You may have noticed that here at the Thrifty Squirrels we are quite fond of an occasional sweet treat! Unfortunately Brian has type 2 diabetes and so cannot indulge in the tasting process of these new recipes as much as he would like.
So when I received a pack of Sweetly Stevia Natural Sweetener in the post, I was very keen to give it a try and put it’s claim that it tastes just like sugar through it’s paces.
Sweetly Stevia is a 100% natural granulated sweetener made with organic Stevia plant extracts. It is twice as sweet as sugar so only half the amount is needed when stirring onto tea and coffee or when baking. It is perfect for anyone who needs to avoid sugar for health reasons or for those wanting to lose some weight and are counting the calories but who do not want to have to give up their occasional sweet treats. The pack helpfully tells me that 1 teaspoon of Sweetly Stevia has 5.2 calories and is equivilent to 2 teaspoons of sugar, which has 40 calories – quite a difference.
To fully evaluate how good it is as a sugar substitute in baking I decided to make some simple sponge cupcakes with the very basic recipe of 1 egg, 2oz butter, 2oz flour and where I would normally add 2oz caster sugar, instead I used just 1oz of Sweetly Stevia
. No other flavourings were added so any after taste would be easy to notice.
At the beginning, creaming the butter and the Sweetly Stevia sugar substitute proved no different than if I had used sugar. The granular texture of the sweetener is fine enough to be a good match for caster sugar.
Adding in the egg and the flour made a batter that looked and behaved the same as any normal sponge cake batter so no problems so far!
I would normally expect to make 6 muffin size cupcakes from this amount of cake mix but as the volume of sugar substitute is less than if I had used sugar I was not really surprised when I could only get 5 from the mix but they were 5 good size portions!
I popped the cakes into the oven for 20 minutes and the result was delicious looking cakes that I would defy anyone not to be tempted by!
Anyway, once cooled the proof of the pudding would really be in the eating so Brian was presented with a nice cup of tea and a cake!
For his taste buds (having not eaten much in the way of sugar for quite a while) the cake was definitely sweet tasting, for me (I do eat a fair few sweet things!) the taste was less sweet than a normal sponge cake but having said that, I do think it was sweet enough and the flavour was in no way affected by using Sweetly Stevia. Some sugar substitutes are well know for the after taste they leave behind but there was no evidence of that at all in this batch of cakes.
So, Sweetly Stevia gets a definite thumbs up from us!