Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stevia and other wonders

Over the last two weekends I've been attempting to bake a birthday cake for a friend with autism. It had to be organic, sugar free, gluten free, yeast free, dairy free and casein free.

My first 3 attempts were not great. Each time I took a 'cake' out of the oven I'd go outside and give a bit to R to taste test. His (incredulous) response to v1 was 'WHAT IS THAT?'

Thankfully v4 was a success, mainly thanks to the discovery of Stevia. Don't ask me how an organically grown leaf can add sweetness without sugar, calories, carbs or chemicals, it just does. I bought the Nirvana Organics concentrate - 1-3 drops is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Whilst it was miraculous in the context of 'everything free' cake, I wouldn't recommend it for other baking. I'd prefer to stick to the texture and volume that butter adds to a recipe!

For those interested in recreating v4 of the cake, here it is (note all ingredients organic where possible):

3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
150g rice flour
110 g hazelnut meal
2 overripe mashed bananas
12 drops stevia
1 tbsp baking powder

1. Beat eggs and olive oil together until they're fluffy and have some volume
2. Add stevia and beat well
3. Add bananas and beat well
4. Add hazelnut meal, rice flour and baking powder and mix
5. Pour into a greased 9 inch round baking tin
6. Bake at 180 degrees C for approximately 30 minutes, or until cake is browned on top and a skewer comes out clean

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