How to Make Homemade Icing Sugar

by Maggie on March 5, 2010

Okay, if you’ve been reading my tweets or my posts lately you’ll know that I’ve found a new blog that I am in love with!

It’s called The Cinnamon Quill and it’s written by Jenn.

Last weekend I made Jenn’s Gluten-Free Oreo Cookies – can you believe it?  I veganized them but it was really easy since they were practically vegan already.  They were so delish!  Callum has been asking for them all week, sadly they didn’t last much longer than a day or two.  He adored them and it made me so happy to bake something “normal” but healthy-ish that he could enjoy.  Now if I could just get my hands on the stamp Oreo uses.

The icing recipe that Jenn used for the cookies was perfect.  It is probably the best icing I’ve ever tasted, and being an icing girl (spent a childhood and most of my adulthood licking it off cupcakes) that means a lot.  I know icing!

So this week I made Pete some chocolate cake so we could celebrate the release of his first book on Amazon (check it out here).  I wanted to make a yummy but healthy-ish icing so I pulled out Jenn’s recipe and decided to try grinding my own cane sugar.

It worked!

How to Make Homemade Icing Sugar

  • Use an old coffee grinder (the one I use to grind flax seeds).  I have tried to do it with an immersion blender and it didn’t work.  I also make it with my awesome Blendtec.
  • Measure the required amount of unbleached cane sugar (that the recipe calls for), plus an extra half cup and grind it in the coffee grinder or Blendtec until it is as close to powdered sugar as possible.  It took 1-2 minutes to get it to a nice powder (in the coffee grinder, less in the Blendtec).
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch or tapioca starch/flour.

And that is it!  Homemade icing sugar made with cane sugar. You can follow the same method using coconut sugar, however it won’t be white so coconut sugar is best used for chocolate icing recipes.

The result?

Homemade icing sugar is just as yummy and it has a nice light caramel color.  It won’t be bleached white, like we’re used to, but do we really want bleached sugar? The texture was a little bit different but for me that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make!

I can’t imagine ever buying icing sugar again.  And people always ask me for my recipe!

Here’s the recipe for Vanilla Frosting, reprinted with Jenn’s approval.

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Butter at room temperature (her recipe called for real butter, I also use room temperature coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) vanilla
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of powdered sugar (make sure you measure before and after grinding)
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water or dairy-free milk

1. Using a whisk attachment, blend butter or oil and vanilla until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add ground cane sugar and combine.
3. You will need to add the water or milk but do it 1-2 tablespoons at a time so you don’t add too much.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

And of course, here’s a link to the Oreo Cookie recipe and the original icing recipe.  I’ll post the TWF Chocolate Cake recipe soon!

Cane Sugar Icing For TWF Chocolate Cake


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gluten Free Betsy March 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Isn’t Cinnamon Quill the best?! Your cake looks delicious!!


Maggie March 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Thanks! Yes, I adore Cinnamon Quill. The design, the recipes, everything about it!


Heidi Kelly March 6, 2010 at 12:44 am

Your cake looks awesome Maggie!

Question, I noticed you mentioned you made “powdered” cane sugar… do you avoid beet sugar or the corn starch in most powdered sugars? I am fascinated by this stuff and have tried a few times to make “powdered” sugar, but it is slightly gritty (not bad, just different). I have been wondering if a grain mill with a superfine setting would work? I don’t know much about grain mills (other than the fact I want one to grind my own GF flours)!

I tried making my own natural food coloring yesterday, and I am SO way off! I pretty much had spinach (green), beet (red) and pumpkin (yellow) favored icings. I had a friend sample it at my cake decorating class last night (without warning her) and she about fell off her chair. I wasn’t totally surprised but surprised enough (it didn’t taste too bad when I had made it several hours earlier) that I sampled it again… apparently the veggie flavor “grows” over time! OYE!

BTW, I have been on a mad hunt for an Oreo stamp since last summer! Please let me know if you find one before I do! 🙂


Maggie March 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Hey Heidi – I just don’t like using your standard powdered sugar because it’s so refined. I’d rather use cane since it’s a little less refined. It was still slightly gritty but yummy and I didn’t mind it since I knew it was much healthier for the babes and I. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a grain mill too (a vitamix?) and I bet it would totally work wonders on cane sugar. Good for you for trying to make your own food colouring. My friend uses pomegranate juice to make hers. What about blueberry too? Every time Livvie has blueberries her fingers stay blue all day 🙂 Pumpkin flavoured would be okay with the right cake recipe! What sweetener did you add? Don’t you love Jen’s series right now! I’m thinking of organizing a gluten-free blogging event for the fall in NYC. Are you in 🙂


Jenn/CinnamonQuill March 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

I’m sorry I’m just now leaving a comment, but spent the weekend ill 😛 Anyway, love that you used this on a cake! Did it taste like a big Oreo cake? I am curious about how Earth Balance would taste in it. I remember once making ‘diabetic’ powdered sugar from granulated fructose…now I’ve got to try your technique! Very cool and innovative! And, thank you for the kind words 🙂 🙂 Makes me all happy!


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