Oh Sugar!

Sugar.jpgSeveral years ago, when I was writing The Sugar BIble for Food Arts Magazine, I obtained many different varieties of sugar. One of them, beet sugar, I intended to try out in sugar syrups and cakes as I had heard claims that it did not perform as well as cane sugar. I had heard that beet sugar would cause syrups to crystallize but on experimentation did not experience this. I never got around to trying it in a cake. Recently, however, I came across a beautiful sparkling sugar: Zulka Morena sugar. Morena is a description of granulated sugar that has not been processed with conventional sugar refining methods such as filtering through bone char. It is an all vegan, organic sugar and non-GMO. As it contains a small amount of its residual molasses it has an attractive light tan color and lovely flavor. It's moisture content from the molasses is 0.6% compared to ordinary refined granulated sugar which is 0.4%. Although I loved the flavor of the Morena sugar when tasting it plain, I was curious if it would change the taste or texture of a cake. So I ran a test of three sugars: fine granulated sugar, Morena, and beet. The cake with the Morena sugar took 3 more minutes to bake than the other two. The texture of the Morena and fine granulated sugar was the same but the beet sugar cake had a coarser crumb and a slight crunch. The flavor of the fine granulated and beet sugar cakes was identical but the Morena sugar cake was my preference although the difference was so subtle I'm not sure anyone would notice if they weren't looking for it. The Zulka Morena sugar is so attractive I will use it when sprinkling on top of pie crust, pastry, and cookies. Zulka Mexican Cane Sugar 4 Lb