Give this tip a try next time you are in your baking mode.