Sugar and spice – and SCIENCE!

I’m making Chai Spiced Pound Cake.

It’s the most miserable time of the year. The holidays are over, we’re all fat and hangry, and it’s super-duper cold here in Wisconsin, USA.

Normally, this is my baking weather. I’ve had this blog a few years, and have shared my hatred of cold weather and the solace I take in making and eating sugary stuff. This year is different.  I’ve been gun-shy about ye old pies and cakes because my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (not because I’ve developed an irrational fear of Pam®.)


scare spray

Although, technically, he can eat anything he wants (“anything but poison,” the nurses like to say. haha…), we have to figure out how many carbs are in everything and give him the right amount of insulin, and sometimes we don’t know how many carbs, and sometimes he just wants to eat the goodies and not get an injection, and sometimes I worry that whatever he’s eating isn’t fit for human consumption, diabetes or not. (…Pam®)

It’s put a real damper on spontaneous cupcakes and caramel corn.

That said, both of my kids love when I bake and I love making the house warm and fragrant, and having something delicious to eat once in awhile (like every day from November to April.)

Enter America’s Test Kitchen!

The latest from America’s Test Kitchen is Naturally Sweet, Bake All Your Favorites with 30-50% Less Sugar. (It’s also available on amazon.) I just found it in the library, and I am excited for a few reasons.

  1. The recipes are stalwarts reasonable people would bake, using natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, chocolate!!!) without weird and disastrous consequences. (Every scientific process is fully explained in laborious, skippable detail.) They also include ways to use plain old sugar if you can’t get your hands on Sucanat or coconut sugar – or if you just don’t want to.
  2. They are NOT the vegan weird things I’m accustomed to making where you swap out avocados and flax seed, close your eyes and pretend it tastes just like the real thing. This is a book about reducing sugar, period. Not a “healthy dessert book.” (I still like Happy Herbivore and Chocolate Covered Katie for those recipes.)
  3. It’s a classic America’s Test Kitchen tome using real ingredients, and not funkadelic sugar substitutes, packets of sugar free pudding, etc. These desserts resemble food.

Ta da! A cake to fill the emotional void left by the sun.

Time to call the kiddos and dig in!

Stick around and read more or visit me on twitter @lynnvanlier or Facebook.


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