Making sugar free cakes is definitely an art, and it can take a few attempts to get the right balance of ingredients to deliver a tasty, good-looking cake. Making tasty toppings for cakes and Cupcakes requires a little ingenuity too and the opportunities range from the very simple to the complex. Because sugar adds to the longevity of recipes as well as to the taste, most of these toppings will only last in perfect condition for 48 hours, some for only 24, so bear that in mind when choosing your topping.
Simple Fruit Topping
The easiest way to top a large cake is to melt some sugar-free jam (obtainable from chemists or specialist food stores) and brush over the top of the cake, before adding fresh fruit and nuts in an attractive pattern. The best fruits to use are satsumas and tangerines, red and white seedless grapes and raspberries. Flaked almonds and chopped hazelnuts can be sprinkled between rings or triangles of fruit to give an elegant contrast.
Five Minute Topping
This topping requires an Electric Mixer – while it can be made with any flavour of sugar free pudding, the chocolate ones tend to appear a little anaemic when mixed with the cheese. Strawberry has an attractive soft pink colour and the flavour can be enhanced by topping the cakes with sliced strawberries fanned out over the top of the cake.
- 250g (9oz) packet of sugar free strawberry pudding
- 200g (7oz) cream cheese.
Make up the pudding according to the directions on the packet and set aside. Using the electric blender, soften the cream cheese slightly by blending it on low power for a few seconds, then add the pudding mix and blend well. This topping covers 24 small cakes or one large layer cake, keeps in the fridge for 48 hours and will hold well on the cake for up to three days.
If you use a vanilla flavour pudding, you can add around 100g of crushed fresh pineapple or the same amount of apricot pulp (use either fresh sieved apricots or dried ones you have rehydrated overnight and sieved) to make a tangy topping with a pretty peach tone. Keeps for 48 hours.
Sugar-Free Cream Cheese Topping
This can be very easy to make and is the ideal choice if your guests can tolerate concentrated apple juice. It has a delicious almost cidery flavour. Concentrated apple juice can be found at specialist food shops and many delicatessens.
- 50ml (2fl oz) apple juice concentrate
- 500g (1lb 2oz)cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons plain gelatine.
Set aside two tablespoons of the apple juice to activate the gelatine. Beat the remaining apple concentrate, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and set aside.
Using a small, heavy-bottomed pan, mix the gelatine into the reserved juice concentrate with a wooden spoon. Leave to stand for one minute and then heat until it boils, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and continue to stir for two minutes to dissipate some of the heat before beating into the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for an hour to encourage the icing to ‘set’. Makes enough to cover 24 cupcakes or one layer cake which will keep for several days once iced.