It is a well-known fact that people consume huge amounts of sugar on a daily basis. It has become a big problem in our society because increased sugar intake can lead to a variety of health problems. If you don’t reduce the amount of sugar you consume regularly, you will be putting yourself at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity or high blood pressure. Even though it is possible for people to consume a moderate amount of sugar, it is recommended that you stay away from sugar as much as possible in order to live a long and healthy life.
In some ways, it is possible for people to cut down sugar intake from their diet, but there can be some sticking points. For instance, if you love baking, you will discover that cutting out sugar from your recipes can be a tad bit difficult. In a number of recipes, sugar doesn’t just play the role of a sweetener. Sugar is known to contribute to browning, add texture to the cake and also help in making other chemical processes happen. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely give up baking just because you don’t want to consume sugar. The key is to understand how to approach sugar-free baking.
In fact, according to Chef Ido Fishman, making cakes without sugar is better because you can still consume cakes without worrying about putting your health at risk. When you are a newbie to sugar-free baking, it can feel like uncharted territory that doesn’t have a lot of rewards in store. Sure, it comes off as a big gamble because you don’t know how it will turn out. As a matter of fact, sugar-free baking allows people to be more creative in the kitchen and enables them to develop different tastes for different ingredients. You will need a little attention and patience and you will be able to find success in your own kitchen.
According to Chef Ido Fishman, you will come to know that some cakes and desserts will taste much better sugar-free. But, how do you do it? Here are some of the tips he has provided for sugar-free baking:
- Know your sweeteners
First and foremost, you should know that there are alternatives sweeteners that you can use in place of sugar. Not all sweeteners will work the same way as regular sugar. It is important to understand how a sweetener will work when you are baking and this will help you in making better education decisions during the process of making a cake.
- Go with room temperature ingredients
This is one of the most important tips for sugar-free baking, but Chef Ido Fishman explains that a lot of people are not familiar with it and don’t really pay much attention to it either. This step is key for you to be able to blend the rest of the ingredients together properly. Let the milk, eggs, creams and applesauce sit out for a while before you use them. This is of the utmost importance when you are using coconut oil or any other ingredient that has the tendency to seize when it is mixed with cold ingredients. In this way, you will be able to blend new sweeteners into the mixture and bake a sugar-free cake without a lot of hassle.
- Combine the sweeteners
As compared to refined sugar, there are a lot of natural sweeteners that do not caramelize. As per Chef Ido Fishman, if the sweeteners don’t caramelize, then your cakes will not turn out to be tender, chewy or dense. This is of the utmost importance when you are using date sugar or xylitol. These sweeteners are known for melting easily and don’t have the tendency to caramelize. When you are baking a cake, some natural sweeteners will just not work on their own. When you use agave alone, it takes on a very funny texture and you will have to add another sweetener in order to achieve the same traditional sugary and chewy consistency. Honey and coconut sugar are some sweeteners that can help you in creating this the right way.
- Don’t let fats scare you off
Do you want to create natural sweetness? Chef Ido Fishman recommends that you add in ingredients, such as coconut milk, avocado, coconut shreds, walnuts and banana as they can provide you what you are looking for. Simultaneously, they also help you in creating flavor, bulk and texture. When you are using an unfamiliar sweetener, these ingredients can come in handy in reducing failures by helping you create an extra hearty ‘base’.
These can also be handy for improving flavor. You shouldn’t hesitate to add these in when you want to eat naturally sweet. When you cut out refined sugar, it will undoubtedly assist you in reducing overall calorie consumption. Plus, adding healthy fats are an essential component of a nutritious diet.
- Cut down baking times
Another important tip that you need to bear in mind is that a lot of natural sweeteners take very little time to bake. This is something you need to factor in with different flours or oils and you will have an entirely different baking time altogether. As Chef Ido Fishman says, all recipes are different, but as a rule of thumb, you should generally check your cakes at least 5 to 10 minutes before suggested by the recipe, when natural sweeteners are at play. Honey, in particular, is a sweetener that can works really fast in baking, as compared to refined sugar. If you don’t want your cakes to burn, you should keep them covered and keep on checking them throughout the process.
- Never be afraid of extracts
When you are baking sugar-free, sometimes using extracts, such as coconut, almond, orange and vanilla can enhance your cake as well as the sweeteners that are in it without requiring you to add a ton of them. Natural sugars can be extremely expensive, so Chef Ido Fishman suggests this nice little trick. A little extract never hurts anyone and the best thing that can work for you is stevia flavored extracts. A popular product amongst bakers is liquid stevia and the cocoa flavored or vanilla flavored liquid stevia can work as excellent sweeteners without adding on any calories.
