People who follow very strict diets usually stay away from baked goods. Pastries can often have lots of sugar and unnecessary fats in their ingredients. These can be a big turn-off for many health buffs or people with illnesses like diabetes.
Fortunately, there are already plenty of alternative recipes out there for healthier baked goods. These are sure to satisfy anybody’s cravings without feeling guilty. One of the trickiest pastries to produce a healthy alternative of, however, is a cake.
Loaded With Sugar
Craving for cakes is a common occurrence for anybody. These are unfortunately impossible to bake without the correct amount of sugar put into them, which is a lot. This is why reducing or substituting sugar from any cake recipe haphazardly will ruin the final product. Knowing the right alternatives and how to apply them will surely put cakes back into anyone’s regular dessert choices, regardless of their diet.
The sugar that’s put into cakes affects more than just the sweet taste. It also plays an important part in the texture and color of a baked good. Sugar gives cakes that light and airy texture because it traps tiny air bubbles inside its rough crystals. Removing sugar from a recipe will also accelerate moisture loss resulting in a dry cake.
Of course, the visuals are also important for any pastry. Before putting any sort of decorations, like animal cake toppers, cakes should come out of the oven looking golden-brown. This is mainly because of the caramelization process that the sugars go through. Without this, cakes run the risk of looking pale and unappetizing.
Keeping It Sweet
Making a cake without a heaping amount of table sugar is actually achievable. Using artificial sweeteners may be the first that comes to mind, but many people might be uncomfortable with this idea. The next best thing is finding more sugar from healthier sources.
This means putting more effort into making the recipe. Adding other ingredients into the mix can make the baking process a bit more hectic. Certain adjustments will have to be made, but in the end, it should all be worth it. Consider these sugar alternatives and reductions for the next cake to come out of the oven.
No More Icing
This is one of the easiest ways to reduce the sugar content in any cake. Typical cake icing is usually made with high amounts of sugar. These simple cake decors or fillings can effortlessly double or even triple the calories found in a single slice. Removing icing from typical cakes will effectively put anybody’s sugar troubles to rest.
Almonds and Vegetables
Surprising as it may be, incorporating ground almonds or grated vegetables into a cake recipe can be a viable alternative. The natural sweetness found in these ingredients will surely improve the flavor. They will also add complex textures to the cake and help to keep it moist.
As opposed to common table sugar, natural sugars can have small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes which can be beneficial for the body. Using honey or genuine maple syrup as substitutes for common sugar will make cakes much healthier.
Be ready to tweak some of the procedures in the recipe. It’s important to note that these natural sugars are about 20% water. Consider reducing the liquid components found in other ingredients, like egg whites. When using honey, use around 20-25% less than the amount of sugar found in the recipe since it’s usually sweeter than table sugar.
Sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame K are some of the most commonly used sweeteners in baking. These are approximately 650 times sweeter than table sugar while having extremely low to zero calories. The downsides to using these as alternatives are that they do not help in browning and incorporating air into cakes. While it can help with the sweetness, swapping sugar out of the recipe for these alternatives completely would not be ideal.
Sugar alcohols are naturally found in fruits or vegetables. These still have to be produced industrially, however. Xylitol is the most popular sugar alcohol but this ingredient is unsuitable for baking because of its minty taste.
Erythritol is another example that’s commonly sold in many health shops. It usually has a sweet taste which can be a perfect substitute for table sugar. This ingredient has 70% of the sweetness and 5% of the calories found in common sugar. Erythritol also doesn’t affect blood sugar levels since it cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Health is Wealth
Sugar levels are one of the most critical components in food that health-conscious, diet-strict people look out for. However, there are still plenty of other ingredients that can be swapped for healthier alternatives. The beauty of baking and cooking is the openness that they have for innovation and flexibility. Reducing or completely removing sugar from baked goods will definitely produce healthier creations, but it’s just the start.