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Stevia is a natural sweetener that has been used in South America for centuries. In Argentina and Brazil it has been widely used since the 18th century, the Guarani tribe in Paraguay has long used the fresh stevia leaves as a natural sweetener to hot beverages. Greece picked up on the trail relatively recently. From 2011 onwards, producers in mainland Greece decided to innovate their crops. The fields that used to grow tobacco changed to the leafy green stevia plant. It has been a huge success story. Stevia is loved both for its great taste and of course the amazingly low calories.
Stevia is an excellent sugar substitute, a teaspoon amounts for only a 0,2% of calories whilst it is 3 times sweeter than normal sugar. This means you only need a small portion to get a great sweet flavour. Stevia seems to be the ideal alternative for anyone with diabetes as the glucose it contains doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin levels. It is widely used in fizzy drinks but the best is that you can take it home and make wonders with it. How about a guilt free chocolate cake?
This chocolate cake has olive oil and yogurt and it is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. Remember that when used for baking stevia is a lot sweeter than sugar. You will need to adjust the amount of sugar, normally a teaspoon of stevia equals to a cup of sugar. To make up the bulk missing from subtracting the sugar, you can choose another filler. Fruit purees and juices make great substitutes, we went for yogurt though for the excellent moist texture that it gives to the cake.
To top our stevia chocolate cake, a quick tangerine and cardamom jam seems to be just the thing.
1. In a large bowl place the eggs and beat them lightly. Add the yogurt, and then the olive oil.
2. Start integrating the dry ingredients into the mix, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and of course stevia.
3. Oil lightly a 26cm round cake tin and add the mix.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for approximately 35-40 minutes.
For the jam
1. Separate the tangerines and remove any seeds by making a small incision in the middle and gently pushing the seeds out.
2. Place in a food processor to get a rough puree.
3. Transfer the tangerine in a medium sized pot along with the cardamom and the stevia.
4. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the mixture is thickened.
5. Add the lemon juice just before removing from the hob.
6. You can place the tangerine jam in sterilised container to keep for later or simply cool and serve along with your cake.
Yogurt is one of the oldest and most loved fermented foods. It is known around the world for centuries. In ancient Greece the precursor of yogurt was oxygala, a dairy product that must have tasted somewhere between modern sour cream and yogurt.
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