We're becoming experts in sugar free baking, so we thought you'd like to hear our top tips for trying it at home!
· Use raw cacao nibs and raw cacao powder instead of chocolate. Surprisingly, even dark 70% cocoa chocolate may contain sugar, as can cocoa powder. Raw cacao has a rich flavour and is a good source of minerals (e.g. like iron)
· Use fruit purées instead of syrups, treacle or honey. Syrups add a gooey texture to traybakes, cookies and tarts which is hard to recreate... However, fruit purées supply sweetness and moisture and can make a useful alternative.
· Use wholemeal flour instead of refined white flour, or go totally gluten free. Although it may not be a sugar itself, refined white flour is digested really quickly, which may aggravate blood sugar levels. Use wholemeal flour to slow the rate at which your body absorbs all forms of sugar. The best cake flours for gluten free purposes are almond flour coconut flour (the cheaper of the two), or a mix.
· Use vanilla pods instead of vanilla extract. They're relatively small in terms of their sugar contribution in cakes, but they're still a processed sugar you may choose to avoid. You can make the pricey pod go a little further but removing the seeds and infuse the pods in yoghurt or cream.
· Use homemade fruit jams instead of store-bought jam, compotes or conserves. Even jams and conserves with no added sugar are still a concentrated source due to their high fruit content. You have greater control over the sugar content when you make it yourself, and there are zero sugar recipes if you search online.
· Use lighter toppings in place of icing, buttercream and frosting - these little extras can more than double the calories per portion. Instead, sprinkle your cake lightly with cacao powder, cinnamon or ground ginger. Use cream cheese topping flavoured with citrus zest, or a fresh cream filling with some seasonal fruit.
And if it all gets too much, we deliver!
The Team at 280 Bakes
We're quietly making plans to launch our zero sugar cake range in February... here's a sneak preview!
So, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. Once I'd got over the shock, I figured out it basically means I have to be careful how much sugar - including starchy carbohydrates like pasta and rice - I eat until after baby is born.
The bad news: My new diet means cutting out cake as it generally has has both sugar and starchy carbs (flour) in it!
How ironic. A baker who can't eat cake.
Diabetes sufferers aside, why should everyone be more careful about the amount of sugar we're eating?
- Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay.
- Weight gain is more common with high sugar diets, with children being particularly at risk.
- Sugar is hidden in lots of food items you may not consider, making it harder to eat less without some thought.
More advice on reducing your sugar intake can be found on the NHS website.
Anyway! Looking for the silver lining, an excuse to still eat cake, and with my business head on, I have created a collection of recipes which are both zero sugar and with no traditional cake flour.
How do we make cakes without sugar and flour?
- Many of our new recipes use artificial sugars (e.g. xylitol).
- Some use fruit to sweeten.
- None of the cakes use plain or self raising flour, 100% gluten free flour, like almond flour.
- And, of course, we have vegan recipes available too!
This is a photo of the first bake I've done with zero sugar and no normal flour: Espresso Brownies. They look pretty good, eh? Let me tell you, they are moist, gooey, chocolatey and there's not enough caffeine in there to panic the pregnant ladies out there.
If you're diabetic - temporarily, like me, or on a more permanent basis - you need to try our forthcoming zero sugar range. There's so much more than you imagined when it comes to healthier sweet treats!
Follow the zero sugar baking chat on Twitter at #280skinny, and look out for our new cakes coming next month.
Ta-ta for now,
Owner, 280 Bakes
If Veganuary is more of a challenge Than you had anticipated, we've found some things online This week to cheer you on.
The end of Veganuary 2019 is in sight - well done for getting this far if you're trying out a vegan diet for the first time! If you're running out of inspiration, don't forget to check the Veganuary website for recipes, and to order one of our vegan cakes. We home bake and deliver in Bristol, Stroud and Portishead from just £15!
So let's look at those cheerful vegan encouragers we've found online - enjoy!
That's all, folks!
See you next time,
On January 1st 2018 we began a memory jar to help us remember all the fab things we did and aCcomplished during the year.
Happy new year!
The Christmas decorations came down today at 280 bakes HQ, so it was the perfect time to open our Memory Jar from 2018. Let's see what's recorded inside...
What's your favourite memory from 2018? Let us know in the comments below...
