Originally Posted by wendysue
What is the special ingredient? If you have a recipe, I'd like to add it to my collection. I've done a lot of research on this and never found anything that was truly sugar free.
There's a few ways to get the texture of sugar without using sugar. Sugar alcohols are the most popular. The recipe section of this forum has a sorbitol based cake:
Maltitol, another sugar alcohol, is a little harder to obtain, but the nice thing about it is that it can be successfully subbed for sugar 1 for 1 in just about any traditional recipe. The downside to sugar alcohols, though, is that they can be laxating if consumed in large quantities. Most diabetic/sugar free desserts use sugar alcohols, though, so if a client requests a diabetic/sugar free cake, offering then a sugar alcohol based version is perfectly acceptable.
I get my maltitol from here
Polymerized sugars are even harder to obtain than sugar alcohols (you'll only find them online), but, for more people, they are less laxating and have little to no glycemic impact, making them ideal for diabetics. These include polydextrose and inulin. Polydextrose is a common ingredient in sugar free/low carb ice cream.
Lastly, there are soluble fiber gums that, to an extent, mimic the texture of sugar in baked goods. Acacia gum (gum Arabic) is one. Diet rite cola uses gum Arabic to mimic the sugary syrupy texture in regular coke. One popular gum product is called Thickenthin Not/sugar. Not/sugar is a combination of gums, the first being acacia.
I've subbed out maltitol for sugar in cakes on many occasions. It's a no brainer. As of the last couple of years, I've been limiting both my sugar and my flour intake, making cakes a lot trickier. I have no trouble replacing the sugar component, but replacing the flour component is difficult. I've had a great deal of success with a few varieties of low carb flour subs but I'm no where near a definitive recipe. I think within 6 months I should have something.