Sugar is a deliciously sweet ingredient used in baking and added to drinks, such as teas and coffees, to sweeten their taste. Sugar can be used to make cookies, cakes, candies, and pastries.
As you can see, it is an important and diverse ingredient that is contained in many people’s favorite sweet treats. Sugar will likely be present in the kitchens of most people, especially if they are bakers or lovers of hot drinks.
This is because it is considered a baking staple.
There are a few different kinds of sugar, including caster, granulated, and demerara sugar. These sugars will have different uses and functions. For example, many people prefer having brown sugar in their tea.
Meanwhile, white sugar is generally the preferred choice for coffee drinkers.
This can make it confusing when attempting to identify different varieties of sugar. Even experienced bakers can find it difficult to tell the difference between these various forms of sugar.
This is because, to the untrained eye, they can all appear very similar in appearance, taste, and texture.
If you are confused as to how to identify the differences between brown sugar and cane sugar, we have described both types of sugar and listed their differences below.
What Is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white sugar that has been refined. Molasses is a syrup that is known as black treacle. Molasses itself is made by refining sugar.
As the name suggests, this sugar is brown in color. You can get light and dark variations of brown sugar. This will depend on the amount of molasses that has been mixed into the white sugar.
It is from the molasses that brown sugar gets its coloring.
Brown sugar can be used in lots of different baking recipes. Its brown color will add a golden hue to your baking. Also, like other forms of sugar, it adds some delicious sweetness to food. It is commonly contained in cookies, cakes, and muffins.
In these recipes, it is great for instilling them with a caramel-like taste. Additionally, cinnamon rolls contain brown sugar. Many people also like pouring brown sugar into their cereal, adding a sweet flavor to it.
As mentioned previously, it can also be used in hot drinks, such as teas and coffees.
Brown sugar also has some more savory uses. It can be an ingredient in ready-made sauces, such as barbecue sauce. Furthermore, brown sugar can be used to treat meats, including bacon.
Bread recipes may also call for brown sugar to be used, especially if there is an element of sweetness to their taste.
What Is Cane Sugar?
Meanwhile, cane sugar can either be a golden brown or have more of a whitish hue. There are different varieties of cane sugar that you can purchase. These include organic, raw, and whole. It can be less easy to acquire than other types of sugar.
Cane sugar has not yet been refined. It is less processed than other forms of sugar. Instead, it comes pretty much straight from the sugarcane.
In terms of baking, cane sugar is used for a lot of different baking recipes. Like brown sugar, it is also suitable for use in hot drinks.
It can be used in most of the same recipes as granulated sugar, though it will alter the taste and texture ever so slightly. For instance, you could use it to make some delectable meringues.
In terms of cane sugar being utilized in savory cooking, it can be used to bring out the flavor of meats. Of course, this will make the meal less healthy, so you should use sugar sparingly.
What Are The Differences Between Them?
One of the primary differences between brown sugar and cane sugar is their different appearances. In terms of color, they are different shades of brown. They can also be told apart due to their sizes.
The crystals of cane sugars tend to be larger in size than brown sugar crystals. This is perhaps the easiest method of identifying and differentiating them since the differences in size can be quite obvious.
This is because, after reading this information, you will be able to visually see the differences in the appearances of cane and brown sugar.
You will also be able to notice a difference in the taste of brown and cane sugar. The taste of brown sugar will be reliant on whether you are using light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will have a more toffee or caramel flavor.
Moreover, dark brown sugar will taste more of molasses than its lighter counterpart. Though these flavors are present in light brown sugar, they will not be as potent.
Meanwhile, cane sugar tastes sweeter than brown sugar. You may also be able to pick up on subtle hints of vanilla in cane sugar. There will be elements of molasses in cane sugar, though it will be a very weak flavor when compared to dark brown sugar.
Additionally, though both sugars are used in baking, they have different uses. In some recipes, you can switch between the two sugars. However, you cannot always substitute them.
Doing so will give your baked goods different flavors and appearances. You should always research whether you can replace these sugars before including them in your baking.
