Function of sugar in cakes

Sugar used in cooking comes from either sugar cane or sugar beet

Use Food Science You Can Eat to help

Intrinsic sugars are contained within the cell structure of foods such as fruit and vegetables.
Extrinsic sugars are sugars added to a product during preparation such as caster sugar added to make cakes.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommended that free sugar should be no more than 5%
of daily energy.
Definition of free sugars – those sugars added by manufacturers and cooks plus sugars from
honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Functional properties of sugar (sucrose)
• Provides sweetness to products.
• Dissolves and made into a syrup.
• When heated will caramelise and provide golden brown colour to the product.
Combines with yeast will speed the fermentation process.
• Helps aerate a mixture during the creaming method when combined with fat.
• Acts a preservative in jam.
• Keeps the product moist.

“Sugar gives us that delicious texture and crumb, the lovely golden brown colour and it prolongs how long we can store our bakes”
“Sugar also keeps baked goods moist so sugar-free versions may need to be wrapped in cling film before storage to prevent drying out.” Good Food’s Nutritional Therapist Kerry Torrens

Health risks of too much sugar in your diet
• Tooth decay, Obesity, Type 2 diabetes.
Ways of lowering the sugar content in dishes
• In most baked recipes you can reduce the sugar content by up to 30% but test the recipe!
• You can use artificial sweeteners which often provide no calories. They are sweeter than sugar but some lose their sweetness when heated so the cake will collapse.
• If using fruit that has edible skin such as apples, remove the skin as it is has a sharp flavour and needs extra sugar to make it more edible.
• Use dried fruit in a cake mix. Fruits such as raisins, apricots or figs are high in natural sugar.

Working characteristics – how the ingredient behaves, its performance or how it is used to its best advantage, when in a recipe cooked on its own, or as an accompaniment.
Functional properties  – the purpose for which the ingredient is being used and can be linked to its: structure, nutritional value, taste, texture, appearance, shelf life.

These are exam board definitions – I think they mean the same!!!

Sugar substitutes  – alternative ingredients Xylitol

Sugar explained

Stevia Agave 

Sugar free baking   – blog with information on sugar