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How to bake a chocolate cake for a diabetic?

I want to make a cake for a co-worker who is diabetic. She has requested a chocolate cake. I've seen Splenda posts before. Is that something I can use to make a cake so she can have some?

I'm a good baker but I have never had to make a cake for a diabetic. Help?

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  1. I googled diabetic chocolate cake and a bunch of stuff came up - although I am sure you are looking for actual experience! I had to cook once for a diabetic that was in renal failure. Now that was a trick!

    1. Can she have flour? Total carbs count for someone who's diabetic. Maybe a flourless chocolate cake would be better and you could use splenda. Something like this:


      1. look into nigella lawson's clementine cake with chocolate. I was diabetic when I was pregnanct and I had no trouble with my blood sugar when I ate it. It is made with almond flour, oranges, cocoa powder and eggs (if I remember correctly).

        1. The problem with cake is not just the sugar but the white flour, which turns to sugar as it is metabolized. What a diabetic needs not to do is ingest a hit of sugar and/or white flour as this will cause the blood sugar to peak, a very bad result. Does this person request a chocolate cake? Or would a gift of something else, say for example flowers, be more appropriate? In any case if the person insists on eating cake, a gift of a whole cake is worse than just a piece of cake or a cupcake, if he or she expects to eat the whole cake a piece at a time. The gift of a cake is not a kindness to a diabetic.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            So I am recently diagnosed as a type two diabetic (three weeks ago). I think your comment is very rude for the person who is trying to do something nice for a co-worker. Our office too celebrates birthdays as a group and the person can choose what they would like. My absolute favorite cake is Chocolate with Chocolate icing. I myself am struggling to give up my favorite, Chocolate!!! (and Dr. Pepper - diet is just not the same.) I was searching for a less evil cake to help to reduce my sugar problem.

            1. re: acf7575

              Just a suggestion--find a low carb dessert cookbook. You can do a search at Amazon, and read the reviews before making a choice. BH&G also has a magazine titled, Diabetic Living which might be of help to you.

              For an easy chocolate fix, have a look at dark chocolate bars. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the effective carbs, if you figure carbs by subtracting fiber from the carb count. Of course you also pay attention to the number of portions per carb count. You aren't going to eat the enitire bar in one day.

              I respectfully disagree with you about Querencia's response. She was simply telling an unfortunate truth.

              I wish you well as you transition to a different way of eating.

          2. Let me add to my previous posting. I see that others have suggested a flourless cake made with Splenda. A German or Austrian torte using ground nuts and eggs instead of flour is another option. Maybe you can work out a torte that uses whole wheat flour instead of white, whole grains metabolize more slowly than refined (to avoid the peaking of blood sugar). A meringue is a possibility if you can make one work with Splenda or some other sugar substitute. Some diabetics can get away with eating cheesecake (fat and protein along with the sugar will mitigate the effect of sugar). But sometimes (and I don't at all know that this is the case here) well-meaning friends take an attitude toward a diabetic of "I am going to give you a treat just this once so, here, have this nice box of fudge". This is not really kind.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia

              i agree with querencia. i was insulin dependent diabetic when i was pregnant and if someone even thought of making a diabetes friendly cake for me (like at my shower which they didn't) i would have cried with excitement and also knowing that they actually cared. the sad truth is most diabetics can't have flour/sugar combo. heck i could barely eat fruit never mind sugar! i was ok with bananas, green apples and sour strawberries. i had to give up ALL asian cuisine and i probably would have been able to east sashimi if i weren't pregnant! t did better with flour as long as it wasn't a lot and was fortified with protein like egg. strangely, i did ok eating one kind of pizza from CPK. but on the other hand everyone reacts differently and some people do ok eating one type of foods while others don't. it's a case by case situation but overall all diabetics should avoid high sugar and highly refined foods.

              however, it is her b-day so agree that an almond flour based chocolate cake made with splenda may work well. she will know how much to eat so all you have to worry about is making it.

            2. A couple of questions:
              -Has she specifically requested a sugarless cake?
              -Is she Type-1 or Type-2 diabetic, and if she's Type-2, is it related to a weight condition?(probably not a question you'll want to ask, so use your best judgement!)

              I've had Type-1 diabetes for 10+ years, and the relatively recent advent of fast-acting insulins and insulin pumps has made types of sugars less relevant than total carbs. Most dietitians now advocate a carb-counting approach which allows people like myself to consume just about anything so long as it is properly accounted for. Being in good control of your diabetes and eating a relatively healthy diet are the most important factors - the occasional sugary/fatty indulgence shouldn't affect someone who's on top of their condition any more than a "normal" person.

              It seems that the "sugar=evil" approach is more prevalent among people who have had diabetes for a considerable length of time since this was the prevailing medical advice for all diabetics for most of the 20th century (that is, before fast-acting insulins were widely available). This mindset also exists in the non-diabetic community since this is the angle that popular media usually takes up.

