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Thread: Raw sugar vs granulated sugar

  1. #1
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    Raw sugar vs granulated sugar

    Baking experts: Can I subsitute raw sugar for regular granulated sugar in an apple bundt cake recipe? I used it in an apple pie with no problems, but I am worried that it might cause problems in cake batter. I don't know, though, since bundt cakes are on the heavy side anyway. What do you think? The recipe is below. Thanks for any advice!

    Apple Bundt Cake

    4 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2pounds), peeled, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
    5 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    4 large eggs
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 cups all purpose flour
    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Powdered sugar


    Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Mix apple pieces, 5 tablespoons sugar and ground cinnamon in medium bowl. Combine 2 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice, orange peel and vanilla extract in large bowl; whisk to blend. Stir flour, baking powder and salt into egg mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups batter into prepared Bundt pan. Top with half of apple mixture. Cover with 1 1/2 cups batter. Top with remaining apples, then batter.
    Bake cake until top is brown and tester inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto rack. Cool at least 45 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

    Makes 8 to 10 servings.
    Bon Appétit
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
    --Julia Child

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't as baking recipes are pretty specific in terms of the chemical intereactions of the specified ingredients.

    Is there some reason why you want to substitute? Raw sugar (from what I've read) isn't healthier than granulated sugar - it's just processed somewhat differently.

    There are organic sugars which have been coming on the market but the raw sugar sold in most supermarkets isn't organic.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by blazedog
    I wouldn't as baking recipes are pretty specific in terms of the chemical intereactions of the specified ingredients.

    Is there some reason why you want to substitute? Raw sugar (from what I've read) isn't healthier than granulated sugar - it's just processed somewhat differently.

    There are organic sugars which have been coming on the market but the raw sugar sold in most supermarkets isn't organic.
    There's a lesson - never assume! I assumed raw sugar was a minimally processed, organic product. Just read the package, and no where does it say any of that. Good info blazedog.
    "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  4. #4
    Do you know Shirley Corriher (sp?)? She's very scientific in her cooking. Anyway, she says that sugar and butter should be beat, and beat, and beat some more when cake baking. She says that the more you break down the sugar the more tender the cake will be. So, based on that, I wouldn't think raw sugar would work as well. I don't know that you could get it broken down enough.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capucine
    Do you know Shirley Corriher (sp?)? She's very scientific in her cooking. Anyway, she says that sugar and butter should be beat, and beat, and beat some more when cake baking. She says that the more you break down the sugar the more tender the cake will be. So, based on that, I wouldn't think raw sugar would work as well. I don't know that you could get it broken down enough.
    I LOVE her book and love her appearances on Alton. I also have the book by Harold (drawing a blank this morning and too lazy to walk to the book case
    ). I will read it in fits and starts the way I used to read Joy of Cooking which also had really interesting stuff on ingredients and techniques.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capucine
    Do you know Shirley Corriher (sp?)? She's very scientific in her cooking. Anyway, she says that sugar and butter should be beat, and beat, and beat some more when cake baking. She says that the more you break down the sugar the more tender the cake will be. So, based on that, I wouldn't think raw sugar would work as well. I don't know that you could get it broken down enough.
    PS I didn't know that specifically but I have found in the past few years since taking technique more seriously, my results have improved. I used to not cream as long as specified for example. Having a KA helps of course because when the instructions say to cream for 5 minutes, I turn it on and walk away.

    Not that it is on topic but I made Alton's Cocoa Brownies last week which called beating the stuff with the whisk attachment of the KA for a long period of time -- I had never seen that technique before because brownies are generally just mixed minimally. Boy were those babies good.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses...the only reason I wanted to use the raw sugar was because I was out of granulated and had some raw sugar I wanted to use up. But your responses reinforced what I was thinking, so I went out and bought some more granulated. Thanks!
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
    --Julia Child

  8. #8
    I know this is after the fact, but I just wanted to put in another point of view. Honeygirl, I think you would have been fine...

    I've been baking with turbinado sugar (a raw sugar) for years with no problems. Baked products made with raw sugar are a bit less sweet, but are otherwise awfully difficult to differentiate from a product made with regular white sugar.

    YES - you do have to beat it a bit more vigorously... though that is also dependent on brand. Some raw sugars are finer than others.

    Also - the extent to which a sugar has been refined is not consistent. Raw sugar is technically the product of refining, and so there is a chance it is superior in nutrition to refined white sugar. However, I'm the first to admit that most food items in the U.S. have been purified so much that it's doubtful that much "nutrition" remains by the time the product is packaged.
    It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it. --Julia Child
    BURP! Where Food Happens

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capucine
    Do you know Shirley Corriher (sp?)? She's very scientific in her cooking. Anyway, she says that sugar and butter should be beat, and beat, and beat some more when cake baking. She says that the more you break down the sugar the more tender the cake will be. So, based on that, I wouldn't think raw sugar would work as well. I don't know that you could get it broken down enough.
    I have seen her on Alton Brown's show, and another one that I'm forgetting right now. That lady is fascinating, and entertaining. Why does she not have her own show?

    I wonder if the same applies for cookie baking regarding beating the sugar and butte so thoroughly?
    "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerPow
    I have seen her on Alton Brown's show, and another one that I'm forgetting right now. That lady is fascinating, and entertaining. Why does she not have her own show?

    I wonder if the same applies for cookie baking regarding beating the sugar and butte so thoroughly?
    I don't know but I have the weekend to find out - I will check her book.

    What I do remember from an appearance on Alton and her book is that the rise in baked goods occurs because of the bubbles in the fat that are created during the creaming process. I think this was in reference to her finding out why she wasn't getting the kind of results she wanted in cakes -- and then she started creaming for a LONG time.

    Most cookies don't depend on the rise and their texture is different than cakes -- not a tender crumb in most cases. I am just thinking out loud here though as most cookie recipes I've made recently don't call for creaming for as long a period of time nor do I remember reading that creaming is as critical.

    But I have the long weekend to research it.

  11. #11
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    What about grinding the raw sugar in a food processor to make it into smaller particles. That way you have more of the texture of a granulated sugar...

    Just a thought....

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