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Diabetic seeking *good* sugar-free cheesecake recipe? (Splenda baking sub-question)

  • m

Ahhh cheesecake. The stuff of dreams. What I would do for a good cheesecake is, well, not postable on a family board such as this one :-)

It would seem that cheesecake could potentially be the ultimate diabetic dessert, as the only significant source of carbs/sugars come from, well, the sugar-- yet I have yet to find a quality recipe.

(Note-- I have tried a couple of recipes from the internet, usually substituting Splenda for sugar, and the results have always been rather questionable-- the last one I made turned out really bitter, but I don't know if it is because I used a low-quality cream cheese or what.)

Does anyone here have any experience baking with Splenda, with specific reference to cheesecake?

Also, does anyone know of any quality sugar-free cheesecake recipes? Perhaps a fruity-flavored one which uses a combo of fruit juice and splenda to sweeten and at the same time mask the chemically flavor of the sweetner?

I would be most grateful for any replies!

Thanks in advance

Mr. Taster

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  1. Check out the Splenda web site. http://splenda.com
    They give really complete information on substituting splenda in baking, as well as several recipes for cheescake, that might help to hone your recipe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ocdreamr

      I don't really have a recipe-- they've all flopped.

      What I'm really looking for is someone with real life experience in baking sugar free cheesecake.

      Any takers?

      Mr. Taster

    2. I just used a recipe from Nigella Lawson's column in the NY Times last weekend and substituted Splenda for the sugar. (There's only 1/4 cup of sugar to begin with.) The only thing I couldn't control was the sugar in the graham cracker crumbs. I didn't search for any, but perhaps there's such a thing as sugar-free graham crackers? Anyway, you might want to try this, 'cause it was terrific. I made two other delicious desserts (both with sugar) and there wasn't a single one of these left after the party. I've paraphrased the directions so as not to break any rules.

      Raspberry-Topped Mini Cheesecakes

      Time: About 40 minutes, plus 2 hours’ refrigeration
      Yield: 24 mini cheesecakes

      2 cups graham cracker crumbs (8 ounces graham crackers, finely crushed)
      1 stick butter, melted
      8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
      ¼ cup sugar (I used ¼ cup of Splenda)
      1 large egg
      2 tablespoons sour cream
      ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
      2 to 3 teaspoons lime juice, or to taste
      2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jelly (I used sugar-free jam)
      24 small mint leaves, optional (I didn't bother)
      24 (about 3/8 cup) fresh raspberries

      1. Heat oven to 350º. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a food processor and process until mixture resembles wet sand.
      2.Press a tablespoonful of the mixture on bottom and up sides of each well of a 24-well mini-muffin pan to make a tart-like shell for filling. Put the pan in the refrigerate while making the filling.
      3.Combine cream cheese, sugar/Splenda, egg, sour cream, vanilla and lime juice in a food processor bowl. Process until very smooth. Taste and add more lime juice if needed, then mix again to blend. Fill the muffin wells until just the top edges of the crumb shells show. Bake about 10 minutes (until cakes are set). Cool in pan on a wire rack. Transfer to refrigerator in pan and chill 2 to 3 hours.
      4. To remove the cheesecakes, turn pan upside down, and rap firmly on the back of the wells with a wooden spoon.
      5. Melt some jelly in a small pan over low heat until melted. Put just a dab in center of each cake to hold the raspberry (and optional mint leaf). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Deenso

        This is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for!

        Just out of curiosity, how does the Splenda change the flavor/texture of the cheesecake? Does anyone know?

        Any other people who have played with splenda and cheesecake? (or other sugar alternative)

        Many thanks to you Deenso

        Mr. Taster

        1. re: Mr. Taster

          You're welcome, Mr. Taster! As to texture, I don't honestly believe anyone noticed any deviation from the norm. Then again, these little cakes were eaten in, at most, two bites, so who had time to notice?

