Wednesday, 9 September 2015

My GBBO Challenge #5: Sugar-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

OCD Panic Rating: 2/5
Handwashes: too many (I was having a bad OCD day...)

I had a couple of issues with the free-from GBBO episode this week.  The sugar-free cake challenge saw contestants using honey and agave syrup, which isn't exactly going to help my diabetic grandpa.  On that basis, I went for a sugar substitute recipe, one which uses xylitol.  Not only will this not lead to a spike in blood sugar, it actually seems to have health benefits, particularly for dental health.  So I have deviated a little from the GBBO structure this week but I stand by it.

The recipe I chose is found in full here on the BBC's Good Food website.  My dad LOVES anything with a lemon flavour - it's something of a long-running joke in my family - but has always suffered with dental issues.  As mentioned before, my grandpa is diabetic as well, so this recipe seems to cover both of them well.  It's a bit weird, substituting the butter for yoghurt and oil as well as removing the sugar.  Approaching such a different version of lemon drizzle cake worried me slightly but I went in eager to give it a try,

Mixing the dry ingredients was nice and simple.  Xylitol has a very similar appearance and texture to regular sugar so there wasn't much to catch me out here.  I did grate the hell out of my thumb when I was zesting the lemon but that was user error.  Had a minor panic when putting the wet ingredients together as I realised that we didn't actually have any sunflower oil.  My husband guaranteed that vegetable oil would do the trick.  I was unsure but was also too far through the cooking process to go to the shops.  Vegetable oil was gonna have to do.  (Editor's note: Google agrees with my husband.)

Once mixed, it went into the oven to bake.  It mentions in the recipe that it needs to be watched for the last 10-15 minutes as the top can brown too much if left alone.  I definitely noticed this.  After 50 minutes, it was still light and golden; by 55 minutes, the edges had started to darken dramatically.  I put foil over the top and left it for about 15 minutes more.  This was the outer limit of the recommended cooking time but the skewer didn't come out clean after an hour.  Always trust the skewer.

For the final five minutes of baking time, I put together the drizzle, again with xylitol.  There seemed to be a lot of it so I skewered the cake all over to allow it to soak better into the cake.  Once cooled, it looked like this:

It just demanded thick-cut slicing!

The inside seemed very moist and quite dense, and I was concerned that I might have put too much of the lemon juice/xylitol mixture over the top.  Nope, it was perfect.  Juicy and light with a strong lemon flavour and aroma.  The cake does have a springy texture that could look like underbaking but I think it's just the way that the yoghurt and oil cook.  

The highest praise I can think of for this is that you would struggle to notice that it's sugar-free.  You might spot that the fat used was not butter, but the xylitol works as a straight sugar swap very well.  I can see this becoming part of my regular repertoire.

Key Points:
  • Check you have all the necessary ingredients before you start cooking, dumbass.
  • Like I said, always trust the skewer.  If you're still getting crumbs when you stick the skewer in, the cake probably needs longer in the oven.
Win Rating: 5/5

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