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  • cake question, what to use instead of sugar and flour

    so if a recipe calls for you to cream the butter and sugar... what do you use as an alternative?? I'd like to try and adapt my favourite recipe for lemon sour cream cake. I tried making it once using almond flour and it was just miles too heavy. I havent tried without sugar yet. Just interested to know if anyone has had any joy at replacing these items in any of their favourite recipes.

  • #2
    If I need something granular like sugar, I use Z-sweet erythritol.

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    • #3
      I wonder if that is something I would find in NZ?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
        If I need something granular like sugar, I use Z-sweet erythritol.
        Will have to try that -- I don't have much call for something granular these days (just for my espresso!), but when I do I've been using Lakanto, which also has erythritol as the primary ingredient and luo han guo extract (also supposedly zero glycemic index & comparable to stevia in many respects) as the second and only other ingredient. It's a one for one granular sugar substitute.

        I still haven't gotten my few-times-a-week espresso down to completely black, and while I still add a drop or two of stevia to my green & white tea, the stevia just plain doesn't cut it for me in the espresso -- the half teaspoon of Lakanto I add (which is down from more than a teaspoon of sugar!) fills in for the sugar nicely. It supposedly works anywhere you would use sugar, but it's quite expensive (and definitely NOT ZC: 4g per teaspoon, so it wouldn't take much to rack up the carbs...) -- fortunately, at a half teaspoon a few times a week it's been lasting me forever! Will have to check out the Z-sweet. Also, not saying it's primal, but it barely puts a dent in my 20%...

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        • #5
          The truth is that you cannot successfully adapt a recipe that uses flour and sugar to produce an end product that is primal. You can make something new and different, but not the same as before. Baking relies on specific chemical reactions and leavening agents. Without the chemical reactions and the ability to incorporate the carbon dioxide that results from the leavening agent (baking powder/yeast/baking soda) you will not obtain the results you're accustomed to.

          For example, think about double acting baking powder, the kind commonly used for cakes and cookies. First, the baking powder reacts to the liquid and then it reacts to the heat. If there's an acid in the liquid (lemon juice, buttermilk), the baking powder has an even stronger reaction. The baking powder needs light, airy ingredients to make its leavening ability useful. If you substitute heavier flours such as almond or coconut for traditional white flour, the new flours are not light enough to gain the desired response as the baking powder rises. Also, because these flours don't have gluten in them, which is the protein that stretches and becomes an elastic web, capable of capturing the gases that are created by the leavening agents, your product simply cannot react to the properties of the leavening agent.

          The sugar in your recipes also plays an important role in the finished product. All sugars absorb moisture, keeping that moisture intact while protecting the proteins (structure builders) in the flour and eggs. You incorporate the fat and the sugar to combine oxygen, building a fluffier end product that can't be matched without the sugar. If you decrease the sugar, there is more moisture available for the flour to absorb, and the end result will be tougher and much less palatable, regardless of the sweetness. Sugar plays an important role in increasing the stability of whipped egg whites, which is why less sugar in a meringue results in a flatter, tougher, far less enjoyable product.

          I think the chemistry of baking and cooking is absolutely fascinating, and it helps to understand it when you're trying to adapt recipes. Rather than attempting the transformation of a recipe that relies on chemical reactions that are only possible with non-primal ingredients, it's easier to adapt recipes such as brownies, which don't rise much even in traditional recipes, or crumb crusts with creamy fillings. Or, of course, become accustomed to heavier results.

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          • #6
            My question is, why bother making things that aren't Primal?
            Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

            Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


            Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

            My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

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            • #7
              Griff, I think the OP is trying to primalize a non-primal recipe, which I totally agree is simply a waste of time. But, for some people, creating baked goods helps their family respond better to primalizing their food. For others, it's a misguided attempt to keep their diet as close to "before" as possible.

              Since I began following the PB, I haven't been tempted at all to create what Dr. Kurt Harris refers to as candy cigarettes (http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2...igarettes.html). Actually, maybe quoting Dr. Harris here is the best idea:

              "Does anyone agree that “paleo pancakes” taste like complete shite unless absolutely smothered in hepatotoxic sucrose/ and or butter?
              Why not just have 4 eggs fried in butter, cream in your coffee, and a few ounces of unfried almonds?
              Why mash it together into a “pancake” if it’s not about the sugar?

              If it’s because your kids will scream without a sugar vehicle (we all know 4-year-olds are more physically powerful than crossfitters and are messed with at your peril!), what will your kids do the first morning at University in the breakfast line when there is pile of all-you-can eat pancakes? Will they know there’s wheat flour in place of the ground-up almonds you’ve been conditioning them with?