          1. re: Mr. Taster

            Whenever I tend to bake with Splenda, the goods tend to take on a bitter aftertaste, so more recently, for my Atkins friend, I've tried to make desserts that are no bake. I've been experimenting with no bake cheesecakes that rely either on cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped cream for texture. Some also use unflavored gelatin for the right consistency. I might also suggest you try using flavored gelatins instead. When I find a recipe I really like, I will post it. But as I said, to avoid the "bitter aftertaste that Splenda supposedly doesn't leave," I would lean towards no bake recipes.

            Hope that helps, and I"m sorry it's not an actual recipe but I haven't found one I love yet...

            1. re: Emme

              Hm, in my last cheesecake it also had a bitter flavor, and I was unsure as to whether it was due to the Splenda or a cheaper brand of cream cheese (Trader Joe's, whose products I am a fan of, but they do have occasionally questionable dairy products)

              Mr. Taster

              1. re: Mr. Taster

                Definitely the Splenda. I've made all sorts of chocolate mousse cookie things that if you cook them just a minute too long, they turn bitter as can be. For my Atkins friend, I also tried making "bread pudding" from the flavorless pork rinds, cream, splenda, cinnamon, butter, etc. It smelled great, but the taste was so bitter the whole dish went straight to the garbage. Splenda says their sugar withstands high heat but it doesn't seem to emerge from the oven standing so much as it does standing giving you the bird :)

                1. re: Emme

                  Very useful!

                  So in your experience, how long and at what temperatures can you bake an item with splenda before it crosses that line into bitterness? I'm very curious because I've always felt that a baked cheesecake is superior to the nobake variety. Also, the mini-cheesecake recipe outlined by Deenso sounds perfect for this, as 12 mini cheesecake "cupcakes" should need to be in the over for less time than a pound block of cream cheese!

                  Mr. Taster

                  Mr. Taster

                  1. re: Mr. Taster

                    Well, I'd say that anything over 5-7 minutes even can turn. I once did a chocolate cookie recipe that had that TJ's low carb chocolate (in the blue wrapper), butter, eggs, and splenda. We tested at 7 minutes, then stuck em back in for 2 more and they were lost. So take from that what you will. I've even had issues with heating on a stove. You can't make a simple syrup or anything. Have to add sugar later...

        2. I have made 2 cheesecakes from Epicurious using Splenda and makng a nut,butter, Splenda and spices crust. One was a Pumpkn cheesecake and recently I made the Blueberry Cheesecake that had blueberries blended in to the cheesecake filling. The recipe called for a whipped cream and blueberry topping that was very good, when I made it for a second time I used ripe nectarines glazed with a bit of sugar free apricot preserves and placed decortively on top of the whipped cream. As for the Splenda, if you are buying the big bag of Splenda and not using the packets you will find that it is significantly sweeter than an equal amount of sugar. I cut back by a half to a third of what is called for in the recipe. I have found that you cannot do all things with Splenda. I tried making whole berry cranberry sauce last winter and it did not work. When the sauce was boiled the Splenda became quite bitter. I did try cookning the berries without the Splenda and adding it when the sauce had a cooled a bit and it worked just fine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            Can you go into more detail on the crust made from nut butter, splenda and spices?

            Mr. Taster

            1. re: Mr. Taster

              It was nuts, butter, etc. not nut butter. I generally line my sprngform pan with parchment. Then I use about 2 C.of nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans,etc. The walnuts and pecans I blanch and toast lightly first. Then I chop the nuts in my food processor, not too fine but no
              really big pieces either. Melt a stick of butter and pour over them, add about a half cup of Splenda and then cinnamon if you wish (I wish and often add some nutmeg and maybe gound cloves dependng on the cheese cake) mixt that all well and pat evenly over the parchment in the cheese cake pan. The parchment makes it easy to get the slices off of the bottom of the pan. Pour in your fillng and proceed with the recipe. BTW that blueberry cheesecake at Epicurious is simple, delicious and is no bake.

