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How to make sugar-free classic sponge cake, and orange and almond cake

23 March 2018


SUE SIMKINS is the author of several cookery books, including Cakes from the Tooth Fairy (Interview, 16 March), which takes the guesswork out of baking with xylitol: a naturally derived sugar substitute. Here are two of her suggestions for parish events and Easter celebrations at which parents may not want their children to confuse love and joy with sugar.

Sue prefers to add fresh raising agents rather than rely on self-raising flour, and her temperatures are for a fan-assisted oven. A conventional oven usually needs to be about 20°C higher. These recipes are all made in a food processor (all measures are level).
Sue’s Classic sponge cake is made with:

175g (6 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
175g (6 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) xylitol
3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/200°F/Gas 6 and grease two 18cm (7-inch) sandwich tins. Add the raising agents to the flour. Whizz the butter and xylitol together until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and raising agents and add the eggs. Whizz again. Add the milk and whizz again until the mixture is well mixed. Pour into the tins and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. To sandwich the cakes together, use a 100-per-cent fruit spread and sieve a little finely ground xylitol on the top. Decorate it just before serving with a few fresh primrose and viola petals. For a buttery filling or topping, whisk a little xylitol into mascarpone with a drop of vanilla extract; or beat together the following:

50g (2 oz) butter, softened
2 teaspoons custard powder
25g (1 oz) xylitol, finely ground


Orange and almond cake is one of Sue’s own favourites.

1 orange, to yield 150g (5 oz) pulp
zest of 1 orange
110g (4 oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
110g (4 oz) butter, softened
110g (4 oz) xylitol
110g (4 oz) ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/ 325°F/Gas 3 and grease an 18cm (7-inch) cake tin. Scrub one of the oranges well, and cook at a simmer for about 45 minutes, until soft. Cut it up, discard the pips, central pith, and membranes, and then whizz to a pulp. Add the butter and xylitol. Sieve the flour and raising agents, and add to the mixture, together with the orange zest, almonds, and eggs, and mix thoroughly. Pour into the tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.


Sat 02 Jul @ 07:46
Climate-change protest held during Wells Cathedral eucharist https://t.co/nvAShVBkJy

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