Nutritious and Delicious 2 - Brazilian carrot cake


At Tate & Lyle, we strive to help people make healthier and tastier choices when they eat and drink and lead more balanced lifestyles. To support this purpose, we have launched our Nutritious & Delicious recipe series, co-hosted by the our Global Nutrition Team's Melissa Kaczmarczyk, and Research Chef Christine Kerekes. We feature prototypes from around the globe, inspired by current nutrition and culinary trends that offer a unique twist on traditional cooking by utilising our Tate & Lyle ingredients to reduce sugar and calories, optimise texture, and support positive nutrition with added fibre claims!

Nutritious and delicious episode 2

Today our recipe spotlight focuses on Brazil, and we are featuring prototypes inspired by traditional Brazilian bakery favourites – with a healthier twist of less sugar and more fibre. Keep reading to learn about how and why we reduced the total sugar content of a cake by 60% and in the filling by 80% compared to full sugar control recipes.

A staple in Brazil’s bakeshops, this dynamic flavour duo of carrot cake and brigadeiro filling provides a slice of nostalgic childhood memories for many. Differing from many other countries’ carrot cakes, Brazil’s carrot cake has carrots blended right into the batter, resulting in a deliciously smooth and incredibly moist cake.

The cake is hard to miss on the storefront’s shelves as it has a beautiful bright orange colour that naturally comes from the carrots. While brigadeiro takes on a different form for this dessert, brigadeiros are a staple confection in Brazil which can be made at home or found in bakeries, snack shops, and festivals around the country. Brigadeiros are a rich combination of chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, rolled into small balls and covered in sprinkles.

While sticking to tradition is great, the flavour profile and texture of brigadeiros can be easily manipulated into other forms, like frosting for Brazilian carrot cake! The soft, luscious texture of the carrot cake paired with the creamy, rich brigadeiro filling is an unmatched pair to suit your indulgent cravings.

Trend watch

In Brazil, cake, pastry, and sweet-good product launches with the following sugar reduction claims grew over the last five years (CAGR 2016-21):

  • Low/reduced sugar +25%
  • No added sugar +5%
  • Sugar free +3%

Source: Mintel GNPD

In Brazil, 44% of cake, pastry and sweet-good launches with sugar and/or calorie reduction claims in 2021 also contained fibre, up from 26% in 2016.

Source: Mintel GNPD

59% of Brazilian pastry/sweet-good buyers are very likely/likely to purchase the product if it contains non-artificial low-calorie sweeteners.

Source: T&L Proprietary Research, Global Consumer Ingredient Perception Research, Brazil, 2021

52% of Bazilian pastry/sweet-good buyers are very likely/likely to purchase the product if it contains fibre

Source: T&L Proprietary Research, Global Consumer Ingredient Perception Research, Brazil, 2021

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Featured ingredients:

  • Tate & Lyle’s PROMITOR® 85 Soluble Corn Fibre
  • TENDERJEL® C Corn Starch,
  • MIRAGEL® 463 Corn Starch
  • DOLCIA PRIMA® Crystalline Allulose
  • OPTIMZER® 2.1 Stevia


  • 60% sugar reduction compared to a traditional carrot cake
  • Excellent source of fibre
  • Cooking simplified - The dry ingredients for the cake can be made into a blend and only requires the addition of eggs, water, oil, and pureed carrots before baking.

The Nutrition Buzz:

While carrot cake may be assumed to be “healthier” than regular cake because of the mention of “carrot” in its name, that is not necessarily the case. This Brazilan Carrot Cake can be considered a better option compared to a traditional carrot cake as it is 60% lower in sugar and contains an excellent source of fibre. Traditional carrot cakes tend to be low in fibre. So, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Notes from the Chef:

Reducing sugar can pose several challenges in formulations, but especially in a cake formula. The function of sugar in a cake application is not only to provide sweetness but also to enhance colour formation, lock in moisture and tenderize the crumb of the cake.

