baking (and sugar)

Do you bake? And do you question the recipe?

I do both.

Actually, it’s not so much that I question the recipe, it’s more that I question how much sugar is  called for. And butter. Do we really need that much? Will the recipe work with less?sugar

Sometimes brownies/cake/cookies do need that full amount of butter and sugar to become the delicious sweet treat they are when you pull the pan from the oven. But other times it really is too much sugar or butter and the recipe will be fine with less.

Take banana bread/muffins/cake. The bananas are already so sweet, you don’t usually need much sugar. Of course you can’t just leave it out, because consistency-wise you’re messing with timing and finished texture. You have to adjust.

banana bread (cake)

And brownies: most recipes usually call for a lot of sugar, and you can lessen it without a great disappointment, but if you mess around too much you won’t end up with brownies so much as chocolate cake –  still nice, but not what you were after.

So. I made some banana bread (in a bundt pan) with no sugar. Yes, 1 tablespoon of honey, but that’s not a lot. Just the spoon of honey and some soft bananas. I’ve adjusted the recipe over time to leave out the sugar and add oats; I include cinnamon, and bake it in a bundt pan for a quicker time in the oven. It looks like a ring of cake, tastes like a dense loaf and satisfies on the treat-front, without sugar overload.

banana bread (cake)

Certainly I still bake sugar-heavy desserts sometimes, too. And some treats are not the same if you try to take away large amounts of butter and sugar – Nanimo bars are basically custard and sugar held together with melted butter and melted chocolate but I know not to mess with that!

But when you mix sweet bananas with flour, oats and eggs, the sugar can stay in the pantry.


  1. I often lower the amount of sugar, replace oil with applesauce and sometimes replace sugar with honey or another natural sweetener. Sometimes I mess up the consistency, but my boys are always starving and really aren’t picky when it comes to any cake, bread or cookie. My husband is a different story…


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