matcha lemon almond cake - sugar-free

Weeks 44 and 45 of cake, healthy stuff and meat! And what’s up with xylitol?!

Cake news and fun

The new year ushered in a healthier period and a savoury Chinese treat.  There were a multitude of buckwheat and nut superfood biscuits (cookies) for me and mum to nibble on between all the naughty Christmas edibles still hanging around.  The biscuits were surprisingly tasty and addictive – not the sort of treat you rush towards drooling in anticipation yet once you start they’re hard to stop eating!  Especially when you’re thinking ‘Oh well, why not?  They’re good for me!’ nom nom nom. lol.

Weeks 44 and 45 of cakes - healthy

So when I left the UK and arrived home in Barcelona I adapted some cakes to make them ‘healthier’ too.  The lemon almond cake suddenly turned green with a tablespoon of matcha, plus two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, slightly reduced butter (by 10g, ahem) and xylitol instead of sugar.  I took it on a climbing trip and was surprised when all the climbers (except me and the French climber) said it was delicious.  My little green cake was a little too sweet and requires further experimentation.  Muah ha ha.  Hold on, just coming down the rock first.

Climbing in Montserrat, Collbató

Montserrat, Collbató

To xylitol or not  

Was it the xylitol that gave my cake a slightly strange taste?  Or the matcha?  Matcha has a great reputation but I feel a bit sorry for xylitol.  I think a lot of people avoid it because of its chemical-sounding name.  If it were at a party it would have to introduce itself with a cute nickname (yes, that would be ‘xyli’).  But seriously, I’ve found xylitol can be a fine substitute in baking and a great way to avoid sugar.  It’s reportedly good for your teeth and closer to sugar than Stevia in sweetness and texture, having less of a bitter aftertaste and the ability to function in sponges.  Worth looking into?  The BBC good food website have a very positive section on xylitol with a few baking tips and there’s more info and useful links on my xylitol page.

Another healthifying experiment

My attempt to healthify cakes was more successful with the passion fruit or St Clement’s raspberry tarts.  I was surprised to discover you can replace plain flour with buckwheat flour to achieve a simple and very tasty gluten-free pastry.  Yay!  I hadn’t expected buckwheat pastry to be such a delight.  And gelatine does set curds or jellies sweetened with honey or maple syrup.  Again, yay!  Producing gluten-free and refined sugar-free yummy pâtisserie is one of my missions in life. 🙂

Why aren’t my red velvet cupcakes red?

pomegranate red velvet cupcakes

pomegranate red velvet cupcakes

Well, I did some research and you can find out why on my newly published recipe for pomegranate red velvet cupcakes.  I love them so much I gave them their own post separate from their big sister, the pomegramate red velvet layer cake.  They’re so handy if you have less time and want a quick red velvet fix, or dark brown with a slight red tinge if you don’t add the food colouring.  🙂


Weeks 44 and 45 char siu bao

Meat isn’t something you often see on this blog but char siu bao are buns so fairly close cousins to cake.  Ahem.  I’m making them for Lin’s rare recipes challenge and for my stomach of course.  The recipe will be up end of January.  I love char siu bao (barbecued pork steamed buns) and the dough was just amazing so looking forward to making buns with lots of other stuff, even sweet pâtisserie fillings!  Some instagram friends like the idea of matcha white chocolate ones…

Well, hope you’ve enjoyed this latest roundup, fruit of a slight baking addiction.  Wishing you an excellent start to the new year sweet reader, baking all those things you’ve always wanted to try … and eating them! 🙂 x



Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

9 thoughts on “Weeks 44 and 45 of cake, healthy stuff and meat! And what’s up with xylitol?!”

  1. The name xylitol is quite a turnoff for me, but my impression has become very different now that I’ve heard that someone I trust with baking uses it 🙂 I have some family that is a bit diabetic and we briefly experimented with a sugar alternative (Splenda I think?), but the taste was a bit off, so instead I just make a point of sometimes using less sugar. Anyways, “xyli” sounds like something we might look into if the need for an alt arises!
    The bao look incredible, and the bread so fluffy and soft! I used to just eat the outside of char siu bao when I was younger and apparently didn’t like anything but bread. Now I like all of it of course… Can’t wait to see your recipe and the possible matcha white chocolate buns!!
    Sorry for such a rambling comment Lili! 🙂 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Laurie! It’s always lovely to hear from you and have these nice conversations. Interesting to know that the name ‘xylitol’ is not doing much for you either. Hope your family stay healthier, but I think xylitol could a good option for avoiding sugar totally, as you say. I’ve just revised my xylitol page to add more info and xylitol recipes from the bbcgoodfood site. What would be interesting is to make two cakes exactly the same but one with xylitol and one with sugar. Want to conduct a xylitol experiment? 🙂
      I loved the bao bread and can understand why you were and are so fond of it. Going to make it again soon to just check it works (and eat it, lol). Thanks for the extra encouragement to explore the matcha white chocolate filling! 🙂 Also sorry for the rambling reply Laurie! 🙂 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have a great page about xylitol Lili! With the chemically name I had assumed it was a synthetic product, not natural (I completely went with my first impression…eep, branding must be very effective on me!). Sounds like a fabulous xylitol experiment (I could also compare with whatever sugar alternative I had tried a few years ago-I still have most of it somewhere in the cupboard 🙂 ). It seems like you’ve been doing some interesting xylitol experiments of your own, and it works well in quite a few things! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Laurie! Though I often go back to sugar I’ll keep dipping into xylitol experiments every now and then. I’ll be very interested to see your experiments with sugar alternatives too… when they make it out of the cupboard. 🙂 I know you’d whip up some yummy creative cakes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Julie! Thank you, yes the red velvet cupcakes are quite lovable… wonder if I should try making them with xylitol. The texture won’t be quite the same and I know what you mean about the aftertaste but xylitol doesn’t have that so you might like to try it I find I like using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar too in cakes, which my body seems to appreciate. Your system of eating less cake is very good but I find I really like to have cake every day!!! lol 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Lin for the challenge – making them was such a lovely discovery. Just going to make some more to adapt the recipe a little, and eat them again 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

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