If for health reasons you would like to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, replacing sugar in baking can be tricky. With so many sugar replacers on the market it is hard to know which one to choose.
After experimenting with a few different brands I found Xylitol and SUGAlite to be the most successful when replacing cup for cup in most recipes.
The big disadvantage of these products is that they are expensive.
A side effect when using the products for the first time can be a slightly upset stomach.
This does go away with repeated use once your system has adjusted to the product.
XYLITOL is a type of sugar found in fibrous fruits and vegetables, corn cobs and hardwood trees (like birch). Although it looks, feels, and tastes like cane sugar, it has 40 percent fewer calories and 75 percent fewer carbohydrates.
Xylitol is slowly absorbed and metabolised by the body, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin.
Xylitol is very dangerous if consumed by pets.
SUGAlite is a sugar replacer used specifically for baking and it is made from polydextrose lactitol, anti-caking agent, non-nutritive sweeteners (cyclamate and acesulfame K).
Although it is not as natural as Xylitol, it produces similar results to cane sugar in baking. The added advantage is that when using it in recipes that contain fat, you can reduce the quantity of butter or oil by about 30-50 percent. It has a low GI and a low energy value.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
200g dark chocolate, chopped
15ml grated orange rind
5 eggs, separated
310ml ground almonds
100g sugar-free chocolate, chopped
strawberries for decorating
Combine the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl and melt in the microwave on low for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add the orange rind and set aside to cool.
Put the egg yolks and Xylitol into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until thick. Wash the beater and beat the egg whites until stiff.
Working quickly, stir the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and then mix in the ground almonds.
Fold in the egg whites before the chocolate mixture starts to set. Pour the mixture into a greased and base lined 20cm spring-form cake pan.
Bake at 160°C for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.
When completely cold pour over the chocolate topping and decorate with strawberries.
TOPPING: Combine chocolate and cream in a glass bowl and melt on low in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool until thickened and pour over the cake. Decorate with strawberries.
BANANA NUT MUFFINS
4 ripe bananas, mashed
50g butter, melted
5ml baking powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
50g pecan nuts, chopped
Combine the bananas, Xylitol, egg and butter and mix well.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir into the banana mixture.
Fold in the nuts.
If the mixture is too dry add a little milk. Spoon into well-greased muffin tins and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing.
Makes about 4 dozen
500g self-raising flour
250ml digestive bran
10ml baking powder
250ml dried cranberries
125ml mixed seeds
180g butter, melted
Combine the flour, bran, oats, baking powder, cranberries, seeds and SUGAlite in a mixing bowl.
In a large jug, mix the butter, buttermilk and egg and add to the dry ingredients. Mix to form a stiff dough.
Press the mixture into a greased 30x40cm oven pan and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean. Remove and cool for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
Cool completely. Using an electric carving knife, slice the slab into fingers. Place these on to a baking tray and dry out at 50°C for 6-8 hours. Store in an airtight container.
50-60ml orange juice
15ml ground cinnamon
750ml grated carrots
100g walnuts, chopped
250g thick cream cheese
grated rind of 1 orange
extra rind for decorating
Beat the eggs until foamy. Beat in the oil and beat for 5 minutes. Beat in the orange juice.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and Xylitol into a bowl. Add to the egg mixture together with the carrots, sultanas and nuts and mix well.
Spoon mixture into a well greased 23cm ring pan and bake at 160°C for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack. Spread with icing when cool.
ICING: Mix the cream cheese, Xylitol and orange rind until smooth. Spread on to cake and decorate with extra orange rind if desired.
LITE LEMON CHEESE TART
500g fat-free smooth cottage cheese
250ml plain yoghurt
10ml vanilla essence
10ml grated lemon rind
Combine all the ingredients except the strawberries and mix until smooth. Pour into a greased 22cm pie plate.
Bake at 160°C for 40-50 minutes until set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Cool completely, then refrigerate for a few hours.
Decorate with strawberries before serving. - The Star