Our 2019 Memory Jar has already begun - let's see what the new year brings!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Our business is for sale and our louise is here to explain why.
It's official: 280 Bakes is for sale!
It's been a fantastic three years or so, but it is time for me to move on. 280 Bakes was set up in 2016 when I was suddenly out of work. My passion for home baked cakes and my interest in owning my own business combined and it's been a fantastic ride. However, it's time to move on.
So what's changed?
A year or so ago I moved into running the business solely, instead of dipping into the baking as one of the team. I have really enjoyed this, finding it challenging, motivating and interesting, but my excitement has waned in the past few months. I've worked my 'buns' off and gained so much from it, but this chapter needs to close. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but it's the right one. Not least because my husband and I are expecting our first baby in the summer!
How do you find out more about the business sale?
If you are interested in finding out more about buying 280 Bakes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The business has been valued at £2,000, but we are open to offers. What is important to us is that the new owner has
- a passion for home baking
- a business mind
- the drive to run their own business
The new owner doesn't necessarily need to live in Stroud, Bristol or Portishead (our delivery areas) but it would help with a couple of things. We are a 'stock-light' company with few assets to sell. It's basically a sale of a professional baking network with all that comes with the company (social media, website, contacts etc). We'll send you the enquiry pack and we can go from there.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped 280 Bakes grow and supported me personally in this business journey. There are way too many to name, but from the early days acorn business guidance to the large corporate customers, you've made the experience one I will treasure and always remember.
And my bakers - you deserve a special mention. I recruited our first ever home baker in September 2016 and with seven bakers (including occasionally me) now, you guys have been critical to the business ever since. You creativity and enthusiasm still impresses me. I hope you'll continue to enjoy your baking within 280 Bakes or elsewhere.
Yours, in cake,
Owner of 280 Bakes
Christmas has come to 280 Bakes!
It's the first week of December: Mince Pies have become the choice for elevenses, festive ideas for decorating are blooming, and the Christmas music is on while we bake. Here's some of the delicious baked goods our team has been producing for events and customer deliveries in the Bristol and Stroud area.
Christmas cupcakes... Mini and full-size Christmas cakes... Mince pies... Reindeer cookies...
Which would you choose for your Christmas table?
Call us on 07835 882817 or email email@example.com before 10th December to book your order in!
Merry Christmas from the team at 280 Bakes, and thanks so much for your support this year. Here's to another successful year of baking!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Our team will be at various Christmas markets and fairs this winter - don't miss us!
UPDATE: We will no longer be attending Badminton School's event.
Find out more on the event website itself, or check out our Facebook page. We have a section with of all our forthcoming events there.
We'll also be announcing a teaser menu just before each event, so keep your eyes peeled to see if your favourite cake will be featuring. We will always have a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes too, even if it's not a 'free-from' event.
See you soon!
The Team at 280 Bakes
Today we launched our Christmas discount - don't miss out!
Vegan and gluten free available, all delivered to Stroud, Bristol and Portishead.
Contact us today!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
When I set up 280 Bakes, I never thought about the international angle of cakes... We're getting more and more orders from people living in foreign countries.
It can really suck missing out on birthdays and family occasions when you live abroad (speaking from experience), but having a cake delivered really lets your loved knows know they are in your thoughts and you'd be there if you could!
From Australia to the USA, across Europe and India, we are receiving orders from well-wishers with family and friends living in Bristol, Stroud and Portishead.
Here's a recent customer - currently living in Spain - with her feedback on our service.
Of course, we'll also take orders from Brits on holiday too. One lovely lady placed an order in a panic because she was on holiday for her son's birthday, and only remembered when she was lying on a beach! Google saved the day, and found us. We'll always offer services via Whatapp too, to save your foreign phone bill.
Recent orders include:
-- Brownies for Diwali, from parents in India
-- Birthday cake and flowers for a mum from a son in the USA - he came back for a second order for his dad later that year!
-- A 'thank you' gift for a family in Almondsbury from their friends in France
If I were you, I'd tell all your friends who live abroad about 280 Bakes - you might receive a cake from them from across the oceans for your next celebration!
Owner, 280 Bakes
We're loving 2018 Great British Bake Off, and We love a challenge!
Week One: BISCUIT WEEK
Traditionally the first week is Cake Week, but this year it went biscuity. The signature bake challenge was to bake a batch of a 'regional biscuits', so Louise baked Bristol Biscuits.