- Get to know the flours
In most baking recipes, most people try to avoid using any processed white flour. When you are substituting flours, Chef Ido Fishman suggests that you should remember that not all flours are the same and some, such as whole wheat flours, tend to have more bulk. Normally, when you want to substitute white flour, you would have to decrease the amount of wheat flour. When you opt for sweeteners like maple syrup or xylitol that provide more liquid to a recipe, going with a heavier flour can make a lot of difference.
- Understand the oils
It is important to bear in mind that all oils are different. When you make cakes with natural oils and natural sweeteners, there are certain combinations that don’t really work well together. A recipe that asks for little flour will hold up well when you add some coconut oil to it because it can melt very easily. Chef Ido Fishman says that it is possible to use olive oil, but you shouldn’t forget that it has a strong flavor. As far as butter is concerned, it can burn easily. When you understand how oils taste and react can help you in determining the best ingredients and sweeteners for your cake.
- Make changes slowly
One of the most crucial things that you should know about making a cake without sugar is that you shouldn’t change the rest of the recipe when you are eliminating sugar from it. If you are replacing other ingredients with substitutes and alternatives, then you will not know how the sugar sweeteners worked out. This is also applicable to recipes that are naturally sweet. Chef Ido Fishman will tell you repeatedly that you shouldn’t try to substitute more than one ingredient in a recipe at the same time.
Once you have become familiar with natural sweeteners and know what you should look for in consistency and texture to make a good cake, then you can experiment some more. This will help you understand how every natural sweetener works and will allow you to enjoy greater success when making cakes without sugar.
- Learn to be flexible
There are times when people try out making cakes without sugar and something goes wrong. They often get discouraged, but you shouldn’t really let that happen to you. Instead, you should focus on the recipe and try to figure out if you followed it correctly. Try to understand what you did wrong. If you believe you didn’t make any mistakes, try a different recipe or use a different sweetener. You can try fixing the cake or use it with another dish as well.
These tips can go a long way in helping you, but only if you know what alternatives are at your disposal when you don’t want to use sugar. Obviously, you have to add some sort of sweetener to the cake or it will just not turn out to be any good. So, what are the options to explore? Chef Ido Fishman has provided some choices that you can explore:
- Using cane and beet sugar substitutes
It is possible for people to use different plants as a substitute for cane and beet sugar. Agave is an excellent example in this regard, which is a succulent plant that’s native to Central America. The syrup of this plant is powerfully sweet and boasts a low glycemic index, which means you only require a few drops. You can use it cold or even heat it, if needed.
- Check out xylitol and Stevia
Xylitol can be traced back to Scandinavian countries. In these areas, it is believed to be a natural alternative to aspartame. Birch bark or extract, this product comes with a lot of benefits like low calories, high sweetness and a low glycemic index. Therefore, Chef Ido Fishman suggests that you should have xylitol handy when you are trying to make cakes without sugar. The only disadvantage you will find is that its glycemic index tends to increase when cooking. Therefore, when you are making a cake, you should reduce the proportions that you plan on using.
Bakers can also reap serious benefits of Stevia. As compared to traditional sugar, it can sweeten up 200 to 300 times more and it is calorie-free, provides a taste of licorice and is heat resistant. You can find Stevia in different forms such as liquid, powder or even in cubes. This can come in handy, especially when you are making cakes without sugar for diabetic people.
- Don’t forget about fresh fruit
Apples, strawberries, citrus fruits, apricots and cherries are also natural sweeteners and they also have a low glycemic index. If you want to add flavor to your cake, you can choose frozen, fresh or dried fruit when you are baking. Moreover, according to Chef Ido Fishman, some fruits bring acidity, lightness and freshness to some cakes. This particularly applies to raspberries and you shouldn’t miss out on them. However, steer clear of canned fruit because that’s two sweet and it has a lot of sugar.
- Learn the virtues of honey
There are numerous benefits of honey and it has been used since ancient times. Those who are diabetic should use honey in small quantities. It is commonly used because not only is it a sweetener, but it also comes with a high content of minerals and vitamins. You can also find a multitude of flavors where honey is concerned, which makes it ideal for different tastes.
Sugar is often used for flavoring, similar to spices, when people are making cakes. Chef Ido Fishman suggests that you add a touch of spices to your cakes like sprinkle some cinnamon. With their addictive tastes, you will want to make more cakes without sugar.