My mom made THE BEST cake I've EVER had (Paleo or otherwise) last time I went home. Good stuff: coconut flour, eggs, butter, coconut milk, cocoa powder... and a cup of sugar. I'd like to recreate this with liquid stevia and share it on my blog, but I'm not so good with baking. I'm thinking of using 1 c. applesauce sweetened up with stevia. Any idea how this will turn out? I don't want to waste my ingredients. Any other, better ideas?
Hardly consider myself an experienced baker -- but I've had pretty good results using a ripe banana, or adding chopped dates, instead of agave nectar, syrup, honey, etc.
If you use applesauce, you will need to cut down on wet ingredients elsewhere. Use less coconut milk.
Sugar caramelizes and causes browning in baked goods. It's very difficult to get both the correct texture and flavor in baked goods without some sugar. Stevia is extremely sweet, but it's only a partial sweetness. It lacks the complete tongue sweetness that sugar has, not to mention the browning and other chemical reactions in baked goods such as feeding yeasts. For that reason it falls short as a sugar substitute unless it's combined with another sweetener to "round it out" and reintroduce some of the chemical benefits that sugar provides. Honey or blended dates are a good way of doing this. Applesauce might be all you need, but like I mentioned above you'll need to pay attention to the wet/dry ratios and coconut flour REALLY throws that off when converting recipes because of it's extremely absorbent nature. You might want to use some almond flour (which is non-absorbent) to balance that and add texture and protein.
My advice would be to read some of the grain free bakers recipes (such as Spunky Coconut) to get a good understanding of the wet/dry ratios and why sugar is used in the individual recipes in the different forms; coconut sugar, stevia, dates, maple syrup etc.
You could totally use an unsweetened applesauce sweetened with stevia - but that stuff is sweet as all get out. As in using tablespoons rather than cups. For me.. I prefer to go other routes. When I need to go sweet, outside of using macerated fruit or a fruit reduction, I use coconut crystals, coconut nectar, raw honey, maple syrup. Like.. if I were making your cake I would use: a 1 cup raw honey, 10 eggs about 1/4 a cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1tsp baking soda, salt, vanilla, 1 c coconut oil and give or take 3/4 cup coconut flour. That will give you two springform pans if you wanted to do it as a layer cake. Cut things in half and you could do a nice square 9" cake. Add a little banana - choco coconut banana cake :)
Stevia is a bit hard to come by in the UK as it's not been approved for human consumption by the European Union so shops can't sell it.
We can however grow our own and buy it off the internet for our own use. I've not used it in baking yet so would love to know how you get on.
Just to add some thoughts myself though, I do use Maple Syrup for a sweetener and have found I only need a small amount. I know some don't use it but I'm still on the fence with it. Honey is too a good sweetener.
Molasses might not be a bad idea too, although this does have a flavour that can affect whatever it is you are baking.
I use raw honey and maple syrup for sweeteners and I unsweetened applesauce in place of 1/2 the oils/butter. It works great! You can look at my substitutes at thecavewomanskitchen.com
Granulated dextrose is what Robb Wolfe recommends. My roommate makes a rad banana chocolate chip cake with unsweetened applesauce, semi-sweet dark choc chips etc. Dates or other fruits like blueberries, cherries, raspberries etc. all mashed up with a bit of honey works well too.
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