              That said, Type-2 diabetes occurs much more frequently in individuals with weight problems, and these problems are often related to a high intake of refined sugars, so if that's the case then a sugar substitute or nut-based cake would be the way to go. Hope this helps!

              5 Replies
              1. re: moglia

                I guess it's not as a simple question as I originally though.

                At work, in our group, I bake a cake for each person when it's his or her birthday. In the past when it's other people's birthday, this lady would eat just a few bites of the cake. I just thought instead of a few bites, she'd eating more than a few bites,especially if it was her birthday.

                I will look into flourless and Splenda options. Thanks everyone!

                1. re: OnceUponABite

                  I am not diabetic but was going to share the same information that Moglia offered. My closest friend is a dietician who specializes in diabetes counseling and they never recommend sugar substitutes of any kind for their diabetic patients. This woman can have a small portion of cake and manage that intake if she chooses to. It sounds as if her personal choice is to have just a taste. People with diabetes work to find individual solutions and choose between a number of different approaches - these are personal decisions. If she hasn't asked for a 'diabetic' cake, you really shouldn't make her one. From a health perspective her diabetes is better managed if she deals with real foods and uses carb counting to offset the occasional decision to have a carb-heavy food.

                  1. re: Kater

                    I just want to third this -- my sister is a Type 1 diabetic, and she'd much rather have a "real" chocolate cake that she knows how much she can have and/or how she needs to balance her insulin that something with a bunch of alternate ingredients that she may or may not be able to judge how they will affect her blood sugar. Sugar alcohols like Xylitol mentioned below can be problematic.

                    I think the ideas about recipes that use a nut base are great -- nuts are good for diabetics because they help control the rate that carbs are absorbed. But I'd nix the Splenda and alternate flours unless she specifically requested them.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I'll "fourth" this. My SO has been a Type 1 diabetic for almost three decades, and he never uses sugar substitutes. We use real sugar, and he watches his portion or gives himself a booster shot for a dessert. Type 2 diabetics might have other restrictions due to insulin resistance. Limiting total carbs is crucial for both types of diabetics.

                      To the OP: you are very kind!

                      Oops - just saw how old this post was!

                      1. re: dustchick

                        Folks, we realize it's progressed here naturally, but this is getting way further down the path of medical information rather than food information than we'd like. We'd ask that everyone let this part of the thread go -- the original poster has this info now, so can do further research or have more discussions with his co-worker as necessary.

              2. You can take a regular chocolate cake recipe, which probably calls for flour, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, egg, etc... and just substitute almond flour for the white flour, and Xylitol for the sugar. Almond flour makes a very delicate cake (think wedding cake-a lot of specialty cakes are made with it), and Xylitol is a sweetener made from birch trees that tastes like sugar, but doesn't get metabolized like sugar or carbs because it doesn't involve insulin. .. You have to get those two things at a natural foods store usually, but you'll probably be going there anyway if you want anything other than bleached white flour. Also, if you are already at the natural foods store, like whole foods, trader joe's, sprouts, or wherever else, Bob's Red Mill (brand name) makes a coupple of different great wheat flour substitutes. It will be called something like "gluten-free baking mix" and it'll be in the gluten-free section, if not just in the flour aisle. It's great, and it's a mix of a few types of alternative flours (rice, millet, sorghum) that bake up in a way that resembles wheat flour. Then, you could use that with the Xylitol sweetener, and you have a yummy chocolate cake that's not too far off from the taste of the chocolate cake everyone knows and loves!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Teddymuffinrules

                  Not sure why using a gluten-free baking mix would make the cake more "diabetes friendly", as they often are a concentrated source of carbohydrate as well. Might be worth comparing the "total carbohydrate" lines of the nutrition facts labels for both regular flour and gluten-free mix to see if it's worth the substitution (for the purposes of making something more "diabetes friendly").

                  1. re: Teddymuffinrules

                    When people say that xylitol is made from birch trees it makes it sound like maple syrup, a natural product. In fact, xylitol is an industrial product made from waste from timber processing or agricultural products (mostly corn). http://answers.google.com/answers/thr...

                  2. Though it's not diabetic-centric, Elana's Pantry is a good source for healthier alternatives than the typical sugar substitutes. My dad is diabetic and I've made him several of their recipes with success.

                    Here is one for chocolate cake: http://www.elanaspantry.com/chocolate...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ForFoodsSake

                      Not really healthful for diabetics, though, with agave syrup and a cup of chocolate chips in it. The fructose has ill effects. Also, she doesn't seem to provide nutrition info for her recipes. Carb counts, in particular, are essential. Vegan recipes typically don't serve diabetics well at all, for the most part.

                    2. