Add Powdered Sugar To Caramel Sauce For A Thicker Cake Glaze

Rich and buttery in flavor, caramel sauce is a delectable addition to fluffy cakes, ice cream sundaes, brownies, and more. In terms of texture, however, this toasty sauce can be on the thinner side, leading whatever it's topping off to look slightly translucent. Heavier desserts like cake fare better with a thick, icing-like glaze that can properly cover its surface without looking bare. A slurry of starch and water is typically used to thicken caramel, but powdered sugar, also known as icing sugar, is used to make — you guessed it — icing, works better for this task.

A dash of powdered sugar will thicken up the caramel, making it easier to spread or drizzle on for a fuller-looking topping on your desserts. The fine sugar is essential to make the perfect caramel sauce for whichever treat you have. When making her whiskey caramel-glazed coffee cake, recipe developer Jessica Morone sprinkles in the powdered sugar once she's taken the caramel off the stove. Powdered sugar crystallizes at higher temperatures, so it's best to wait for the caramel to cool down before stirring in the sugar.

How to add powdered sugar to caramel sauce

In her recipe, Morone uses powdered sugar to make a boozy glaze for coffee cake, but the hack doesn't have to be limited to coffee cake alone. Powdered sugar can thicken a glaze for all kinds of desserts. It works as a drizzle for olive oil polenta cakes, brownies, cupcakes, or glazed eggnog scones. Just be mindful of how much powdered sugar you add to the caramel if you don't want it to turn too thick. While Jessica opted for one cup of powdered sugar to match the one cup of granulated sugar, you can go with a little less if you don't want it to be as dense.

Doubling the sugar can turn your caramel into something overly saccharine, so you can always reduce the amount of sugar you add on either end. Either use butter or heavy cream to thicken the caramel instead of using as much granulated sugar, or make a slurry at the end to bolster the powdered sugar.

Although powdered sugar can be a key ingredient to thicken caramel sauce, it's not fit for making the sauce itself. Powdered sugar is composed of granulated sugar that has been blended into a fine powder and cornstarch. If you try to heat it in a pan, the cornstarch will burn rather than caramelizing. The fine powder is best used for turning caramel into a thickened, icing-like sauce.