Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking

Do you know that feeling that you get when you find something at just the right time. That feeling that the universe has brought you something that you needed, when you needed it, but you didn’t know you needed it.

This book has found me at the right time: Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub.

Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking

I’ve been alarmed at the amount of sugar we consume as a family lately. Admittedly I have gotten a bit lax in my shopping habits and honestly, I’m just tired of saying “No” all the time.

I think my laziness started with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios. Yes, I’m blaming the cereal. They were on sale and knowing the kids love them, I thought “Why not? once in a while doesn’t hurt.” Right?

But then they wouldn’t eat the regular Cheerios. So I started buying Frosted Mini Wheats, which escalated to Cinnamon Chex and Golden Grahams – because really, what is the difference? – and the next thing you know I have a truck load of sugar in my pantry. A truck load.

So I put a holiday on buying cereal – except Shredded Wheat (WITH Bran).
I bought plain minute oats instead of packaged flavoured single servings.
I bought natural peanut butter and unsweetened, natural yogurt.

AND THEN I was told there was nothing to eat in the house for breakfast.

Gav actually flung himself onto the breakfast table in complete despair one morning…

“But nothing tastes like anything!”


To which I replied, “Well, no.  The yogurt tastes like yogurt, the cereal tastes like whole grains, the peanut butter… blah, blah, blah…”

Tears. Huge pout. He really does have the juiciest lips. More tears.

And I realized sugar’s grip on my family was far tighter than I had allowed myself to believe..

I could have written this book, except for the year of no sugar part.

Eve’s narrative sounds just like the constant conversation I have with myself,  in my head of course, about food; sugar; baking; feeding kids; treats; traditions and special occasions…  You name it, I have lived it, I have worried about, I have second guessed myself.

I have wanted to pull my hair out when the kids come home with candy or a sports drink after the game. Or when they are offered yet another cookie – at the doctor’s office no less! But I know I’m guilty too. Easter is coming. I see adorable treats on Pinterest and I just want to make them even though I know the kids will be overwhelmed by Easter candies, chocolate bunnies and dessert at brunch. Obviously I don’t need to add to their gluttony. But I love to bake and love to make them happy and food is love… and this gets twisted doesn’t it?

And as I say this, I realize my family eats fairly healthy. I dare say we are better than average. But sugar is so, so – Everywhere – can you actually avoid it and still live a normal life?

So. This book. Eve asked her family to give up sugar for a whole year. A whole year! No white sugar, no brown sugar, no maple syrup, no honey, no fruit juice. Nada.  None. This is extreme.

PS: I feel really bad about the maple syrup. I mean, it comes from a tree, and it takes a long time to make and I buy the good stuff.


Besides learning that Eve’s family is very patient and tolerant (I don’t think she was called “the worst mother ever” even once), reading this book will make you hyper aware of all the places sugar hides. Not only is sugar in more foods than you ever imagined (BBQ sauce, salad dressing, bread, crackers, pick a label and see for yourself) most of us come in contact with sugar so many times during the day that we don’t even think about it.

Which is why you should read this book. A year of no sugar was hard. It was full of questions and compromises. And life doesn’t go back to where it was afterwards. Because it can’t.

Bottom line –  trying to reduce the sugar from our breakfast table doesn’t make me a bad mom.  And I appreciate the validation …  and the confidence and information I now have when confronted by my 9 year old about why I swapped her peanut butter.

Today I’m sharing a recipe from  Eve’s book using dextrose.

Dextrose makes its appearance, in place of sugar, in many of Eve’s recipes. I won’t go into the technical details about why dextrose is a better alternative to other sources of sugar. But know this, dextrose is essentially glucose which is something your body knows what to do with. And that is the most important point. Dextrose is not calorie free if you were hoping that was the case… and calorie-free is not the point. You will have to read the book for more details on this.

Happily, dextrose was relatively easy to find at the local bulk food store. So for those of us that must bake, dextrose may be a more healthful alternative. This is not a sugar-free cake.  Dextrose is a sugar after-all. So I’m not sure what to call it. Fructose-free maybe? Gav called it yummy, so that is what I’m going with. In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting with dextrose for baking. I loved the results.

Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking

More information about Eve’s book  theYear of No Sugar, can be found here on Eve’s website.  

Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking

On April 9th Eve is hosting a Day of No Sugar Challenge.

If you sign up for the challenge on the website, you’ll receive no-sugar recipes for the day, a grocery list, tips, etc. PLUS you’ll be entered to win one of 10 Signed Copies of the book!  I signed up and rest assured I will be getting the kids involved.



Serves 10-12

Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Dextrose)

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking   Save Recipe
Year of No Sugar Book Review + A Recipe! no sugar kids food easter dessert cake baking


    for the poppy seed cake:
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • 2 cups dextrose
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 stiff beaten egg whites
  • for the cream cheese frosting
  • 8 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups dextrose
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Soak poppy seeds in milk for one hour.
  2. Heat oven to 375. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  3. Cream butter then gradually add dextrose until fluffy. Add the milk/ poppyseed combination. Add vanilla. Stir until evenly mixed. Sift dry ingredients together and then stir into the liquid ingredients. Mix until smooth. Carefully fold in the stiff beaten egg whites.
  4. Pour batter into two cake pans equally. Bake in 375 oven 20 -25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes and then remove.
  5. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
  6. for the cream cheese frosting:
  7. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add dextrose, vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat until a creamy texture is achieved. If frosting seems to stiff add warm water, a tablespoon at a time. Frosting should be light and fluffy.


From the book "A Year of No Sugar" by Eve Schaub reprinted with permission. This recipe uses dextrose instead of other conventional sweeteners for a "fructose" free dessert.