Well I could spout excuses for why I haven’t blogged in ages until the sun don’t shine, but let’s be honest: It was my first summer working in London. I was far too busy having fun. That said, nothing jolts you into realising that life is too short not to do the things you love like illness. My dad’s unwell and is the source of inspiration for these sugar-free cupcakes, because he needs to stay away from the evil stuff for the foreseeable future. And let’s be honest, it won’t do anyone in my house any harm to cut down on the addictive white crystals (no not meth, you naughty lot).
So we went to the Cake and Bake Show at Earl’s Court on Saturday and my dad was thrilled to find a stall selling Xylitol, a natural sugar alternative with a low GI which can be used to make healthy (ish) sweet treats. I was a bit worried that these cakes would be stodgy and tasteless but I was pleasantly surprised by the fluffy texture. Obviously they just don’t taste as sweet as the sugar-laden alternative. You don’t get that buzz that we all crave, but I guess that’s the point.
Ingredients (makes 18)
225g plain wholemeal flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4tsp ground cinnamon
3tsp ground ginger
2 large carrots, grated
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
90ml mild cooking oil
For the topping
3tbsp lemon juice
200g low fat cream cheese
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
18 walnut pieces
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, bicarbonate, cinnamon and ginger. I was a bit concerned that that seemed like a lot of spices for a small mixture, but it doesn’t taste overpowering in the slightest.
Add the Xylitol, grate the carrots and orange zest and then add the orange juice, beaten eggs, oil and milk. I used olive oil for ultimate health benefits.
Mix until thoroughly combined.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
Now I have mixed feelings about this topping. In a way I think the cakes perfectly nice nude, but we do like to trick ourselves sometimes and it just doesn’t look like carrot cake without it. For obvious reasons it’s just not very sweet and kind of tastes just like…cheese. Try it for yourself though, but I think I’m going to experiment with some alternatives.
Smooth evenly over the cakes, sift the cinnamon (I did a fantastic job of that, I think you’ll see) and plop a walnut piece on top to finish. Ta daaa.
P.S. Bake off final this week. Richard to win all the waaay.