              Would it not be better to train your kids, and yourself, to avoid Neolithic food by the simplest expedient there is? So simple a child could manage it?
              Something as simple as a simple rule.
              A rule like:
              Don’t eat anything that looks like Neolithic food, especially Neolithic food."

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              • #8
                Sharonll,

                I think that you have a valid point, and yes it is true that we should not expect to be able to make fluffy Viennese confections in our primal ways. It is however fun to build on grandmother's baking in a new and healthy primal way. When we do eat baked goods, they are usually not very sweet and only get consumed on higher carb days. You may also want to take a look at our pancakes or mark's daily apple pancakes they are amazing. :-)

                It continues to amaze me that our friends cannot teach their small children to appreciate real foods. I just hope that with each one of us here in the forums, our blogs, our interactions, we can help people eat just a little better and become healthier...one bite at a time.

                Thanks for all of your insight!
                Nutty Kitchen

                cook for life!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Griff View Post
                  My question is, why bother making things that aren't Primal?
                  As sharon said, I was wondering how to primalize one of my favourite cakes. Maybe I should just stick to 80/20 though and have cake when I feel like it... which to be honest is pretty rare to begin with. But I thought it might be nice to try and make something that tasted similar but being a more "healthy" option for me to take to work with me one day. (i have just got a new kitchen installed and my workmates keep having me on about bringing in some baking)

                  Some very interesting comments though. I hadnt really given any thought to the chemistry of baking.

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                  • #10
                    Hi Suse,

                    I'm not sure what Lemon Sour Cream Cake is, but it sounds cool, moist and creamy. Perhaps you could experiment a bit to create some sort of primal smoothie with similar flavors instead?

                    Edit: As for baking for others, I get asked to do this as well (since I'm awesome at it ) but I've found that the more I care about whoever it is, the less I want to feed them unhealthy things.
                    Last edited by MmmFat; 04-20-2010, 03:28 PM.
                    "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -- Virginia Woolf

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                    • #11
                      A smoothie wont cut the mustard I'm afraid. sometimes it is the texture of something that you long for! A nice light fluffy cake ! I'll certainly experiment and see what I can come up with though that is a bit healthier than the current recipe.

                      It's all early days for me at this stage. I've just purchased stevia to put in my tea so thats a start in the sugar reduction.

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                      • #12
                        Does anyone know if there is a recipe anywhere for a primal cheesecake?

                        Or is that not possible.
                        A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bushrat View Post
                          Does anyone know if there is a recipe anywhere for a primal cheesecake?

                          Or is that not possible.
                          Not only is it possible, it's way easier than trying to make something "primal" out of anything grain-based!

                          http://www.sonofgrok.com/2009/02/time-for-cheesecake/

                          I make this recipe without crust, use only egg yolks (no whites), and substitute coconut cream for the sour cream.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by frogfarm View Post
                            Not only is it possible, it's way easier than trying to make something "primal" out of anything grain-based!

                            http://www.sonofgrok.com/2009/02/time-for-cheesecake/

                            I make this recipe without crust, use only egg yolks (no whites), and substitute coconut cream for the sour cream.
                            I'm not going to make the crust either because its more work than the tasty part. Why not use sour cream or egg whites? Also could you substitute something else for sour cream beside coconut?

                            Finally, do you reckon a plain cheesecake (e.g. no strawberries) would taste ok? Or should I add more vanilla?
                            Last edited by Bushrat; 04-21-2010, 05:29 AM.
                            A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bushrat View Post
                              I'm not going to make the crust either because its more work than the tasty part. Why not use sour cream or egg whites? Also could you substitute something else for sour cream beside coconut?
                              If you aren't concerned about overloading on dairy, go for the sour cream! I can't think of any other substitutes right offhand, but I'm sure there's a couple. I like the CC because it's non-dairy and high in awesome fats, plus it helps add a bit of sweetness without extra sweetener. I use yolks alone because I prefer the texture and taste (okay, I'm not eating this stuff now, but if I wouldn't eat it why would I serve it to my friends and family?), and also because it keeps the protein-fat balance weighted in favor of the fat.

                              Finally, do you reckon a plain cheesecake (e.g. no strawberries) would taste ok? Or should I add more vanilla?
                              If I didn't want to serve it with fruit, then more vanilla (homemade is best of course). And possibly sweetener -- what kind to use and how much is an eternal debate, but I always add as little as possible. The last cheesecake I made was 3 packages of cream cheese, 5 egg yolks and a half a can of coconut cream, made roughly 8 servings, but only had 1 tablespoon of honey for the whole thing. Got a five-star review from my friend who still eats Little Debbie snacks despite being mostly paleo
                              Last edited by frogfarm; 04-21-2010, 09:40 AM. Reason: added more fat

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