Another week has passed and sugar Smart Challenge WEEK 5 has been my favorite so far. Not only did we get another delicious food hamper delivered we also had the best challenge yet. Baking! That’s right, we got to bake. I’ve got to say though, that finding low-sugar or sugar free recipes for cakes is no cake walk…get it! Either the sugar was replaced by some substitute I couldn’t pronounce (Yes, I’m talking about Xylitol) or the recipe as completely lacking in sweetness and I didn’t dare to try it.
Let’s talk about the hamper we got from Kallikids. I was so happy to discover that it was filled with snack foods this time around. In addition to popcorn, muesli bars and raw brownie balls, to name a few,it also had two packs of spaghetti. Soy bean spaghetti and black bean spaghetti, and three delicious looking bottles of sparkling water.
I have a feeling that I’m going to have to incorporate the chocolate from the hamper into this weeks task. I’ve already had one successful attempt with a sugar free bake – beetroot brownies. I was pleasantly surprised that my fear of weird texture and overwhelming bitterness didn’t come true and it was a pleasant mouth full that I also managed to give to my son’s nursery teachers.
I found the recipe on Pinterest and it was no easy feat on my part. Turns out sugar free baking is not really a thing or at least those recipes aren’t meant for pinnable content. Most sugar free recipes included ingredients I hadn’t even heard about before. In my mind Xylitol was the name of the gum that was hard to get during the end of Soviet Union era in Estonia. Turns out it’s a very expensive commodity and I just couldn’t justify ordering something that expensive just for baking.
Back to the brownies.Though the name implies that these are beetroot brownies they actually have very little beetroot in them, only about 100 grams which is approximately two small beetroots. It also has dates and honey in the recipe to lend them some sweetness, and them being flourless means that they’re also gluten free. So basically healthy all around. There’s only one change I would make and that’s to substitute the coconut oil for real butter, not only because real butter lends some moistness but also because my husband hates coconut and I don’t want to be a cake-hog.
My go-to reduced sugar recipe is actually my moist banana muffins. Over the years I’ve been reducing the sugar in this recipe and since bananas are naturally very sweet itself I’m convinced that I could simply forego the sugar altogether and I wouldn’t even miss it. I think that the idea of this exercise or challenge was to push us home bakers out of our comfort zone and get us into recipe-tweaking. Practise makes perfect and I have a feeling that I will be reducing sugar content and changing up some of my most used recipes in the near future.
This week we also received our second hamper of goodies. This time around I decided to incorporate some of the products in this week’s challenge. I dived back into Pinterest and found a recipe for a light lemon cake. I had to tweak the recipe a bit since I didn’t have any polenta at home. I substituted it with manna which is very similar. I also reduced the sugar from 225 grams per recipe to just 70 grams of sugar. Instead of the sugary lemon syrup I used the ZEO lemon drink from our hamper to moisten the sponge. Here’s a fun tip: nobody likes a dry sponge so instead of syrup use water or milk to add some moisture to it. By mixing the sugar free milk and dark chocolate for the ganache I came up with the perfect, guilt-free frosting, yumm. You could also whip up the ganache for extra airiness or instead of frosting a cake make some guilt-free chocolate truffles.
Tips for reducing sugar in your baking!
Here are some tips on how to reduce sugar in your baking without completely ruining your cake.
- Don’t cut out all the sugar in one go. Start off by reducing it bit by bit. That way you’ll see how your recipe reacts to the reduction and you actually get used to the reduced-sugar recipe.
- Increase the flour to make up for the missing volume of sugar. This approach also requires a bit of experimenting and it might not work on all of your recipes.
- Be careful with recipes calling for yeast as sugar is used to activate the yeast.
- Substitute the sugar for either Stevia, spices, fruit purée, honey or fresh fruit.
- Ditch the frosting. Find topping substitutes such as fresh fruit, spice, sugar free chocolate. Naked cakes are in fashion and dark chocolate ganache is scrumptious.
Overall this has been a successful week. It was interesting to see that it’s not impossible to do some Sugar Smart baking and the kids enjoyed it as well. Looking forward to next week and a new challenge. You can find the previous weeks linked below. Why not have a read and follow along with our Sugar Smart journey.
How do you reduce sugar in your baking?
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