Diabetic-friendly orange and almond cupcakes and Rachel Allen’s red velvet cake

Cupcakes heading for the oven

Cupcakes heading for the oven

It’s been a weekend of baking experimentation. I’ve been delving into my quick recipe standby, Susannah Blake’s Cupcake Heaven and my indulgence favourite, Rachel Allen’s Bake.

For once I’m going to give out a recipe because this is my adapted version of Blake’s. My father and mother-in-law are both diabetic; I’m a strong believer that diabetics are better off having less real sugar than pumping themselves with metallic-tasting sweeteners, so as a diabetic-friendly sugar substitute I prefer to use fructose. Each of the twelve cakes ends up with about 7g of sugar in (less than a teaspoon), so even only partially replacing the sugar ought to substantially alter the Glycaemic Index of each cake. They’re not diet food, but they’re less likely to deliver a blood sugar rush than they could be. Plus there’s no added fat – the only fat is in the eggs.

Wet Ingredients

2 eggs
Zest of an unwaxed orange

Dry Ingredients

35g fructose (I used Fruisana)
55g caster sugar (see Blake’s book for original amount of sugar)
80g ground almonds
3 tbsp plain flour (this is a change from Blake’s original – see book for how to alter this step to make it gluten-free)
Flaked almonds

Beat the eggs and sugars together to make a thick, pale batter. Stir in the orange zest, then sieve in the remaining dry ingredients (except the flaked almonds) and incorporate. Divide into 12 cupcake papers, filled almost to the top, and sprinkle flaked almonds (or mixed nuts) on top. Bake for approximately 22 minutes, though I’d check after 18.

Temperature? Well, that’s the experimental bit. The original recipe calls for 180 degrees, but fructose has a lower burning point than normal sugar, so you need to reduce the temperature by up to 25 degrees – especially if, like me, you have a fan-assisted oven. The cakes came out a little darker than I would like, and I’d like to see a higher ratio of fructose – I was worried to reduce it too much as I didn’t think the egg mixture would retain the right texture and without other fats it will need to stay the right consistency. Because fructose is sweeter than sugar, these have a real toothy bite to them. Experimentation continues…

I then decided to make something truly indulgent and ridiculous, and blundered across Rachel Allen’s red velvet cake recipe. It’s stunningly moist and the icing tooth-achingly sweet with its soft meringue texture. It’s the most wonderful thick, satisfying, trashy cake. Because of its richness and sweetness, it’s possible to have just one slice and not gorge, which is just as well given the amount of butter, sugar, golden syrup and the like which go into it. I made just one layer as I was short on some of the ingredients, and substituted 125ml of milk with 1/2 tbsp of white wine vinegar (left to sit for 5-10 mins) for buttermilk as I didn’t have any. I found that substitute came up for the first four Google search results, so I trusted it, and my faith was rewarded.

It’s so brilliant to look at too… mmmmm.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s