Gingerly with Sugar-Generous with Goodness

The hummingbirds are back and my household sugar usage increases six fold. Unlike the hummingbirds, I don't need added sugar. My homemade muesli I ate for breakfast has some (in the form of honey). That glass of wine I may enjoy on a weekend has some added sugar. The bread I make requires sugar to feed the yeast. So the sweet desserts I make are infrequent and small.

In the Healthy Cafe I once managed, all of our desserts had less than 12 grams of added sugar. That goal corresponded to the American Heart Association guidelines that recommend no more than 25 grams daily of added sugar for women and children and no more than 36 grams for men.

One teaspoon of sugar (white, brown or powdered) has 4 grams of sugar. The same goes for any form of sugar such as in syrups (honey, agave nectar or molasses). In dessert recipes, the grams of added sugar in one portion can exceed the daily recommended amount.

So where do I begin? First I scale down the recipe to make fewer portions in a smaller pan. We're two senior citizens who can't eat a whole cake. I make one layer cakes instead of two and allow for smaller portions. Then I reduce the sugar amount listed in the recipe. In many recipes (depending on the source) sugar can be reduced by one third. 

Vanilla, cinnamon and dried fruit adds sweetness to recipes. This recipe has all of those and is a good source of fiber which allows the sugar to be absorbed much slower.

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Icing (Serves 5) Beat sugar and egg in bowl of electric mixer.
3 tablespoon sugar
1 egg

In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce, oil, vanilla and raisins. 
3 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup raisins, chopped

In another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoon whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Add carrots and walnuts to dry flour mix.
3 1/3 cup carrots, grated by hand
1/3 cup walnuts, ground

To mixing bowl, alternately add flour mix to oil mix, beginning and ending with flour mix. Stir only until combined.

Scrape batter into a 7 inch pan greased with olive oil spray. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake 20-25 minutes more, until pick inserted into center comes our clean. May need to cover the last 5 minutes of baking.

Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  

Whip together mascarpone with powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and salt.
Frost top of cake.  Sprinkle with grated ginger.  Mascarpone cheese requires refrigeration. I refrigerated the frosting and iced each portion of cake when eating.
5 ounce mascarpone
2 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon evaporated skim milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
2 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 serving of cake has 12 grams of added sugar and 4 grams of fiber. Sugar adds tenderness to a cake. Recommended baking ratios allow 1/2 cup sugar per 1 cup flour. That ratio is met in this recipe.

As a bonus, here is a recipe for hummingbird food: 

Hummingbird Food (Fills 2 feeders) In a large saucepan, stir sugar into water.
1 quart water
1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

it is not necessary to add red food coloring- just place food in a red feeder.  
Empty any old food, rinse and fill feeders. Refrigerate any leftovers. 
Replace mixture once a week.