These raisin and cinnamon biscuits need cassia oil, which was ordered from Health4All if you need your own supply. Make sure you get the edible version and not the massage oil!!
Cassia oil has a lot of health benefits, apparently, including being an aid to circulation, an anti-depressant, and something which supposedly helps with diarrhoea and sickness. Essentially, it's a Chinese cinnamon oil, distilled from the steaming of the leaves and bark.
The biscuits were easy to make (recipe available here), but it was quite a wet mix, not great for shaped cookies. The biscuit fingers came out best. They are soft, not a crunchy biscuit, quite like a light shortbread. Bristol Biscuits are also called 'Easter Biscuits' so Louise made them extra Easter-like by drizzling some green icing on top.
As for the taste, they're just like a cinnamon biscuit, but without the colouration the powdered spice can bring. Louise says "I'm glad I've finally be able to bake them - living in Bristol, if felt like I really had to sometime!"
Week Two: CAKE WEEK
Our favourite week! This week saw traybakes feature as a signature challenge. Louise has baked a cherry tray bake, and made it a little fancier. They're named 'Patricia's', after her Grandma, who loved cherry cake.
Don't they look delicate?
Week Three: BREAD WEEK
Always a good week in the tent, this series saw a signature bake of Chelsea Buns. Criticism from the judges on the show were things like 'over baked', 'under proved' and 'not enough filling'... Louise says she sympathises with all of these!
Her first ever attempt at Chelsea Buns wasn't bad at all, but she rolled the dough too thick so they took longer to bake, the dough didn't rise when proving, and Louise ran out of currants - but saved it with some cherries, yay!
What do you think?
Week Five: SPICE WEEK
Spice week's signature bake was a ginger cake.
"This one was a lot of fun," says Louise, "and I love a spiced cake! My hand slipped on the cinnamon, but the cake wasn't any worse for it." She admits the photo's not great - tiredness and being sick of cleaning up sloppy buttercream to blame! - but you get the idea. The cake was moist and sticky, definitely one we're adding to our repertoire at 280 Bakes.
Bake the cake Louise did by following this recipe - with or without the extra cinnamon! Louise doubled the recipe to make a three sponge tower, and made the caramel buttercream a toffee flavour instead - warning, it was a bit sloppy. Top tip is to make the buttercream as thick as possible but still spreadable to get defined butercream filling and tidier outside decoration (butercream and crumbed ginger biscuits).
Week Six: PASTRY WEEK
Now, this was always going to be interesting. Louise has never (!!) made pastry before, and certainly not filo pastry. The veggie samosa recipe from BBC Good Food looked good, so she went with that one... Delicious, but definitely not fine filo pastry!
Batch two, Louise used shop-bought filo for apple pie samosas. Trading the raisins for super seed mix (chia, etc.), they were a great pudding last night. You can see the difference in pastry!
"I'll be much more likely to make my own shortcrust pastry in the future now, having seen how easy that type can be," says Louise, "but I'm definitely still going to buy ready-made filo!"
Week Seven: VEGAN WEEK
We've been hoping for a vegan GBBO week since we've been in business - yay! Louise said her heart sank a little when the signature bake was pastry for the second week in a row, but she rose to the challenge of baking a vegan shortcrust pie.
This is a recipe from Coconut and Berries, a "Cheesy" Leak and Broccoli Pie. "I left out the arrowroot," says Louise "as I couldn't get any in time, and added some garlic onion granules for extra flavour. It was so yum, I love the creamed cashews!".
Week Eight: DANISH WEEK
Rye Bread - that was the signature bake this week. Louise says her bread never proves properly so this was always going to be a bit of a dodgy bake! The bread tasted good, but the open sandwich could have been more posh, compared to the ones on the show... Love a bit of jam! Here's Louise having brunch in her sunny garden.
Week Nine: PATTISERIE WEEK
"I don't have a Madeline tin so this one is on hold for the time being!" ~ Louise
Week Ten: THE FINAL!!!
Mmmm… Doughnuts! Stay tuned to see how Louise got on with making doughnuts from scratch!
Did you try any of the signature bakes from this year's Bake Off? We'd love to hear about how you got on!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by our team, but if you fancy guest blogging, give us a shout!