How to stay sugar free for lent
It's that time of year again as many of us have given up something we love. For some, it's pizza and chips or fizzy drinks, and for others it is simply: SUGAR. How can you enjoy cakes when you are cutting out sugar I hear you cry! Simple - use other natural ingredients to sweeten your cakes.
Natural Sugars e.g. honey or maple syrup
These are still sugar (when you get down to the nitty gritty) but they also include vitamins, trace minerals and beneficial enzymes.
Top tips when replacing sugar with these:
Make sure to reduce the liquid elsewhere in your cake batter, as both honey and maple syrup are made up of about 20% water e.g. less egg white
Honey is sweeter than sugar so you will need less of it, roughly 25-50% less
Maple syrup is LESS sweet than sugar so you will need to add more to get the same taste (remember the liquid point though)
Genuine maple syrup is expensive! Most products sold in the UK are manufactured using cheaper syrups so watch out for this
Baking sweeteners often include Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame and acesulfame K (both in Canderel).
Sweeteners are 200-650 times sweeter than sugar so you will need only a fraction in comparison. But be careful, as again this will mean the consistency isn’t the same
Make sure you are using a sweetener that states it is specifically for baking. Others can often leave an unpleasant taste and prevent the batter from browning in the oven
Using sweeteners that ARE NOT specific for baking can cause the outer cake to brown too quickly leaving the inner part of the cake to be under cooked
Sweet Extracts - Agave Nectar
Agave is higher in calories than sugar but nearly two times sweeter and therefore you need less of it. It has a clean, sweet taste and so if perfectly suitable for baking. It is also relatively low GI. The Agave Nectar I use is from The Groovy Food Company and it works brilliantly in baked (and in my morning smoothies, and evening cocktails!).
Our sugar free blueberry muffins are extremely popular and use a new brand which is soon to be available in the UK market. Top secret but watch this space!