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The Use of Sugar in Baking

author image Sharon Therien
Sharon Therien has been writing professionally since 2007. She specializes in health writing and copywriting for websites, blogs and businesses. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Reiki Master with a Certificate in Fitness and Nutrition. Therien has a Master of Arts in sociology from Florida Atlantic University.
The Use of Sugar in Baking
Use less sugar in baked goods with fruit, as the fruit has natural sugar. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sugar is a staple of baked goods, used in varying quantities in almost every variety. Breads and pancakes use a small amount of sugar, with around a few tablespoons, while dessert breads, cakes, pies and other desserts use large quantities of sugar, usually with more than a cup. Sugar has many purposes in baking, although it is possible to substitute it with artificial sweeteners.

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Sugar has many purposes in addition to adding sweetness to your baking recipes. explains that many recipes specify beating the sugar and a fat like butter, egg or oil to add air and fluffiness to the batter. This process helps increase the size of certain baked goods, such as cakes, when baked. The longer you beat the two together, the fluffier the baked good will become. Sugar also holds water, which results in the baked good lasting longer. When baked, sugar often turns brown, changing the color of the recipe.


Different types of sugar will change the taste and other factors of your recipe. If you use white or brown sugar, the color will be different, and a recipe with brown sugar will have more moisture. Using varying sugar crystal sizes changes the fluffiness of the batter, as a cake with a large granule will be larger than one with a small granule such as confectioner’s sugar.


Many recipes tell you to use more sugar than is necessary, notes the American Dietetic Association. You can reduce that amount by one-fourth and still have a tasty baked good. To add sweetness, use spices and flavoring such as cinnamon, vanilla or anise, or try fruit or fruit juice.


If you need to cut down on sugar, it is possible to use sugar substitutes in baking recipes. A July 2009 article in “Diabetes Forecast,” a publication of the American Diabetes Association, notes that you can use 24 packets of saccharin, 2 tablespoons of liquid saccharin or 1 cup of brown sugar saccharin in place of 1 cup of regular or brown sugar. Use the same amount of granular sucralose for the amount of sugar in a recipe. For other varieties of sugar substitutes, refer to the package directions.

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