          2. Mr. T, I have several cheesecake recipes I've adapted for my wife (an Atkins type), using Splenda.

            I'll post a couple tomorrow (the receipes are at home; I'm at work).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dancer

              Sounds great-- many thanks in advance.

              Mr. Taster

              1. re: Mr. Taster

                Here's one of my favorites, adapted from a Gourmet recipe from the late 90s. Also, try the 'Cordon Rose' cheesecake recipe by Rose Beranbaum with Splenda--I think it translates well.

                Lime Almond Cheesecake

                Serving Size : 12

                Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                7 ozs blanched almonds -- about 1-1/4 C.
                1/4 C unsalted butter
                1/4 C Splenda

                2 lbs cream cheese -- softened
                1 1/2 C Splenda
                1 1/2 Tbsps lime juice (about 6 key limes)
                4 eggs

                16 ozs sour cream
                1/4 C Splenda
                1 Tbsp lime juice (about 4 key limes)
                1 tsp almond extract

                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10" springform pan.

                Crust: In food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground and transfer
                to bowl. Dust sides of springform pan with about 3 tablespoons ground
                almonds, knocking excess back into bowl. Melt butter and cool slightly.
                Stir butter and sugar into almonds until combined well and press evenly
                onto bottom of springform pan.

                Filling: In food processor, beat cream cheese and sugar about 30 seconds.
                Add lime juice and a pinch of salt and, with machine running, add eggs 1
                at a time with about 5 seconds between each addition.

                Pour filling into pan and bake cheesecake 45 minutes. Remove cheesecake
                from oven (keep oven at 350 degrees) and let stand 10 minutes.

                Make topping while cheesecake is baking. Let sour cream stand at room
                temperature 30 minutes. In a bowl whisk toegether sour cream, sugar, lime
                juice and almond extract.

                Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cheesecake and spread gently over
                entire top of cake, smoothing evenly. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven
                10 minutes and transfer immediately to refrigerator. Chill cheesecake for
                at least 8 hours, or until cold, and up to 2 days, covering after 8 hours.
                Run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side.

            2. I've made this recipe probably 6 to 8 times now, and always with Splenda. It's great.


              Link: http://food.epicurious.com/run/recipe...

              1. Just an FYI,
                The Cheesecake Factory now makes a low carb (6gms/slice) cheesecake made w splenda that is actually quite good. So if its too hot to bake and you have a CF nearby I would check it out.

                1. I have found that splenda's aftertaste, when cooked, is bothersome in everything but the darkest chocolate desserts, and I usually compromise on the blood sugar front by subbing out only half the sugar for splenda. The aftertaste is much less noticeable.

                  I have also successfully substituted stevia, a natural herb-based sweetener, for sugar in most recipes. It, like splenda, is in a "carrier" that has moderate amounts of carbohydrate, but it's also 3 x sweeter than sugar, so you use less than you would of artificial sweeteners. I tend to be hypoglycemic, and I find it doesn't affect my blood sugar, even in larger amounts. The 1/3: 1 ratio doesn't always hold up, though, and I find it better to add it tablespoon by tablespoon, tasting for sweetness as you go, rather than risk it being oversweet.

                  Stevia does have a distinct "herbal" aftertaste, which I've grown to like and almost ignore, but it doesn't get bitter, and it isn't artificial. The aftertaste is less present in chocolate and desserts with strong fruit and citrus flavors: i.e., I made an apricot cheesecake wiith fruit-juice sweetened apricot preserves and stevia, and there was no herbal note to detectable. It does stand out in plain, vanilla, and almond-flavored desserts, which I guess are too subtle to overcome the herbal-ness.

