Holly shares her top tips for sugar-free cakes.
Sugar is public food enemy number one. Celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Davina McCall swear by their sugar-free diets. But fear not, sugar-free does not mean cake-free. Here are my top three tips for cutting out refined sugar. You truly can have your cake and eat it!
Fruit and fibre
Fruit is a great replacement for refined sugar. It provides natural sweetness with the added benefit of fibre and vitamins. So technically cake can be on-of-your-five-a-day!
Want to eat cake that’s good for your blood and bones? Try date purée. Puree 1 cup of pitted dates with ½-1cup of hot water until it forms a thick paste. Date purée can be substituted for 1 cup of sugar.
Ready to pack in the potassium and slash the refined sugar? Try banana purée. Combine 1 cup of overripe bananas (speckled skin) with a few tablespoons of water until smooth. Replace with 1 cup of sugar in your recipe.
Looking for a fortified cake, rich in calcium, potassium and iron? Try some fig purée. Soak 230g of fresh figs in water until soft. Blend figs with 1/4-1/3 cup of water until smooth. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig purée or all of the sugar.
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Spoonful of sweetener
If you’re looking to slash the sugar content of your bakes and the calorie count, try using sweeteners. Lots of people say sweeteners are bad because they are artificial, but some sweeteners are derived from natural sources. Here are two of my favourites.
Xylitol is nature at its best. It’s extracted from hardwood trees and the fibre of some fruit and vegetables. You can substitute Xylitol in recipes that do not contain yeast on a 1:1 ratio. But word of warning: xylitol has a laxative effect so overindulge at your peril!
Servia is a natural sweetener derived from a plant that contains stevia glycosides, a sweet-tasting compound. It comes in granular, tablet and liquid form, so it is very versatile and is calorie-free. It also doesn’t cause tooth decay! Who knew greens could taste so sweet?
This might sound like a strange tip, because flour isn’t sweet. But refined white flour is digested a lot faster than wholemeal flour and may cause blood sugar levels to spike. Wholemeal flour, however, has a much lower Glycaemic Index (GI) and is absorbed at a slow rate, which is less likely to aggravate blood sugar levels.
Here are a couple of my favourite sugar-free baking recipes: