Happy Mother's Day, mom (even if I am a bit late).
I have a great deal of skill with baking. Mom taught me science and math with cookies, then when I knew my facts set me loose in the kitchen. By 8 years old, I was used to the ideal that if I wanted sweets, I had to bake them myself. Mom's thinking was that I knew how, so I should use what she taught me.
Over the years there have been plenty of new ingredients, plenty of failures, and even more successes. Mom was always the first person I asked when something went wrong, and she could often give me more science to explain how to make nearly anything better. Because of all this practice, I was the first person asked to help when a friend found out she had a gluten sensitivity. If anyone could figure out how to make cake without wheat flour, I could.
Unfortunately the woman I can thank for all of this is also unable to eat most of it. By 8 years old, I can remember mom blacking out from a small ice cream sunday shared with a friend. Sugar was something she'd always been sensitive to, and she'd been steadily reducing it in our food, but it was about that time that she had to stop eating birthday cake with everyone else.
We tried plenty of thing to make a good cake, worthwhile cookies, and a decent cheesecake. The cheesecake was the only real success. You see sugar has a special role in some recipes. It can melt, making little pockets along with baking soda an baking powder that make for a fluffy cake texture. The attempted NutraSweet cake severed better as a Frisbee than it did as a food. Even if we could get around the lack of loft, many alternative sweeteners are heat sensitive, so I can make Splenda meringue, but not Splenda cake because the sweetness bakes right out.
Now I finally have made a breakthrough. I spent quite a bit of time learning the ins and outs of an eggless chocolate muffin recipe. Because I know how it works with regular sugar, I can trouble shoot better. This time I got to make it with unrefined coconut sugar. I would know just what happened if it failed and if it worked I have muffins that taste like cupcakes.
It's not exactly a fail. The unrefined coconut sugar is not quite as sweet as regular white sugar, so the muffins didn't get the milk chocolate flavor I'm used to. What I have instead is more like a 'Death by Chocolate', rich dark chocolate that's moist, fluffy, and tender just like a cake should be. Since mom loves her dark chocolates, this was a happy accident.
The coconut sugar is only a 35 on the glycemic index, where regular white sugar is a 65. With the whole wheat flour I used having a glycemic index of 44, that means my sweetener is even lower than a whole grain. Even though it's very low on the glycemic index and doesn't cause her blood sugar to spike and crash(ending in black outs), it MELTS just like the table sugar. All of this add up to the promise of a birthday cake the whole family can eat.