[Updated 21/11/2023] Craving sweets without the guilt? Dive into sugar-free baking with our irresistible guide! Whether you're yearning for cakes, doughnuts, macarons, or brownies, we've got your back with a range of delectable and healthy alternatives. Let's explore sugar substitutes that will transform your bakes without compromising flavour and texture.
Embarking on a sugar-free journey can be tricky, especially if you're unsure about the right substitutes for your baking endeavours. If the question "how do I make a sugar-free cake?" keeps you up at night, fear not! We've delved into the realm of popular sugar-free alternatives to unravel the secrets behind their success and potential pitfalls.
Before we dive in, remember that sugar is not just about sweetness—it plays a crucial role in texture, adding air to your bakes, and retaining moisture. Now, let's explore fantastic sugar alternatives that can elevate your baking game.
We’re nutty about coconut
Best for: Shortbreads and cookies
Meet coconut sugar, a tropical substitute derived from the sap of coconut palm blossoms. Resembling palm sugar, coconut sugar boasts lower glycaemic index, making it a healthier option than granular sugar. Its golden brown colour and nutty flavour make it a perfect addition to shortbreads and cookies.
Despite its benefits, coconut sugar's dry texture can lead to uneven rising and a denser appearance. Counter this by adding more fat or fruit to infuse moisture into your bakes.
Sunny stevia is blooming with flavour
Best for: Custard and for cakes when combined with baking powder
Enter stevia, a naturally calorie and carb-free sweetener with a low glycemic rate. A member of the sunflower family, stevia is a great sugar alternative for custards and cakes. However, its naturally bitter aftertaste requires adjustments in measurements to balance sweetness.
While stevia resembles sugar in appearance and taste, it lacks the scientific components for icing and caramelizing. Pair it with a bulking agent like baking powder or egg whites to ensure optimal rising in your cakes.
Oh honey, you’re so sweet
Best for: Drizzling on cakes once they’re baked
Delight your taste buds with the sticky, golden goodness of honey. While honey adds flavor, it's not suitable for all sugar-free cake recipes. Avoid using it in recipes that involve creaming butter and sugar, as its gooey texture impedes the rising process.
Heating honey may diminish its health benefits, making it ideal for drizzling on baked goods post-baking. Explore alternatives like maple syrup and treacle for puddings and flapjacks.
Go au naturel with apples and pears
Best for: Cakes, cookies, brownies
Purée your pears, mash up your banana, or juice your apples for a natural sweetness boost in cakes, cookies, and brownies. Fruits and vegetables, rich in fibre and nutrients, offer a natural choice for a sugar alternative.
Adjust your quantities carefully, as fruit and veg can impact batter wetness. Fruit purée, such as apple or apricot, works well for flapjacks and cookies, while root vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, and beetroot add sweet structure to cakes and brownies.
Indulge in the sweetness of these sugar alternatives with added health benefits. You'll be baking sugar-free delights in no time, satisfying friends and family without compromising on taste.