The Cornstarch Hack For Prettier Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar or confectioner's sugar) is used to frost, glaze, and dust cakes, cookies, donuts, cinnamon rolls, and other desserts to enhance their taste and appearance. However, a major problem with pure powdered sugar dusting is that it melts and dissolves on the tops of desserts within a few hours. Home bakers often make the mistake of adding more powdered sugar on top of their ruined desserts but it just makes them overly sweet. If this has ever happened to you, you must be wondering why this happens and how it can be remedied.

Tasting Table explains that powdered sugar dissolves when it absorbs moisture from the dessert and ambient humidity. Similarly, if the desert is, for example, a cake, either its warmth or that of the environment further melts the dusting and makes it clump on the surface of the cake, resulting in the loss of texture and appearance. You can try to prevent this by making sure that the cake is completely cool and dusting it just before serving it. However, if you don't have time, the best hack to make your dusted desserts look pretty and picture-perfect for a long time is simply to add cornstarch to the pure powdered sugar.

How cornstarch improve powdered sugar

Cornstarch is often used as a thickener and anti-clumping agent. Serious Eats points out that when cornstarch is added to pure powdered sugar, its low hygroscopicity prevents the absorption of moisture to ensure that the dusting remains light and fluffy. It also improves the texture of frostings, icings, and glazes by thickening them without the excessive addition of powdered sugar or altering their flavors, and makes them smooth and silky while enhancing their stability and shelf life.

To keep powdered sugar from melting when used to dust a dessert, The Kitchn recommends thoroughly mixing a teaspoon of cornstarch into 1/4 of every cup of powdered sugar used. Similarly, if you want a stunning frosting that won't split and drip when the weather is humid, use powdered sugar that has cornstarch in it, or add cornstarch directly to the frosting. LeafTV calls for pulsing two tablespoons of cornstarch in a grinder until it's extra fine and then incorporating half a teaspoon of it at a time into the frosting until it thickens. By doing so, your dusting, icings, frostings, and glazes will remain smooth and easy to work with and will turn out beautifully every time.