Here's When You Should Be Using Caster Sugar In Recipes

Baking is a careful science that even the finest pâtissier fumbles from time to time. Between calculating the perfect amount of time spent in the oven, selecting the many ingredients that go into it, and getting the ratios just right, baking is all about balance. If the center of your cookie is too gooey, it may fall apart and lose its shape. If you don't let your donut dough rise, it will fall flat.

Among the many intricacies that go into it, one of the most important details to consider while baking is ingredient selection. When a recipe calls for sugar, the novice baker might grab whatever is on hand — granulated, brown, white, or even Splenda. However, the sugar you use in a baked good has the power to transform it for better or worse. For example, when should you use caster sugar instead of table sugar in a recipe?

Caster sugar should be used for light, airy recipes

Caster sugar, also called superfine sugar, is a finely-ground sugar often used in recipes originating in the UK or Australia. Caster sugar is finer than table sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar. According to MasterClass, caster sugar boasts a buttery, caramel flavor and is less processed than table sugar. Although it's not widely called for in American recipes, Food Network says caster sugar is typically available in small quantities in most grocery stores' baking aisles.

Because it's lighter and less gritty than table sugar, caster sugar is best employed in recipes that need to turn out light and airy such as meringues, mousses, sponge cakes, or toppings like whipped cream. Caster sugar is also great for recipes that require a smooth finish like ice cream and some alcoholic beverages (per MasterClass).

Although it's uncommon to find in bulk in the U.S., making caster sugar at home is a piece of cake. According to Food Network's instructions, simply transfer granulated table sugar into a food processor and grind the sugar down for one to two minutes until it's almost, but not quite, a powder. Happy baking!