Raw sugar is a trendy sweetener found in many specialty food stores. Examples include Demerara and turbinado sugar. They have a light molasses flavor and a larger crystal size. Can they be used in place of traditional granulated sugar in baked goods?
For wetter batters, such as cake batter, the moisture in the recipe can help dissolve the raw sugar to produce a good cake texture. For a dryer batter or dough, such as muffins, cookies and shortbread, the finished texture is poor. The low amount of moisture will not completely dissolve the large sugar crystals.
To use raw sugar in baked goods, grind the sugar until fine and powdery before adding to batters. This will help the sugar dissolve and improve results.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated, September 2017