Gary Rhodes liked this book!

‘When reading this book my eyes were fed with a hunger to cook and nibble amongst the many sweet fancies presented. It is even more of a pleasure to read how Xylitol creates a sweet bite we can all enjoy, without having to fear the damage normally done to our teeth through over-indulging in sugary delights.

I love the mix of fruity flavours and not forgetting the many British classics, which all help to inspire the mixing, whisking, baking, and of course the best bit, the eating.' Gary Rhodes 

Introduction to ‘The Tooth Fairy’ by Murray Hawkins B.D.S.,D.G.P.R.C.S. (UK)

‘This delightful little book contains delicious recipes combined with really practical tooth care advice. The recipes contain xylitol rather than sucrose or standard table sugar. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener derived from wood or maize. It has been shown to confer significant oral health benefits. Whereas sucrose consumption leads to tooth decay xylitol actively inhibits it. It encourages the remineralisation of teeth and inhibits streptococcus mutans: the acid producing bacteria chiefly responsible for dental caries. Xylitol contains about 40% less energy than sucrose and is absorbed from the gut more slowly. It is therefore of benefit to both dieters and to sufferers of diabetes. There is also encouraging research to suggest that it may increase the activity of neutrophils –the white blood cells which fight bacterial infections and may also be helpful in the control of oral thrush and of osteoporosis.

‘Cakes from the Tooth Fairy’ is both entertaining and informative. I heartily recommend it to anyone serious about ensuring that their children grow up with healthy teeth –or indeed to anyone who just likes cakes!’

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring form of sugar sometimes called birch sugar. It’s found in certain fruits and plants such as oats, berries, maize and birch bark. Xylitol has a low impact on blood sugar and very low glycaemic index (7 or 8, compared with sucrose which is around 65, although studies vary).

Xylitol is cariostatic which means it doesn’t cause tooth decay (dental caries) and can actually help guard against it.

The many health benefits of xylitol are widely documented. However, it can cause mild diarrhoea in some people if taken to excess, particularly if your body isn’t used to it. Stick to a normal serving of cake: a modest slice or two, or one or two individual cakes at a sitting, and you should be fine.

Baking with Xylitol

Xylitol can be used in the same way as regular sugar and comes in granulated form. Xylitol works perfectly for most baking but there are a couple of areas where it isn’t suitable.

Since it inhibits the growth of yeast it doesn’t work for yeast-based baking.

It doesn’t caramelise either, so, for example, you couldn’t top a crème caramel with it. Your cakes will be golden brown when they come out of the oven, though, as the other ingredients will still brown nicely.

Tips for Converting Cake Recipes to Xylitol

You may like to try converting other cake recipes that use sugar to xylitol. This is very straightforward for certain types of cake but for others it may not be ideal. Xylitol is as sweet weight for weight as regular sugar so you can use the same weight of xylitol as you would sugar. Xylitol comes in pure white, granulated form so is not suitable for rich, dark fruit cakes and sticky gingerbreads. It does, however, make wonderful sponge cakes.

You may find that cakes made with xylitol take a fraction – 2-5 minutes on average – longer to bake than those made with sucrose or regular sugar.

Ask the Tooth Fairy

Do tooth fairies always come at night?

Not necessarily. Some actually prefer to slip in during the day when children are at school.

Important! Warning for Pets

Although beneficial for humans, much like chocolate and grapes, xylitol is not suitable for dogs - in fact, it is not advisable for any animal so please keep anything made with xylitol, and xylitol itself, for human consumption only. If you suspect your dog has taken xylitol please consult your vet immediately.

‘Toothbrush’ Sandwiches’

Ever since the Tooth Fairy read about cheese, celery and sesame seeds having a cleaning action on your teeth as you eat them, she has been very keen on these sandwiches.

Spread some slices of fresh brown bread (thin slices for tea-time, or chunkier for a quick lunch-time snack) with softened butter. Make into sandwiches with thinly sliced or grated Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced celery and a light scattering of sesame seeds.

For more information on the book, and to order it, see Mrs Simkins Books Page now.

Simple Sponge Cake

Here is the classic tea-time sponge cake sandwiched with fruit spread.

  • 175g (6oz) softened butter
  • 175g (6oz) xylitol
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 level teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Good quality fruit spread Finely ground xylitol, to finish

Preheat oven to (180C fan ovens) or equivalent, see below

Grease two 18cm (7 inch) loose bottomed sandwich tins

  1. Add the raising agents to the weighed flour.
  2. Whiz the butter and xylitol together in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  3. Sieve the flour and raising agents in carefully and add the eggs.
  4. Whiz again. Add the milk and whiz until very smooth and glossy and everything is well mixed. (You may need to scrape the mixture down from the sides a couple of times with a flexible spatula.)
  5. Pour into the prepared cake tins using a flexible spatula to help all the mixture out.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cakes are risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  7. Allow the cakes to rest for a few moments and then carefully loosen the edges with a small palette knife: they should be starting to contract away from the sides of their own accord.
  8. If the tins are still too hot to handle, stand the cakes, one at a time, on a jar or something similar. Using both hands, protected with an oven glove or tea towel, pull the side of the tin down so the cake is left, still on its base, on top of the jar. Move it closer to your cooling rack and loosen from the base using a large palette knife. Transfer gently (you may need a fish slice as well as the palette knife at this stage) onto the cooling rack. Repeat with the other cake.
  9. Put a small teaspoon of xylitol into a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  10. Once the cakes are cool, spread one with fruit spread; position the other on top, and sieve finely ground xylitol over it.

Ask the Tooth Fairy

What do the tooth fairies do with all those teeth?

Traditionally, female tooth fairies would fly to collect the teeth, whilst male fairies ground up the teeth to make fine china, for fairy tea-sets - much like bone china but more delicate. They also make keys for fairy pianos, buttons and other bits and pieces, and tiny shapes for games similar to chess, draughts and dominoes – except the pieces are all white! These days both sexes can be found doing either task.

Light Lemon Loaf

This light little loaf is lovely served just as it is or spread with soft butter. Line your loaf tin with a strip of double thickness greaseproof paper from end to end, with the paper ends sticking up: this will enable you to lift the loaf out easily.

  • 110g (4oz) butter, softened
  • 110g (4oz) xylitol
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 2 level teaspoons of cream of tartar 2 eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons milk Grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 160C (fan ovens) or equivalent

You will need a greased 450g (1lb) loaf tin lined with a strip of greaseproof paper

  1. Add the raising agents to the weighed flour.
  2. Whiz the butter and xylitol together until combined and fluffy.
  3. Carefully sieve in some of the flour and raising agents to cover the surface of the butter and xylitol and add the eggs.
  4. Add the rest of the flour, lemon zest and milk.
  5. Whiz until everything is smooth and glossy. You may need to stop the machine a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin.
  7. Bake for around 40-45 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Leave the cake to settle for a few moments and transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Once cold, store in an airtight tin.


Alternatively, make dinky little mini loaves instead. Use 12 mini non-stick loaf tins: the kind that come in packs of 6.

Muffin size paper cake cases work a treat for lining your tins: sit them squarely in the middle and press down the corners with the first two fingers of each hand. Divide the mixture equally between the tins. Bake for approximately 12-15