Cane sugar tends to be more expensive than different types of brown sugars. The reason for this is that cane sugar is incredibly organic and raw. As a general rule, organic foods are often more expensive than non-organic versions.
However, it is worth paying the extra money for these organic products. Fortunately, a similarity between brown sugar and cane sugar is that both are readily available to buy in supermarkets or online.
Another difference between the two sugars is in the methods with which they are produced. When they start off, their production methods are relatively similar. Both are extracted before being filtered and boiled.
After this, both cane and brown sugar will crystalize. To transform this into brown sugar, molasses will be added. To make this into dark brown sugar, more molasses will be included.
If light brown sugar is being made, only a small amount of molasses will be combined with the sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is White Sugar Healthier Than Brown Sugar?
Though there is a widespread belief that brown sugar is healthier for you than white sugar, this is, for the most part, a misconception. In fact, they are quite similar when it comes to their nutritional value.
More minerals can be found in brown sugar than in white, though neither sugar is particularly healthy.
Having a little bit of sugar in your diet is fine. However, you should be careful to not have too much sugar in your diet. This is because it can result in you putting on a lot of weight.
Obesity can lead to many different health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and dental issues.
Is Coconut Sugar Better For You Than Cane Sugar?
Despite its name, coconut sugar is not actually made from coconuts. Instead, it is produced from the sap found in the coconut tree. Some people have started using it as an alternative to other sugars.
This is because coconut sugar is higher in many nutrients than other varieties of sugar. These nutrients include calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc.
Like cane sugar, it is high in calories. Because of this, having too much coconut sugar in your diet can negatively impact your health. Though it is a good alternative to cane or brown sugar, it should still not be a large part of your diet.
Otherwise, you may suffer from the same health problems that you would from consuming cane or brown sugar.
Do Different Sugars Taste Different?
Though most sugars will have a sweet taste, they will all have slightly different flavors. Sometimes these differences will be quite subtle whereas other times they can be more pronounced.
As mentioned above, the difference between the tastes of cane and brown sugar is fairly evident when you know what you are looking for.
What Substitutes Can You Use Instead Of Brown Sugar?
Yes, there are quite a few products that you can use in place of brown sugar. The best substitute for you will depend on what situation you are using it and your own preference. Here are a few products you can use as substitutes:
- Muscovado sugar – muscovado is like brown sugar in that it contains molasses. Because of that, it is its ideal replacement. However, it has a higher concentration of molasses. You will have to think about this when using it since it will likely alter the taste. It may also impact the texture because muscovado has a wetter feel to it. If you are looking for a strong molasses flavor, you cannot go wrong with muscovado sugar.
- White sugar with molasses – because brown sugar is just white sugar added, you can make brown sugar yourself by pouring some molasses into your white sugar. This will be a great option if you have run out of brown sugar, yet have both molasses and white sugar in your cupboard. Simply add about 15 milliliters of molasses to each cup of white sugar. If you are using this as a replacement for dark brown sugar, you will need to use more molasses.
- Honey – due to its sweet flavor, honey will be another excellent substitute. It is a substance that is produced by bees. If you are looking for a substitute for brown sugar in baking, liquid replacements may not be the best option. If you do intend on using honey in baking, you will have to change the recipe to make up for the change in texture. Otherwise, your baked goods could end up being too moist.
- Maple syrup – like honey, you will have to account for the alteration in texture if using maple syrup in baking. Maple syrup is extracted from maple trees.
- Date sugar – produced from dried dates, this sugar is a good alternative to brown sugar. It is healthier than other types of sugar. Though it has good qualities, it is not as versatile as brown sugar. If you put some date sugar into your hot drink, it will not dissolve. In addition, it is also harder to acquire. Despite this, you should be able to find it online.
- Coconut sugar – as noted earlier, coconut sugar is constructed from the sap of the tree. It is perhaps one of the best substitutes for brown sugar because they are both sweet. It also has a similar appearance to light brown sugar, meaning it will not affect the appearance of your baking too much.