Cane Syrup: A Molasses Substitute?

Hi dear friends,

I’m sure that you’ve heard about molasses, but have you ever stumbled across the word “cane syrup”? I guess some might be thinking, “What? Isn’t molasses syrup made from sugarcane? Why have cane syrup when we have molasses?”. I’m here, armed with the scientific information I read and collected, along with my personal experience, to explain to you just that. Let’s get started!

What is Cane Syrup?

Cane syrup is another syrup made from sugar cane just like molasses. During the refining process, the number of times you boil sugar cane or sugar beet juice makes a big difference in not only the molasses’ sweetness but also in its texture and color. Hence, varieties of molasses were born.

Light molasses, for example, is created after just one boiling and has more sugar than its syrupy cousins, dark molasses (two boilings), and blackstrap molasses (three boilings).

Cane syrup, sometimes called “Golden Syrup”, is often used in Caribbean and British cooking. Cane syrup can be useful in baking. It adds depth to cakes and cookies, adding a deeper flavor than molasses will to cake and cookie recipes, adding a caramel/buttery quality that is not syrupy.

While undeniably sweet, cane syrup has a toasty, slightly bitter twang.

It’s similar in flavor to corn syrup but is thinner unlike corn syrup, which can be one aggressively saccharine note of flavor.

It can replace molasses, which can overwhelm certain dishes.

Cane syrup’s buttery flavor is complex without being overpowering. 

Cane syrup, Golden syrup or Light treacle?

As I explained above, cane syrup is called “golden syrup” (you’ll find this often in Britain). However, this is not the only substitute name for cane sugar. In fact, cane sugar is also called “light treacle” but is relatively rarer in use than the other two. So the answer is, all three are the same.

Treacle is the British generic name for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane. Theoretically, Treacle, Black Treacle, Molasses, Golden Syrup, and Blackstrap are all treacles. Still, there is a technical difference between “treacle” and “molasses”, molasses is obtained from the drainings of raw sugar during the refining process, and treacle is made from the syrup obtained from sugarcane.

Making the cane syrup. Source: Savannah Morning News.

Cane syrup is made from the syrup obtained during the first boiling of the sugar cane / beets. About 65% sucrose, it is the lightest in color and the sweetest of all the treacles and is usually unsulphured. However, do not mistake cane syrup (or light treacle) with dark treacle, which has a different flavor and consistency. Same as light treacle can be substituted for light molasses, dark treacle can be used as a substitute in most recipes calling for dark molasses.

Cane Syrup in Baking

Cane Syrup has a clear golden color and a sweet, rich, distinctive buttery flavor. It can be used just as it is, drizzle it in place of maple syrup on pancakes or waffles, spread on bread, or poured over ice cream or your sundae or it can be used as a sweetener in baking.

Homemade cane syrup is usually darker in color than the store-bought ones but it’s still lighter than molasses.

In Britain, cane syrup has always been widely used in baked goods and desserts, in particular the famous treacle tart, flapjacks, and treacle pudding. It can also be used in many savory recipes calling for sweetness, in particular sauces and glazes.

It can be used as a substitute for corn syrup in most recipes. For people who aren’t fond of the strong taste of molasses, cane syrup can help too. Not only that, it is also a good substitute for honey, so it’s a useful go-to item for any pantry.

I hope you liked my clarification around this topic. Feel free to drop a comment or a question in the comments box down below. 

I wish you a happy healthy week!

Your Leonor

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