The Secret Finishing Touch For Bakery-Ready Cakes At Home

Learning how to bake is a fun and endlessly rewarding skill, allowing you to create bakery-worthy sweet treats with a little bit of time, effort, flour, and sugar. Whether you're whipping up a batch of cupcakes or cookies, or constructing a multi-leveled cake, there's a lot of room for creative expression.

There are plenty of ways to take simple baked goods, like cookies or cupcakes, and turn them into gourmet-looking delicacies — from learning to pipe icing into delicate florals, molding fondant to create lifelike recreations, and more. There are even steps to take before your sweets enter the oven to ensure a beautiful presentation, like chilling your dough or batter and ensuring each ingredient is added at the correct temperature. But what about less glamorous baked goods, like loaf or tea cakes? 

Loaf cakes are much simpler in design and construction than multi-tiered cakes, but certainly not less delicious. However, that doesn't mean you have to settle for a basic final product. When you buy lemon loaves or pound cakes at a bakery, they have a finishing touch that gives them a professional, polished look — one that you can easily recreate at home.

Turbinado sugar

The secret to professional-looking loaf cakes is turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is the result of once-refined sugarcane. The cane is pressed, boiled once, and then spun in a turbine to dry out. The result is a brown, thick, flaky crystal of sugar, as opposed to the ultra-fine granules of refined sugar.

What differentiates turbinado sugar from other varieties is its subtle caramel flavor, plus it has a much more visible appearance on the surface of your baked goods. Add some crunchy, thick turbinado sugar crystals on top of your loaf cakes, and they'll stand out and glimmer on the surface while adding a nice crunch to the otherwise soft sweet treat. 

Turbinado sugar isn't exclusive to sprucing up loaf cakes, though. This Southern blueberry cobbler uses turbinado sugar to top the raw batter before baking, which adds extra sweetness and a crunchy texture. Or, you can pair it with thick flaked salt to top cookies.