Sugar has hygroscopic properties, meaning it will hold onto moisture and keep the cake moister for a longer period of time. Additionally, the hygroscopic properties of sugar holding onto the moisture leaves less liquid readily available which delays gluten development, thus creating a short, tender crumb.

Lastly, sugar helps to provide leavening, bulk to batter and stabilization. If you consider the creaming method, whipping sugar and butter together is a process of entrapping air into the batter, which aids in a light and fluffy final cake texture. If the formula does not require the creaming step, it can still promote leavening in the oven because the structure between the sugar and water in a formula allows for gas expansion in the oven.

Now that we understand the function of sugar in our formula, we can hypothesize what will happen when we remove it, and what we need to do to replace it. In the absence of sugar in this cake, bulking and colour development (consider the maillard reaction driven by sugar) ingredients need to be utilised. PROMITOR® 85 Soluble Fiber and DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose both work to provide bulk back into the formula, creating a more stable batter. Both of these ingredients act similarly to sugar in baking, and they aid in the colour development of the final cake.

In addition to these functionalities, the fibre is providing an excellent source of fibre per serving, and the allulose is providing some sweetness back in place of sugar. Because allulose is only about 60% as sweet as sugar (sucrose), OPTIMIZER ® 2.1 Stevia is a high potency sweetener used to provide optimum sweetness in tandem with the allulose.

Lastly, as we learned that sugar provides structure to the batter and final cake, TENDERJEL® C and MIRA-GEL® 463 corn starches are used to create instant viscosity to the batter, making it easier to process, aid in the development of a short and tender crumb, and seal in moisture in the cake to make the cake crave-ably moist when eaten right away or even as a leftover later in the week.

Brigadeiro filling

Featured ingredients:

  • CLARIA® Instant 360 Clean Label Corn Starch
  • DOLCIA PRIMA® Crystalline Allulose
  • PROMITOR® Soluble Fiber 85L
  • SPLENDA® Sucralose
  • INTESSE® 2.0 Stevia


  • Clean label
  • Instant-dry mix
  • 80% sugar reduction compared to traditional filling

The Nutrition Buzz:

I’m not usually a fan of carrot cake, but the chocolate frosting and filling in this version have got my attention! According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC's) 2022 consumer survey, 73% of consumers surveyed are trying to limit or avoid sugars. This is a great option for someone who is trying to reduce their intake of added sugars and is still looking for a little indulgence. The filling also contains an excellent source of fibre- bonus!

Notes from the Chef:

This frosting formula is the perfect avenue down the permissible indulgence path. Not only are you getting a rich, creamy, decadent dark chocolate flavour, but also an 80% reduction in sugar, and an excellent source of fibre as bonuses!

The majority of this formula can be made into a dry packet, that you just need to whip up and hydrate with a few liquid ingredients. With only 20% of the sugar remaining from the original full-sugar formula, DOLCIA PRIMA ® Crystalline Allulose, SPLENDA ® Sucralose, and INTESSE ® 2.0 Stevia are all working together to provide an up-front, peak, and back-end sweetness profile. The tasting curve of sugar (sucrose) can be thought of as a bell-shaped curve, which is how I’ve described these three Tate & Lyle sweeteners to be acting.

Not only is the PROMITOR ® 85L Soluble Fiber bringing an excellent source of fibre per serving, but this liquid version of the fibre is also providing body to the frosting, and a beautiful sheen. The CLARIA ® Instant 360 Corn Starch is providing great viscosity to the frosting, which is also creating a very stable final product.

Two of the key factors to any frosting are

  1. Texture/Mouthfeel- is it smooth or gritty?
  2. Stability- Can it hold its shape, I.e. can I pipe it on a cupcake?

In terms of texture and mouthfeel, this frosting is just as rich and creamy as a brigadeiro. It’s not easy to replicate how decadent a brigadeiro is, but the CLARIA ® Instant 360 is providing the luscious mouthfeel and the PROMITOR ® 85L is helping to provide the silky smooth clean finish. As for the stability of the frosting, yes - it can be piped into any rosette or mound you’d want on a cupcake, can hold up between layers of the carrot cake, and can be used as the final icing around the cake.

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