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Baking Cakes without Sugar

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Sugar on spoon
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There are times that the cake required for an event needs to address special diets or lifestyle choices. Although weddings and special occasions are often times to splurge there could be a serious diet concern or strict lifestyle choice that makes a special recipe a need. This should not be a problem with a little research because there is a great deal of information out there about baking sugar free or gluten free or other considerations. These types of modifications to a recipe need to be calculated carefully because you can't simply swap out ingredients and get the same results.

One type of special cake that might be a choice for your guests is one created without refined sugar. Baking without sugar can be a daunting challenge for many people who are looking for quality products that taste delicious as well. There are numerous sugar substitutes on the market that work fine for sweetening a drink or sprinkling on grapefruit but simply don't perform in more complex cake recipes. For example, aspartame usually breaks down when heated up and this will wreck your cake. Other potential sweetener choices don't add the volume, texture and delicious caramel taste sugar does to baked item. Baking is not an activity that you can approach with pinches and extra ingredients; it is a chemical reaction that depends on very precise combinations of ingredients. You cannot just switch the required refined sugar with a sweetener and expect great results. This also includes icing and filling recipes as well.

Beyond the complications of baking with sugar free substitutes, many people are reluctant to use artificial sweeteners at all due to many reports about their safety. There are some wonderful natural alternatives that work very well in cake and icing recipes such as brown rice syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, barley syrup, malt, honey, stevia, sucanat, erythritol, maple products and molasses. These different products provide very different flavors so don't be afraid to experiment. Trying new ingredients can lead you to new favorites that don't have the detrimental effect of refined sugars.

When looking at these type of substitutions for your recipes be aware that alternative sweeteners can fall into two different types: nutritive and non-nutritive. A quick tip to help you choose which type to use is that many commercial bakers use nutritive sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners can provide the necessary bulk and desired browning required by the baking process. This sweetener family has calories and carbohydrates but are not actually classified as sugars. They also include glycerin and sorbitol. Non-nutritive sweeteners include the very common aspartame and saccharine and do not contribute any calories to your finished products. They simply add taste to the cake or icing. Sugar alcohols are also a perfectly viable option for baking and provide a pleasant mild sweetness with many of the baking characteristics of sugar itself. Lactitol and maltitol syrup are common sugar alcohols.

The best way to achieve the results you are looking for is to try the various sweeteners and sample the end product. Does it taste good, is the texture pleasant and is the finished cake or icing consistent. Using recipes already tested can cut down on nasty expensive failures. Keep in mind there are many diets that do not allow or recommend consuming refined sugars. A rule of thumb to consider is that pretty much every healthy diet does not recommend this type of ingredient. If the bride or majority of the guests want a cake made without refined sugar for whatever reason you have many resources to create a perfect cake creation. Macrobiotic recipe sites and books are a great source of sugar free baking ideas and there are many sources as close as your computer or library to explore this recipe option.

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