I have a huge sweet tooth! I can easily go without chips and crisps but chocolate and cakes are my weakness. When I was following the Whole 30 eating regime I had a huge craving for Victoria Sponge Cake – I couldn’t stop thinking about fluffy light sponge cake! However since completing Whole 30 I am a lot more aware of the negative effects that sugar has on my body – it makes me tired, groggy and feel rather “off”. So when Natvia* challenged me to some sugar free baking I thought it was worth a go!
What is Natvia?
Natvia is a natural sugar substitute made from 100% natural sources. It contains just Stevia Reb and Erythritol which naturally occurs in nectar. It contains no Saccharin and no aspartame and has 0 calories. Now I admit all this completely baffles my head as I know there are good sweeteners and bad sweeteners, however after a little research I learnt that Stevia is herb that grows wild as a small shrub in Paraguay and Brazil, though it can be cultivated elsewhere. Countries such a Paraguay, Brazil, Korea, Japan, China and much of South America has been using stevia as a food sweetener for centuries. It was only in the 2000 that stevia started to pop up in foods in the western world.
Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than white sugar – I wish I knew this when I started baking – and it has a low carb content so have negligible effects on blood sugar levels.
Sugar Free Baking
Armed with my packet of Natvia I searched my recipe book for inspiration and decided on one of my favourite cookie recipes. Now one piece of advice I’d give before giving sugar free baking with Natvia a go is that you read all the information available. I didn’t read Natvia’s top tips nor did I read that Natvia is 300 times sweeter than white sugar. So when I baked my cookies I simply swapped the measure of sugar for Natvia – so my cookies were incredibly sweet! It does say on the packet that 1 teaspoon of Natvia is equal to one teaspoon of sugar, however I do think it is sweeter. The cookies themselves didn’t have the usual texture but then again it’s because I didn’t read Natvia’s tips on ensuring you whip your butter before adding the Natvia! So all in all my sugar free baking challenge didn’t go brilliantly, however it has opened my eyes up to the world of natural sugar substitutes and how they can be swapped for sugar in traditional baking recipes.
Tips on how to bake with natural sugar substitutes like Natvia
Natvia shared with me some great tips on how to bake with natural sugar substitutes. Because as you are aware, baking is a science so the components have to be measured accurately and the method has to be followed correctly to get the best end product. Obviously the composition of natural sugar sweeteners like Natvia is different to white sugar so they react in differently when baking.
– Help bakes rise by adding 2-3 teaspoons of baking powder , even if the recipe doesn’t call for it.
– Get a light and fluffy sponge by beating butter on it’s own first. When it’s light and fluffy then add Natvia and continue to beat.
– For the perfect caramel preheat your over to 160C and pour Natvia into an ovenproof dish then cook for 40 minutes.
– For the perfect meringue add all your Natvia at once. You don’t need to add it gradually as you do with sugar.
For more tips and some fantastic sugar free baking recipes head to Sweeter Life Club. I’ve got my eye on some muffin recipes next!