Check out one of my favorite cookbooks, Jane and Michael’s own "SQUARE MEALS." It has lots of old-fashioned recipes in it, including many from the years of rationing. I’ve given many copies of this as gifts and they always become fast favorites. It was o/p for a while but I think it’s available again. If it isn’t, you should be able to get it from your library.
Also look for Doris Jantzen Longacre’s "More-With-Less" cookbook, never o/p in the 30 years since publication, which is all about using our resources wisely, hence many recipes are lowfat, low sugar, etc.–long before it was trendy to do so, but instead in the name of ending world hunger. It’s why I like it, why it’s also another personal favorite.
And believe it or not, Barbara Walker’s "The Little House Cookbook" is good for low-sugar recipes because she developed them all from reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and none of the recipes in those days called for much sugar–it was a luxury. I still make the pumpkin pie from this book for my father-in-law.
Can you tell I’m both a foodie (professional and personal) AND a bookseller? So glad I found this board…..[:)]
Another idea is to scout around used book sales for cooking booklets published during the WWII era when sugar was rationed. You’ll find a wealth of recipes, substitutions and suggestions for using less sugar not only in cakes but all types of desserts.
If you use the applesauce, you will probably have to reduce the oil or shortening, and/or add a little more flour. You can probably guess how much to add by looking at the batter before baking to see if it closely resembles the original recipe. Hey, my grandma never measured her cake ingredients.
Applesauce is defintely a good substitute for straight up sugar. You may want to check out cook books or websites for recipes for diabetics or people trying to lose weight. Many times they use non-artificial substitutes and there’s probably a similar recipe out there.
Wow- thanks, everyone! These are some great suggestions! I’m definetely going to look into those thickening agents that don’t add extra sweetness! I also like the idea of substituting some of the sugar w/ applesauce! Thanks again- I appreciate your suggestions!
You can get non-sugar powder thickener at specialty cooking supply stores. The packaging should give directions on substituting the thickener for each cup of sugar in the cakes. They are made of natural ingredients that thickens without adding sweetness. Chefs use them to stiffen whipping creams, and milkshakes. You can use the same powdered thickener for thickening your frosting and cut down on sugar. I found one brand called Expert Foods at our local health food store. It’s called ThinenThin/Not Sugar (see http://www.expertfoods.com) They have one for thickening sweets (cakes, shakes, smoothies, whipping cream, etc.) and another for thickening gravys, soups, and baking. It’s also high in natural fiber.
Also, you can experiment with applesauce by substituting part of the sugar with applesauce. I don’t recommend doing a full substitution, only a portion, say 50% applesauce and 50% sugar to keep the integrity of the cake recipe. Being a spice cake, the applesauce might work well. I would suggest 1 cup of the brown sugar and 3/4 cup applesauce and see how that turns out. Be sure to use the unsweetened applesauce (the applesauce made specifically for babies are extra smooth and creamy). Then make adjustments the next time if it wasn’t sweet enough.
Besides adding sweetness, sugar provides moistness and cohesiveness. It also has some emulsifying properties.
If you’re looking for the textural properies of sugar without sweetness, there are some specialty ingredients that perform this function. Polydextrose and inulin are polymerized sugars. They have about 10th of the sweetness of sugar while providing the same textural duties. If you can get your hands on it, pure glucose syrup will give you more texture than sweetness. Regular corn syrup (one that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup) will do the same thing.
Unfortunately, taking a recipe and altering it too much changes the entire make up of the product.Cutting out too much of the sugar will change the texture.One thing I do is cut the recipe in half, and spread a very thin layer of frosting on the cake, as I too, dont like things super sweet.The other thing I do, if it is a frosting that had been heated, is drizzle the frosting whlie warm, as opposed to waiting for it to cool and spreading.I have found a web sight called Recipezaar.com that has some excellent choices forlower sugar frostings, etc.Take a look at it-maybe it will help
How can I, if in any way possible, alter a recipe for something such as a cake, for example, in order to significantly reduce the sweetness of the final product? I’m not trying to cut down on sugar for health reasons- just for personal taste, so I don’t want to substitute sugar w/ a sugar free sweetener. I love sweets, just as long as they’re not too sweet! My wife and I baked a buttermilk spice cake w/ roasted mixed nuts cream cheese frosting tonight. (Ok- it was a birthday cake for yours truly, but I’m still 9 years shy of half a century!) It turned out really good, but was way too sweet for my taste, in spite of altering the recipe somewhat. The recipe called for 2 cups of brown sugar, and 4-5 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting. I knew this would be way too sweet, so we used 1&1/2 cups instead of 2 cups of brown sugar for the cake, and 3 cups of pwd sugar instead of 4-5 cups for the frosting, and added a little flour to help thicken it. We also added a little lemon juice and salt to the frosting to cut through the sweetness. All this helped, but the cake was still too sweet. Would it be possible to use even less sugar- granulated or brown- in this, or any similar recipe, w/o compromising the quality of the cake? What, if anything, could I use to substitute for part (as much as possible) of the powdered sugar for the frosting? Any suggestions and ideas to help in cutting overall sweetness in cakes, etc would be appreciated! Thanks!
Question For All You Bakers
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