Well, I’m back at it again with the sugar-free baking experiments. This time, instead of using the dreaded Splenda though, I thought I’d give Stevia a try instead. I’ve never been a huge fan of Splenda because of how heavily it is processed (which can’t be good for you), plus there is always a chemically aftertaste, so Stevia is my “fake” sweetener of choice. Stevia is a totally natural, plant-based sweetener which I’m sure most of you already know about. It’s great though because it doesn’t raise blood sugar–which, for us diabetics, is critical–it resists heat up to 377 degrees, is low carb, has no calories, and doesn’t have a strong aftertaste (although some might debate that). The only problem with baking with it though, despite all these positive selling points, is the volume decrease it causes since you use less of it than you would sugar. To make up for that, you can either add applesauce, yogurt, or sour cream (depending on the recipe). As a general rule, for every 1 cup of sugar that is replaced by Stevia, 1/4-1/2 c. of the bulk should be added…hopefully that helps.
The overall result was much more pleasant than the cupcakes I made with Splenda, both in texture and moisture level. The vanilla flavor could have been more prominent I thought, but I was generally very pleased with the outcome. When compared to my beloved pound cake recipe, which I use frequently as a base for most other flavors, it actually wasn’t that much different! Now that’s exciting! One thing I would have probably done differently though was spray the tops of the batter with cooking oil before I put them in the oven, since Stevia doesn’t caramelize like sugar (which is why baked goods always have that “golden brown” hue to them).
So anyway, it would be selfish of me to keep this recipe all to myself since it was so good (much better than the chocolate cupcakes with Splenda…sorry!), so here ya go:
SF Vanilla² Cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons Stevia extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, stevia, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sour cream and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cool completely before trying to frost.
Now for the “almost” sugar-free part of these cupcakes…the buttercream. We had en epic battle with each other when I made the first batch and the score ended up being Caitlin: 0/Buttercream: 1. I tried using my sugar-free buttercream recipe I had discovered earlier, but we just weren’t getting along (as you can see from the picture below…and yes, that is icing, believe it or not.) Instead of using powdered sugar, I made a mixture of powdered milk, cornstarch, and Splenda *gasp!* to replace the powdered sugar and did everything else like I normally would when making buttercream. Turns out, you can’t replace powdered sugar in icing, I don’t care how hard you try, it’s just not gonna happen. So after my first attempt, I decided to just make a normal buttercream full of real sugar and delicious Haitian vanilla. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…right?
So anyway, despite a couple bumps in the road, I think these little guys turned out just fine. I would highly recommend using Stevia in place of Splenda, or regular sugar for the matter, if you looking for a healthier alternative to things. It’s also exceptional in coffee! I hope you enjoy this recipe and you can look forward to many more recipes with Stevia to come! Until next time…