Monday, June 27, 2011

Sugar Free Apple Cake

Finally something healthy!  I had someone ask me if I made any sugar free cakes and I've not tried any recipes so I started with this apple cake.

The recipe I found used agave nectar as a sweetner.  This is a controversial issue though, various people seem to think that agave is no better than sugar, and it is very similar to high fructose corn syrup.  So I was left a little confused about whether this was going to be a useful sweetner for diabetics.  Please tell me in the comments if you know more, or have recipes with natural sweetners, I dont like to use splenda.

I do know that it is a little sweeter than sugar, so you can maybe use a little less than you would with sugar, and this cake incorporates whole wheat flour and large chunks of apples, so I think that offsets the sugar spike that you might get. 

I thought the cake looked quite nice just as is, but it could be served with a little whipped cream cheese sweetened with honey or agave, or maybe whipped cream.  I can see this being a nice afternoon snack for me, I plan to make another in a square pan and cut into squares and freeze.

Whole wheat apple cake (adapted from dinners and dreams)
Preheat oven to 350f, prepare a 9 inch pan with oil and/or parchment

4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1 cm pieces)
1 packed cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) butter softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour together with baking soda and cinnamon
Beat together the agave, butter, vanilla, salt and eggs, fold in the flour and the apples and pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Cloud said...

I think (but am not sure), that agave has a higher percentage of fructose than sucrose does. So, if you are concerned about the amount of fructose in your diet, it isn't a good choice.

For a diabetic, though, the problem is glucose- so it might be fine. I really don't know.

Incidentally, the concern with fructose comes from the fact that there is evidence that because fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, the shift in our diet to have more fructose has contributed to making us fatter. I wouldn't call this settled science, though- it is clear that there are differences in how the two sugars are metabolized, but the rest is still up for discussion.

Anyway, this gets tossed around as a reason that HFCS is "bad", but that is, in my opinion, a bit silly, because "standard" HFCS is 55% fructose and sucrose is 50%. So not much different.

I suppose you could try stevia. It doesn't have glucose or fructose, but there was some concern about whether it had some sort of hormone-mimetic effect. I can't remember the details.

(The cake looks yummy!)

Jennywenny said...

Thanks! It was amusing to me that agave seems to be almost identical to HFCS but is somehow some kind of wonder sweetener! Another worry for me was that it seems that different brands had different levels of glucose and fructose.

I think I'll consider offering a couple of options like this and maybe a carrot cake that are whole wheat and sweetened with honey/agave and people can make their own choices.

Leanne said...

Agave seems to be one of those things where you can find studies both supporting and degrading its properties as a wonder-sugar.

I have no idea how it plays into diabetic diets, but I know you can use dates (or a date and hot water puree) as a natural sweetener.