lite lemon cheese tart . Picture: Antoine de Ras, 12/06/2012

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.


200g dark chocolate, chopped

150g butter

15ml grated orange rind

5 eggs, separated

80ml Xylitol

310ml ground almonds


100g sugar-free chocolate, chopped

60ml cream

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.


Makes 12

4 ripe bananas, mashed

180ml Xylitol

1 egg

50g butter, melted

500ml flour

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

250ml oats

10ml baking powder

250ml dried cranberries

125ml mixed seeds

180ml SUGAlite

180g butter, melted

310ml buttermilk

1 egg

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.


4 eggs

200ml oil

50-60ml orange juice

500ml flour

5ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

5ml salt

15ml ground cinnamon

280g Xylitol

750ml grated carrots

250ml sultanas

100g walnuts, chopped


250g thick cream cheese

30-40ml Xylitol

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.


500g fat-free smooth cottage cheese

250ml plain yoghurt

10ml vanilla essence

45ml cornflour

2 eggs

10ml grated lemon rind

125ml Xylitol

250g strawberries

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

* For more recipes using sugar replacers, please see our website,