“My name’s Lisa and I’ve been addicted to sugar for 44 years.”
Call it a sweet tooth, call it sugar cravings, if it’s not savoury I’ll probably love it!
I’ve used artificial sweeteners in tea & coffee since I was a teenager and, ignorantly, thought they were all made the same way until just a few years ago. You may remember my self-imposed aspartame detox! Since the symptoms I described back then were diagnosed as a form of migraine I’ve tried to introduce more natural ways of sweetening foods. Honey, agave nectar, and, coconut nectar have been of great use, but, what about baking. I’m finding that, as I’m already substituting so many ingredients when making something from scratch, using artificial sweetener is just one more step closer to disaster!
My dentist suggested xylitol but that can only be used in the smallest amounts or you suffer the consequences of unpleasant side effects so what next?
A burst of Stevia based products hit the shelves a few years ago so I tried a couple of those. My tastebuds just couldn’t acclimatise and I didn’t bother trying again for a couple of years. Tesco have a new (to me) tablet dispenser of a sweetener made with Stevia and I’ve been using it in my drinks trying to wean myself off the hermesetas, yes, only hermesetas not heroin but it’s still taking some doing. I’m on one of each in a mug of tea in the hope that the next time I make a shopping list I won’t
want need the blue container at all! One thing about the tablets though is they take an absolute age to dissolve so when I was offered the chance to try some of the Natvia range including their 2g sticks for hot drinks I quickly said yes please!
To make the unique blend, Natvia use the freshest tips of Stevia plants and it has plenty of benefits:
100% fewer calories than sugar
Low Glycemic Index
Absolutely nothing artificial
Natvia is said to have been crafted to complement coffee and well it might for a lot of people but, I’m a coffee wimp and like it weak and milky so going straight in with pure Natvia didn’t work for me. However, it was a straight away success in my tea, yay.
More importantly of course was how it would work in baking. We all love cake, some of us more than is good for us, so it’s a good idea to try and make it just a little bit healthier if we can right?!
There was a recipe in my Natvia parcel for 3 ingredient chocolate cake. Had to be done; what could go wrong? What could go wrong? Have I met me?!
This cake looked too good not to try and as for once I had the ingredients already at home so I looked forward to this baking session.
Then I read the method…”separate eggs”, “double boiler”, “stiff peaks”, “gently fold”… all designed to strike fear into the heart of a person that hasn’t bothered with much of that palaver since Home Economics at school!
But, in for a penny , in for a pound, we gave it a jolly good go. I managed to impress myself with my egg-separation technique of balance the yolk back and forth between the 2 halves of shell…must’ve seen someone do that on Come Dine With Me 😉 Of course I don’t have such a thing as a double boiler and didn’t even recognise the term but I guessed what was required when I saw it was to melt the chocolate. It’s bad to admit I’ve always just stuck in the microwave and hoped for the best isn’t it?!
I wanted to do this as properly as possible though so I fashioned myself a double boiler with a glass bowl and a saucepan; the biggest problem being that my largest glass bowl is still smaller than the mouth of my smallest saucepan! Botheration. Had a lightbulb moment and balanced the bowl on a metal sieve across the saucepan and it worked!
Having conquered the first stages my biggest mistake was thinking the chocolate had cooled enough to add the egg yolks. It hadn’t. The recipe says “luke warm”, my dizzy-migraine/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-fizzy-fingers can’t really differentiate much between the varying temperatures of hot to cold. It felt neither hot or cold so I guessed it must be about right. I guessed wrong and ended up with what clearly resembled a portion of chocolate flavoured scrambled egg!
Confidence went up again when I did manage to whisk the egg-whites to suitable degree (home-made meringue may yet be in my future), confidence then plummeted when trying to gently fold anything with my lumpy chocolate mixture proved nigh on impossible.
As I said, in for a penny, in for a pound and I expect the whole street heard me laugh out loud at the instruction to pour the batter into the cake tin! Pour? More like scrape!
I ended up with a very flat but amazingly unlumpy cake that, though it resembled a slightly burnt chocolate omelette, tasted pretty perfect.
I was expecting it to be very bitter with it being 85% dark chocolate and not sugar, but it’s lovely. The advice to serve warm is spot on. On subsequent days I’ve been microwaving a portion for 30 seconds in the microwave.
This recipe only needs 2 tablespoons of Natvia, don’t recall making a cake with that little amount of sugar in!
I also used some of the icing sugar with some cocoa for the dusting. Delicious.
If you do your grocery shopping through Ocado the Natvia range is now available there, I expect other supermarkets will pick up on it soon.
And, of course, like everything, you can get it on Amazon too 🙂
Do you prefer to use sugar or sweetener in your baking?
*Natvia provided a variety of sweetener products for me to try so that I could share my honest opinion.
Amazon link is affiliated.