What is caster sugar?

by Kay Fenwrick Green
(Henderson KY USA)

From a US reader...what is caster sugar? Perhaps it's granulated sugar? Is icing sugar what we call powdered sugar? Thanks!


Caster sugar is a very fine sugar with small sugar crystals that hold more air than other types of sugar.

The name caster comes from the 'caster' or shaker that was used to sprinkle the sugar. It had holes that were too small for traditional sugar crystals.

Caster sugar dissolves quickly, so it's great for mixing with cold liquids, sprinkling over cereal and fresh fruit and making crisp, melting meringues.

When used in baking, caster sugar gives more volume to the mixture, resulting in extra-light cakes.

Caster sugar is sold as "superfine" sugar in the United States, but you can make it easily at home by grinding granulated sugar in a pestle and mortar.

Icing sugar is known as powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar in the US. It is sugar that has been crushed mechanically and had an anti-caking agent (like starch) added to keep it from clumping.

Icing sugar is used to make (soft) frosting and (firmer) icing for cakes. It's also great dusted over puddings and cakes.

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