It’s National Baking Week, so we’ll begin by asking two questions.
Question 1: when was the last time you baked something that was made from scratch?
Question 2: when was the last time you cooked a meal that was prepared from scratch?
We’re willing to bet that you pretty much all said last night, the other day, or last week to question 2, but the answers to question 1 would more likely be, I can’t remember, or I never bake.
It’s fair to say that baking is a funny old game.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, or the bible as it’s known if you work on the food industry, home baking has been in continual decline for over 10 years.
Yes, we all love watching The Great British Bake Off, but that doesn’t then make us want to get the baking tin and rolling pin out create a showstopper ourselves?
And the reason for this? Well, it’s seen as time-consuming, messy and unhealthy, which goes against many of the consumer trends we are seeing. Gluten, diary and other food intolerances and allergies also stack things against baking
However, you can’t deny that as a nation we still have a sweet tooth and there are still ways of baking which won’t make you feel guilty at the end.
There are now lots of low or no sugar baking recipes out there. You can use sugar substitutes, for example, like Xylitol or Steviwor use more natural sugars like honey, fruit and vegetables. Yes, you heard us correctly. Vegetables like carrots, parsnips and beetroot all work surprisingly well in sweet treats.
If you watch Bake Off, you know that butter is used. A lot. But if you are watching the calories or lactose intolerant it’s not the spread for you, so substitute it with oils, coconut butter and nutritional yeast.
If time is an issue for you when it comes to baking, it’s ok to cut corners by using ready-to-bake mixes – we won’t tell!
What we’re trying to say is that don’t give up on baking. It’s a wonderful thing and it is possible to still have your cake and eat it. And on that note…
Sugar-free, low fat chocolate brownies
- oil, for greasing
- 170g self-raising flour
- 40g cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g butter, cubed
- 100ml/3½fl oz skimmed milk
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 200g sweet potato, finely grated
- 1 large very ripe mashed banana.
- Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas 6. Grease and line the base and sides of a square cake tin with baking parchment.
- Mix the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl before making a well in the centre.
- Put the butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, then add the eggs, sweet potato and banana, stirring vigorously.
- Pour slowly into the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to form a thick batter. Pour into the prepared tin.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is risen and just firm to the touch.
- Serve warm or leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.