Have you ever wondered why many baking recipes call for cane sugar as an ingredient?
While it may seem like any kind of sugar would do, baking with cane sugar has some distinct advantages in terms of sweetening, taste, and texture.
Although, if you need or prefer to use a substitute instead of or in addition to cane sugar, there are several options worth considering.
Knowing how and when to use each one can help ensure your recipe turns out just the way you envisioned.
Learn more about how and why to substitute cane sugar when baking, as well as the five best substitutes for it.
What’s Cane Sugar?
Cane sugar is an aromatic, richly flavorful sweetener made from the pressed juice of matured sugarcane.
This versatile product can be found in solid form, as granulated and turbinado sugars, or in liquid forms, such as demerara syrup.
Cane sugar has a unique caramel-like flavor compared to refined white sugar, and its larger crystals offer a crunchy mouthfeel when used alone or paired with bakery products.
It can be used to add both flavor and sweetness to dishes, making it an excellent choice for tasty baking treats like cookies, cakes, and pies.
When cooking savory items such as BBQ sauces or glazes, cane sugars are surprisingly good accompaniments that create delectable layers of flavor.
Given its general sweetness and robust aromatics, it’s always important to start slow when experimenting with cane sugars so that any dish you make remains balanced with just the right amount of sweetness.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Cane Sugar in Baking
If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to cane sugar in your baking, here are five of the best substitutes that you can use.
1 – Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar often referred to as coconut palm sugar, is one of the latest natural sweeteners to join the ranks in the world of healthy and organic alternatives to white cane sugar.
Not only is it made from the sap taken from a variety of coconut palms, but it is also considered a low-glycemic index food, making it ideal for those with diabetes or other related issues.
In addition, its flavor has hints of caramel and butterscotch, along with subtle undertones of cocoa.
It is quite similar to brown sugar in regards of color and texture; however, it shatters more easily than table sugar.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a great alternative to regular sugar consumption, try substituting equal parts of coconut sugar instead – perfect for adding sweetness without much effort.
Great for anything from baked goods, smoothies, or simply sprinkled over porridge or cereal for an extra delightful start to your day.
2 – Honey
It’s no wonder honey is a favorite choice of sweetener.
It has a unique flavor that adds complexity to many dishes and is much sweeter than cane sugar.
It also has a delightfully creamy texture that can take something very simple–like toast with butter–to the next level.
A bonus benefit of using honey in place of cane sugar is that it contains minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to prevent certain diseases.
Honey is not only tasty but versatile; it can be used in sauces, smoothies, dressings, and even baked goods.
To substitute it for cane sugar in recipes, use 2/3 cup of honey for every cup of sugar and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used, as well as reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit as it will cause items to brown quickly.
3 – Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is the star of countless delicious recipes, adding a unique flavor and texture to all kinds of treats.
It’s become so popular that many people find themselves using it more often than cane sugar these days.
The secret to its timeless appeal is in its deep and sweet flavor, which adds an earthy depth to everything from desserts to salads.
With notes of caramel and roasted walnuts, it’s sure to make your palate sing.
Even better, it’s healthier for you than cane sugar since it has fewer calories and contains minerals like zinc, magnesium, and calcium that you won’t get from white sugar.
Plus, those minerals help slow down the absorption of the syrup’s natural sugars, preventing blood sugar spikes after eating.
For a spoonful of natural sweetness with a burst of unexpected complexity and nutrition– maple syrup is definitely the way to go.
4 – Agave Syrup
Agave syrup is a sweetener made from the blue agave plant, native to Mexico.
It is generally sweeter than cane sugar and has less of a glycemic effect in the body – this means it releases energy more slowly, giving you more sustained energy compared to sugar that gives you a ‘sugar rush.
‘ It tastes caramel-like, with slightly floral notes, and is thinner in texture than other syrups like honey or molasses.
Agave syrup makes an excellent substitute for cane sugar due to its stronger sweetness punch with fewer calories.
You can use agave syrup as a 1:1 substitution for most baking recipes that call for regular granulated sugar.
For general cooking, using half the amount of agave syrup for any recipe calling for granulated or caster sugar will work too.
5 – Beet Sugar
Beet sugar is a granular product made from beets.
It has a unique and unmistakable flavor due to its origin as a root vegetable, one of the main differences between beet and cane sugar.
Beet sugar also tends to have small crystals that ensure it dissolves quickly and easily.
With a subtle earthy sweetness, this type of natural sugar can be used in a variety of cooking and baking applications, especially sweet pies and tarts.
In fact, when substituting beet sugar for cane sugar, users may want to reduce the total amount called for by one-quarter because it is slightly sweeter than cane.
Aside from having some veg-friendly applications, beet sugar also browns better than other types of sugars when heated, making it ideal for any recipes calling for heavier caramelization or nutty flavor accents.
Be sure to try out this special ingredient the next time you’re in the kitchen.
In conclusion, cane sugar isn’t the only option when it comes to adding sweetness to your recipes.
There are plenty of healthier and tastier alternatives that you can use if you want to make your baking more nutritious or just add a unique flavor twist.
Coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, and beet sugar all make excellent substitutes for cane sugar in various baking applications.
So the next time you grab a bag of sugar, why not switch it up and try one of these delicious alternatives instead?