I have an american cake recipe which includes 'granulated sugar', would this be uk caster sugar? It is for the stage when you beat in with the butter?


10 Answers 10


I'm not familiar with the naming conventions for sugar in the UK so I apologize if I become patronizing.

Granulated sugar is the every-day table sugar here. It's what I grab a spoonful for my cereal and such, and it is the kind used in almost all of the baking I've done. Is caster sugar what you usually have around?

Caster sugar is called "super-fine" sugar in the States. It is finer that granulated sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar (icing sugar for the UK right?).

Honestly, I can't say that I've ever bought any as I usually only see granulated and powdered, but Wikipedia tells me that "Castor sugar can be prepared at home by grinding granulated sugar for a couple of minutes in a food processor."

That being said, if you're just beating it into butter than I would think the caster sugar should be perfectly reasonable for the job. Though I agree with bikeboy that you should go by weight if you use a substitue.

Running around This Site, I found that there are aprrox 7oz(200g) per cup granulated sugar, and 6.5oz(190g) per cup caster sugar. So you would actually need more sugar if using caster sugar, as it is less dense. Obviously not a lot though (200/190=1.053).

  • At the professional level at least, powdered sugar and icing & glaze sugar are slightly different. Icing sugar has more corn starch added so that icings will set up thicker.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 10:55
  • It could be my imagination, but the granulated sugar in my (UK) kitchen seems finer than it was 30 or 40 years ago, possibly almost the same as caster sugar used to be. The caster sugar on the shelf is even finer, but still granules and not a powder.
    – Julian
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 19:11

Caster sugar is also known as superfine sugar. Superfine sugar is ground finer and resembles sand in an hourglass. It is particularly good for applications where it needs to dissolve quickly and thoroughly (e.g. meringues).

Superfine sugar has come to my area in the past six months and while it is better, I also got excellent results with regular granulated sugar even when the recipe called for superfine. You can make superfine sugar by putting it in a food processor but I found it was not worth the hassle.


yes usually you would use castor sugar when beating in with the butter as it is finer than uk 'granulated sugar'

  • 4
    I assume you meant US when you used UK above, as caster sugar is definitely finer than US granulated sugar. I agree that it would be fine to use, though I think I'd want to measure by weight rather than volume as caster sugar, being finer, would probably give more sugar for a given measured volume than coarser granulated sugar.
    – bikeboy389
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 14:41

Surprised you mention it's an American recipe. Granulated sugar in Britain is coarse white sugar used for tea/coffee etc - usually loads sold in white packs with blue colouring. Caster sugar is basically the same stuff just ground finer, usually sold in white packs with orange colouring it's what you would use for baking (warning if you use this for hot drinks it's much sweeter - because it's finer). Icing sugar - usually sold in white packs with pink colouring - is used for making butter cream and icing for cakes/buns/cupcakes and again is the same stuff just ground up even finer into a powder.Apologies if this does sound patronizing but it's one of those things if you don't bake you won't know. Happy baking.


No, it's not the same thing. Granulated sugar is normal table sugar and caster sugar has a coarseness between granulated sugar and powdered sugar. You can get it in the baking aisle and it's called baking sugar. This type of sugar definitely gives a better texture in recipes that require it. I've tried making fudge with normal sugar since I could not find the castor sugar here in the USA, and it was a total disaster as the texture of the fudge was very coarse. I'm glad I found the baking sugar now.

  • 1
    It sounds like C&H Baking Sugar is what is generically known in the US as superfine sugar.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 13:55

Caster Sugar has the same consistency as our Baker's Sugar (or superfine sugar) but the main AND THE MOST IMPORTANT difference between the two is what constitutes the sugar. In America we generally use the sugar beet to make our sugars. But Caster Sugar - in order to be classified Caster Sugar - is made from Sugar Cane (Cane Sugar.) [Baker's Sugar is made from Cane Sugar as well so it is the same product as caster sugar in the U.K.] Cane Sugar has a much more multifaceted and deeper flavor than sugar beet sugar or corn syrup. If you can find Cane Sugar - if the package specifies that it is cane sugar - the specification is often hard to find in the USA - then you should always buy cane sugar instead of sugar beet sugar. (Do a side by side taste test of Lyle's Golden Syrup versus Karo Corn Syrup one day and you will see quite clearly why the added flavor provided by the minerals that constitute sugar cane make it the far better choice for baking/cooking.)

  • 5
    By the time the sugar is made into white sugar, none of those minerals are left. Obviously there would be a huge difference between something like turbinado sugar and beet sugar, but both white cane sugar and white beet sugar are basically pure sucrose. Syrup processing is also a different process than that of making granulated sugar, so the syrup comparison isn't really relevant.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 16:20

In NZ (which tends to use british terms), granulated = white table/everday sugar. Caster sugar is finer / more powdered down. We (personally) use 'raw sugar' for most day to day things - it's exactly like our white 'table sugar', but is browner as it hasn't been bleached as much. So just use your bog standard 'normal' sugar :)


Caster Sugar is Baker's Sugar in the USA

  • Any link or proof supporting that assert would really help.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 5:07
  • 3
    Baker's sugar is not a category or generic name in the US; it is C&H's trade name for their superfine sugar. C&H is not well distributed nationally (mostly on the west coast), so it is not even a wide spread term here.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 12:57

Australian here. I believe "granulated sugar" is what we call raw sugar. We often use the British terms for stuff, so that may be it.

It's crunchier than brown sugar (and not as brown, but not white either) and, well, granulated (it's made up of granules). It's not as "fine" as white sugar (which is not as fine as icing sugar, which I think Americans call powdered sugar, as it is powdered).

  • 1
    Nope: US "granulated sugar" is completely white, and while you can tell that it's made up of crystals, you can't tell what shape those crystals are. I'd say US "brown sugar" and "granulated sugar" are equally crunchy - the former simply has some molasses added.
    – Marti
    Commented Jan 5, 2011 at 14:30
  • I think 'raw sugar' is sugar that's from sugarcane. Can anyone confirm this?
    – Mien
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 21:52

1.) Caster Sugar is closer to (US) Powdered Sugar than (US) Table sugar. (AU) Raw Sugar is more coarsely ground than (US) Table Sugar; Close relative to Turbinado in color and granule size. Powdered Sugar is what you will find on the outside of Donuts, funnel cakes, zeppoli's, beignets and pfeffernusse cookies. (I don't think that's what you're looking for.)

2.) What is packaged here in the US as RAW SUGAR is actually bleached completely white and then tinted towards brown by adding back some molasses. I'm not sure if it's the same process overseas.

  • I think you need to provide a reference for number 2 to have any credibility.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:59
  • 2
    I've got to second SAJ on that one. What you're describing is how brown sugar is made, but not products labeled as "raw" sugar.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 10:24
  • 2
    What is labeled raw sugar in the US is usually turbinado sugar, which is just cane juice that has been dried and then (as the name suggests) spun to remove impurities.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 13:09

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