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Why so much sugar in cakes?

incorporating Recipes and Cooking
feder1
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Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315213

Postby feder1 » June 4th, 2020, 3:05 pm

Following a tip off from an Australian friend that she usually halved the quantity of sugar in cake recipes we tried it ourselves.

Having recently made banana cakes, coconut cakes and a ginger cake and others, all with just half the amount suggested, we find that the cakes are all perfectly delicious.

In fact, if we had put the full quantity in, say 100g instead of 50g of sugar then they would have been excessively sweet.

In these days of no dentists and obesity then it seems a rather sensible idea.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315227

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 4th, 2020, 3:37 pm

My late mum gave similar advice. She thought the recipes suggested such excessive quantities because they expected to be scaled down. Perhaps it would also serve to hide potential disasters that might easily befall a cook without the confidence to deviate from a recipe.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315271

Postby tikunetih » June 4th, 2020, 5:46 pm

My partner routinely significantly reduces the sugar content in recipes, especially Nigella recipes if I recall correctly.

A bonus is that you can eat a lot more in one sitting of cakes that are less sickly sweet! ;)

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315286

Postby kempiejon » June 4th, 2020, 6:34 pm

Where are you finding your recipes? I found a recipe online and made some flapjacks, only oats, butter, brown sugar and a few tablespoon of golden syrup. They came out the oven swimming in fat and molten sugar and then set solid with a rind of butter. So I dug out my mothers handwritten recipe, the ratio butter to oats to sugar wildly different and a decent flapjack.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315287

Postby stevensfo » June 4th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Wow! This is like deja vu from the 1990s. Cutting down the sugar makes home-made stuff taste as they're meant to taste. That's why the stuff you buy from shops always has the same after-taste. Good example is frozen cheesecake. It tastes nothing like real cheesecake! I admit that things are improving, but very slowly.

In my opinion, the best combination is a fruit crumble/pie with NO sugar, but with the obligatory serving of cream/ice-cream. The 'real' flavour of the fruit and the contrast of sweet cream is nothing short of ecstatic!

Just say No to sugar. It takes time, but you can kick the habit eventually. The human body was never meant to process so much glucose and fructose. I'm sure there's a Sugar Anonymous group that will support you. :-)

Steve

PS Okay, tongue in cheek, but it's amazing how your taste buds become more sensitive when you stop.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315294

Postby GrahamPlatt » June 4th, 2020, 7:06 pm

stevensfo wrote:The human body was never meant to process so much glucose and fructose.


I once attended a lecture given by Dennis Burkitt. He related working in Uganda. The Indian immigrants in particular had a very high incidence of diabetes. Then Idi Amin came to power and the sugar plantations stopped producing.... diabetes became rare.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315299

Postby Lootman » June 4th, 2020, 7:26 pm

GrahamPlatt wrote:
stevensfo wrote:The human body was never meant to process so much glucose and fructose.

I once attended a lecture given by Dennis Burkitt. He related working in Uganda. The Indian immigrants in particular had a very high incidence of diabetes. Then Idi Amin came to power and the sugar plantations stopped producing.... diabetes became rare.

In the early 1980s I read something that made me decide to give up sugar. I am not quite sugar-free for nearly 40 years since that isn't possible given how much sugar there is in almost any sauce or restaurant meal. But as low as I can get it.

It was a challenge as I used to have 2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar in tea, but I gradually weaned myself off it.

For cakes and the like, you can often use no sugar and just add fruit or fruit juice to provide some sweetness. I really don't miss sugar at all.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315308

Postby PrincessB » June 4th, 2020, 7:42 pm

I found a recipe online and made some flapjacks


If I'm looking for recipes online, I suffix the search with 'uk' which can help a bit to keep the sugar levels somewhat under control.

American recipes have a tendency to use a lot more sugar than I'd like.

B.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315312

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 4th, 2020, 7:53 pm

I rarely use sugar as such, though I have a small bag in the kitchen bought for non-culinary purposes. Maybe actually use it in a dessert a couple of times a year: I think once since the house move last August.

But I do eat a lot of it. Even when the strawberries aren't in season, it's in most of what we eat, and it's a major ingredient not just of fruit but of much veg - especially roots.

What seems worst nowadays is "sugar-free" products in the shops - from cereals to yoghurts to flavoured water - that assault us with ghastly artificial sweeteners. I'd much rather have honest sugar than those.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315407

Postby GoSeigen » June 5th, 2020, 6:16 am

GrahamPlatt wrote:
stevensfo wrote:The human body was never meant to process so much glucose and fructose.


I once attended a lecture given by Dennis Burkitt. He related working in Uganda. The Indian immigrants in particular had a very high incidence of diabetes. Then Idi Amin came to power and the sugar plantations stopped producing.... diabetes became rare.


Funniest thing I've read in quite some time!

Let me fix that for you:

Then Idi Amin came to power and [...]diabetes Indians became rare.


GS

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315408

Postby GrahamPlatt » June 5th, 2020, 6:37 am

You do have a point there GO. However Burkitt, aside from being a lovely man, was a very good scientist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Parsons_Burkitt

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315410

Postby GrahamPlatt » June 5th, 2020, 6:59 am

Sorry, GS.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315705

Postby bungeejumper » June 6th, 2020, 8:37 am

I'm one of those people who really don't like sweet things very much at all - I'd much rather have savoury flavours. Something wrong with my taste buds, I presume? Or my dopamine balance, or something like that?

I can just about manage a slice of cake, which is socially mandatory from time to time but really tastes pretty dreadful. I learned long ago that a Mars bar will make me feel heavy and sleepy for hours. But spare me those chocolate mousse puddings (Gϋ etc), which will ruin any dinner evening with friends, because I'll feel properly horrible.

Same goes for honey, I can manage small amounts only. In fact, the only time I eat sugar is when my wife and I are on very long car journeys and she feeds me boiled sweets every few hours to keep my energy levels up. I suppose there must be a medical name for this condition, but for the time being Old Sourpuss will have to do. ;)

BJ

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315745

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 6th, 2020, 11:02 am

bungeejumper wrote:I suppose there must be a medical name for this condition,
BJ

It's called ageing.

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Re: Why so much sugar in cakes?

#315748

Postby GoSeigen » June 6th, 2020, 11:09 am

GrahamPlatt wrote:Sorry, GS.


No need to apologise, it just appealed to my black humour.

Like Uncle, have no problem with sugar personally as it occurs naturally in so much food anyway, but find it odd that food manufacturers don't plaster their labelling with "Full of artificial sweeteners" logos -- if they're so proud of their move to these weird industrial chemicals. It would certainly help me to avoid products containing that stuff. "Low in sugar" or similar is a decent hint, but it is sometimes a challenge to find sweetener-free food now, especially soft drinks. Even Ribena has gone artificial to my annoyance -- haven't bought a single bottle since.

As for cakes, I agree with the general view that they are perfectly acceptable with lower levels of sugar. As for why recipes demand so much in the first place -- I'd guess that minimising the sugar content is simply not a priority in forming recipes, so inevitably the average recipe will contain more than absolutely necessary.


GS


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