                  Trader Joe's sells a good variety in their baking aisle, in a pink canister, called "sweet n' natural," which is much less herby than other varieties, and your local food co-op, natural foods store, or whole foods might carry it, either in the supplement, sweetener, or bulk foods aisle. It's not classified as a sweetener by the FDA, but rather as an herbal supplement.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: EMDB

                    I have tried stevia-- apparently there is this controversy where the artificial sweetner companies have successfully lobbied the FDA to keep the stevia people from marketing their product as a sweetner. In the US they can only label it as an "herbal supplement" but nowhere on the packaging can they call it a sweetner... though they get close ("3 times the sweetness of sugar!")

                    I bought a shaker of stevia from Trader Joes, though I purchased the small red capped saltshaker sized one for $10, versus the much bigger $5 pepsi can sized one with the pink top that you describe... nobody could give me a straight answer as to why one was so much more expensive than the other, so I bought the more expensive one assuming it would be more concentrated. Unfortunately my experience has not been a positive one-- to me it has an extremely bitter taste, like sweet n' low. But then again, I have only tried it to sweeten things like yogurt, which has a very mild flavor. I will have to give it another shot, or try the pink canister.

                    Mr. Taster

                  2. Okay, so I know you wanted a baking substitute, but just so you're aware of two different other options. There's a company called Eli's Cheesecakes that makes a no-sugar added cheesecake that you might consider looking into. I know you didn't ask for a rec for one to buy, but it's an option. I'll link it below (www.elischeesecake.com). Just click on Our Products and Shop Online for the Online Catalog.

                    Also, though I've never had it, the Cheesecake Factory has a new Atkins low carb cheesecake that I assume might also be diabetic friendly since Atkins folks can't have real sugar.

                    Just a couple of ideas that I know are a bit off topic!


                    Link: http://www.elischeesecake.com/indexpr...

                    1. I’ve read on various low carb cooking sites that using a combination of sugar substitutes gives a better result and it’s true for my cheesecake. My recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sugar and my best results have been in using 3/4 cup xylitol and 2 Tbl splenda. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol similar to what is used in all the new sugar free candies and baked goods on the market. The xylitol is not as sweet as sugar so the added splenda ups the sweetness. Lots of people say they don’t notice an aftertaste when using splenda but I do and I don’t like it. I’ve made cheesecakes using only splenda and didn’t like them much. The combo of xylitol and splenda leaves no aftertaste to me and my son thought I’d used regular sugar.

                      I believe the aftertaste problem in pourable splenda in the box comes from whatever it is they mix with it [I forget what it is they use] to make it pourable and to give it the same measure as sugar. The splenda packets are much sweeter than the corresponding amount of pourable splenda. Also, there’s a liquid version of splenda that is highly concentrated that folk are using with success. I think you can get it at lowcarber.com.

                      There are several different sugar alcohols on the market so you might want to check them out. I’ve just ordered some erythritol that I am told when mixed with a little splenda will make a good, creamy no-sugar ice cream. Sugar is what helps make home made ice cream creamy. If you’ve ever tried to make ice cream with just splenda … well it’s more like ice cube.

                      A final warning about sugar alcohols – use it sparingly until you see how it effects you. Some people have intestinal problems if they eat too much too fast.

                      My [very] basic cheesecake recipe

                      16 oz cream cheese
                      3/4 cup sugar [3/4 c xylitol + 2T splenda]
                      2 eggs
                      1 T fresh lemon juice
                      2 t vanilla
                      You can add in whatever you want such as berries or chocolate. The last one I made I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and I think it made a moister cheesecake.

                      Good Luck!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rae

                        Very interesting-- where can you purchase xylitol?

                        Mr. Taster

                        1. re: Mr. Taster

                          It's expensive [$13.95 for 1.5 lb = shipping] but I don't make sweets very often so it lasts for months. I'm in L.A. and haven't looked for it locally cause I hate to shop.

                          Link: http://www.xylitolnow.com

                      2. a friend of mine swears by the cheesecake recipe in suzanne sommers dietplan. she has a sugar substitute that my friend likes even better than splenda. i think it's called sommersweet, or something like that. It can be special ordered from her website (i don't have that address, alas)