What Sugar tastes best in cakes?

This is a project to see which sugar tastes best in cakes.
Felicity Berg Sophie Choy
Grade 5


We think that the powdered sugar will be the best because if the sugar melts the cupcake will be nice and moist but if the sugar does not melt the cupcake will not have a nice fluffy texture.  We also think this because powdered sugar is powdery, and will melt faster and mix in to the batter easily, so we are not over mixing the batter.  Lastly we think that powdered sugar will have the best appearance because powdered sugar is really light and fluffy so it might make the cupcake have a nice fluffy texture. 



We are investigating what types of sugar tastes best in cupcakes. We are investigating based on Taste, Texture, and Appearance. This will allow people to have accurate data on which sugar is best in cakes. (This will be a blind taste)


Our experiment has a Manipulated Variable. The variable is all the different sugars used in the experiment. We used 6 different types of sugars , but used the same recipe. The different Sugars is what makes the experiment have a different outcome. 

Sugar 1=Granulated sugar

Sugar 2=Brown sugar

Sugar 3=Powdered sugar

 Sugar 4=Sanding sugar

Sugar 5=Stevia

Sugar 6=No sugar 



1. Preheat the oven to 350’F 

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3.Beat together the butter and sugar until thoroughly creamed together, add in eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla and sour cream.(do not over mix the the batter).

4. Start adding in the dry ingredients slowly, beating between additions.

5. Use a ice cream scoop or a small spoon to fill a cupcake lined tin, these liners will need to be filled a little over half way. 

6. Bake for 18-22 minutes.  Watch them start turning a light golden brown, use a toothpick to check for doneness. 

We both washed our baking equipments before starting a new batch of cupcakes  



Granulated sugar ( Cake#1):  The granulated sugar started out very thin and liquidy. The batter got super liquidy after adding sour cream.  After adding the second dose of flour mixture batter started to thicken. Before putting in the oven the batter had a great consistency. The batter  had a nice vanilla flavour and the sweetness level was good. After putting in the vanilla extract, the batter had a distinctive vanilla smell. After bringing them out of oven the cupcakes had risen and it looked light and fluffy. It only took 18 minutes to bake. 

Brown Sugar (Cake #2):
After the first few ingredients were mixed, the batter had butter clumps in it. After adding the eggs, the batter looked more creamy and the butter clumps went away. The batter got very thick after the last dump of flour mixture.The batter got super liquidy after adding sour cream.  Looks like peanut butter but a little bit more liquidy. It does not smell as much of the vanilla extract flavour. It does smell a lot like Sugar & Spice cookies.  Batter was sticky and thick. After bringing them out of the oven, the cupcakes looked light,fluffy, and moist. Smelled a lot like cinnamon and nutmeg. It did not rise as high as other cupcakes. Only took 18 minutes to bake*

Powdered Sugar (Cake #3)
After adding the few first ingredients, the batter looked light and fluffy. After adding the eggs, the batter turned liquidy and it started to bubble. When the vanilla extract was added the mixture dissolved the bubbles. When the sour cream was added, the batter started to thicken then became very liquidy. The batter thickens after adding second round of flour mixture. I can see lots of powdered sugar clumps through the whole making of the batch. The batter was not to sticky and has a good consistency.  Only took 18 minutes to bake.

Sanding sugar (Cake #4): When mixing the batter with the sanding sugar, it maked this very scratchy noise because the sanding sugar was scratching against the side of the mixing bowl. After adding the sour cream the sugar mixer got very liquidy. After I put in the dry ingredients it looked like regular cake batter but with little grains of sanding sugar.   The batter didn’t have much flavour and it had a weird grainy texture. After 18 minutes the cupcakes were nice and fluffy, the sanding sugar made little indents of sugar. The sanding sugar got a little bit big but it did not overflow the tin. Only took 18 minutes to bake.

Stevia (Cake #5): With the Stevia sugar I found that when the butter, eggs and stevia sugar where mixing together they were getting really clumpy and did not look like batter. After I added in the dry ingredients the Stevia sugar batch got very thick and sticky.The Stevia sugar batch was smoother than the Sanding sugar batch but thicker and stickier than the Sanding sugar batch. The batter kept sticking to the spatula. We checked at 10 minutes and the batter hadn't moved at all.  The batter was so thick that when it baked the shape stayed the same.  Only took 18 minutes to bake. When the cupcakes were finished baking, they were very small. The unbaked batter had a strange after taste.  Only took 18 minutes to bake.

No Sugar (Cake #6): We made a batter with no sugar to test if sugar was needed to make cupcakes.  The butter and the eggs didn’t mix together smoothly because there was no sugar. The batter was very smooth after the flour was added.   The unbaked batter tasted bland and gross. The batter was sticky.  When they finished baking they looked dry and crackly.  They did not look like cupcakes.



Based on the graph, cupcake 4 (which was made with sanding sugar) had the best taste in vanilla cupcakes. Our hypothesis was wrong/incorrect.  We thought that the powdered sugar would be really sweet but instead it had a really bland flavour.  

As a result of the texture graph,  it turns out that cupcake 1 (which was made with granulated sugar) and cupcake 4 (which was made with sanding sugar) have a tie between what sugar has the best texture in cupcakes. Again our hypothesis was wrong as it turns out that powdered sugar has a very soft texture.  It wasn't liked as much as cupcake 1 and 4.

Looking at the chart, cake #4 (which was made with sanding sugar) had the best appearance, and overall had the best taste, texture, and appearance.  It seems that our hypothesis was wrong as powdered sugar had an OK appearance.



Overall the sanding sugar was best for all three tests,(taste, texture, and appearance). We think that it may have been the best because the sanding sugar had bigger grains of sugar than the rest of the sugars so when we put the sanding sugar cupcakes in the bits of sanding sugar melted and it left bigger air holes  which may have let the cupcake be more fluffy in texture. It may have also been the best cupcake as well because the sanding sugar is clear so it may have been better quality sugar, so it marked the cupcake have a nice sweet taste.  



People can be interested in our experiment so they can have a accurate data on which sugar tastes best in cakes. If we could do this experiment again we would add in smell to the chart.  


Sources Of Error

If we could do this experiment again we would add in smell to the chart.  



  • Sophie
  • Felicity
  • Sophie’s sister (Kaitlyn)
  • Sophie’s mom (Angela) 
  • Sophie’s dad (Nick)
  • Sophie’s cousins (O.D. A.D)
  • Sophie’s uncle (A.D)
  • Sophie’s moms friends family (D.A. J.A. J.A. T.A)
  • Felicity’s brother (Malcom)
  • Felicity’s mom (Erin)
  • Felicity’s dad (Ian)
  • Felicity’s grandma ( Jane Haney)
  • Felicity’s grandpa ( Robert Haney)


Maillard Reaction:
The Maillard Reaction is a chemical reaction between a chemical called amino acid. For the maillard reaction to start you need amino acid and reducing sugar ( which is any type of sugar that is a free aldehyde or a free ketone group). This then creates the effect of food to look browned (or the look of crispness) , seared streaks, fried dumplings, cookies , and any other kind of pastry or bread. All of these things have the maillard reaction.