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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Latest Queries

  • Brown/Muscovado vs White Granulated Sugar

    May I know what is the difference in using brown sugar and white sugar in baking? Is this going to affect the texture of the cake? Thank you!  

    Is there any difference between muscovado and white sugar? Rinda

    From the nigella team:

    White sugar is fully refined sugar whereas brown sugar will still contain some molasses (in modern production the molasses are usually added back to the refined sugar to ensure consistent quality). Light brown sugar has a molasses content of 3.5% and dark brown sugar has a molasses content of 6.5% so dark brown sugar has a stronger, more caramelly flavour than light brown sugar. As molasses are hygroscopic (attract water) the brown sugars tend to be softer and moister than refined sugar.

    Muscovado sugar (sometimes called Barbados sugar) is similar to dark and light brown sugar but is made from unrefined sugar so tends to be higher in traces of minerals and vitamins. In baking it can be switched with light brown and dark brown sugar. Demerara and turbinado sugar are also brown unrefined sugars but they tend to have larger crystals so should not be used instead of caster sugar or soft or light brown sugar in baking (the larger crystals don't dissolve easily).

    In certain recipes it is possible to switch soft dark and light brown sugar for regular sugar. It works best in moist cakes, like brownies, or strongly flavoured cakes, such as coffee cakes and chocolate cakes. However for vanilla-type cakes it is not a good alternative as the flavour of the brown sugar will tend to dominate the cake.

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