I don’t cook every day, but I can cook. My specialties are meat dishes and vegetables. Until now, I haven’t done much with deserts. Normally, when it comes time for my wife’s birthday, I’ll go to the store, buy a premade sugar free angel food cake, and decorate it for her with sugar free whipping cream and fruit as shown here:
It’s a perfectly wonderful way to enjoy a birthday together, but I wanted to try something else this year. Unfortunately, as I previously stated, my cooking skills are of a highly practical nature and tend toward meat and vegetable dishes (such as the Brussels sprouts recipes in my Making Brussels Sprouts Palatable), so I decided to try a mix for my first baking attempt. I found a perfectly wonderful Pillsbury Sugar Free Classic Yellow mix and the accompanying Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge frosting at my local store.
In looking at the ingredient list, I did find that there is a certain amount of sugar alcohol in both products, in addition to the Splenda. When I compared the other ingredients, I didn’t see any significant differences. So, what you’re getting is a cake mix and prepared icing that has a number of artificial sweeteners in it. The calorie content of both products is lower per serving, but this is most definitely not a low calorie food. There isn’t any free lunch when it comes to excess calories.
I decided to make cupcakes instead of a cake. Making cupcakes will allow us to freeze what we can’t eat immediately and take them out a little at a time for deserts. The directions on the back of the package are easy to understand. The batter turned out nice and smooth. Spooning it into the individual cupcake cups took a bit of practice, but I got the job done. I used a toothpick to check whether the cupcakes were done. When the toothpick is clean, the cupcakes are ready to go. Here’s a picture of me putting the frosting on.
I did cheat a little and added some sprinkles to the cupcakes. So, they did end up having a modicum of sugar on them after all. Here’s the final result:
As you can see, I had a little trouble keeping the cupcakes an even size. I’m sure that I’ll get better with practice. We ended up with 21 cupcakes instead of the 24 that the package said we were supposed to get. Even so, some of the cupcakes were a bit on the small side. Rebecca says she usually gets 18 cupcakes out of a package and I must admit that if mine had been more evenly sized, I probably would have gotten 18 too. Unless you want truly pathetic looking cupcakes, you won’t get 24 out of the package.
So, what did they taste like? The cupcakes turned out moist and I didn’t notice any difference from any other packaged cupcake I’ve eaten (I tried one without frosting so I could check the cupcake, rather than the cupcake with frosting). There wasn’t any difference in consistency either. Overall, I think someone would be hard pressed to tell the difference between these cupcakes and any other mix.
The frosting is a little smother than canned frosting with sugar in it and a bit less sweet. The frosting lacked any sort of aftertaste though, so you couldn’t really taste the artificial sweeteners. Even so, if someone thought it might be a sugar free product, they’d probably be able to tell the difference in the frosting. It doesn’t taste bad (quite the contrary), it’s just a little different.
My first experiment with sugar free baking has been a success, so I’ll try it again in the future. The next time I’ll try baking a cake. If you’re on a diet or diabetic, I can recommend this combination though as a sweet alternative to losing control over sugar.