If you're trying to reduce sugar and calories in your diet, you may be cutting back on cakes and other desserts. Cakes are typically made with large quantities of sugar to provide moisture, tenderness and sweetness. The Mayo Clinic notes that refined or table sugar is 99 percent pure sucrose, a simple carbohydrate that is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. Eating too much sugar can cause your blood glucose levels to fluctuate and lead to weight gain, obesity and other conditions. You can reduce the amount of sugar you add to your home-baked cakes by up to a third or replace it with other, healthier sweeteners.
Add pure honey to your cake mix instead of sugar. Honey is up to 50 percent sweeter than sugar and will give your cake a distinct taste. It is also a liquid so it will add more moisture to your cake; you may need to reduce other liquid ingredients if you use honey instead of sugar. Experiment with different types and quantities of honey to find the flavor and color you prefer in your cake.
Use pure maple syrup instead of sugar in your cakes and other baked goods. Like honey, maple syrup will give your cake a distinct flavor and brown color. It is also a liquid and will make your cake more moist and tender. Maple syrup is 60 percent as sweet as sugar.
Sweeten your cake with fruit juice concentrate such as apple juice, orange juice or white grape juice instead of sugar. Use thawed frozen juice concentrates that do not have any added sugar. Juice concentrates will sweeten your cake and also add fruit flavor and moisture.
Stir unsweetened applesauce into your cake mix instead of adding sugar. You can also use blueberry, strawberry or banana purees to sweeten your cake. These fruit purees add moisture, flavor and sweetness to the cake. Use ripe fruit for a sweeter-tasting cake; you may need more applesauce and fruit puree than the amount of sugar, as they are not as sweet. Additionally, as they add moisture, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid you are adding to your cake to prevent it from getting soggy.
Sweeten your cake with dried fruit to replace sugar. Prunes, dates, raisins and dried apricots are naturally sweet. You can chop or puree them before adding them to your cake mix. Dried fruit will sweeten the cake without adding too much moisture.
- Add spices such as powdered cinnamon to your cake, along with other natural sweeteners to add more sweetness.
- White, brown and raw sugar are all equal in nutritional value. Brown sugar is not healthier than white; it simply contains a higher molasses content.
- Natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup and fruits contain natural sugars and should not be eaten in excess. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before adding these sweeteners to your diet.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.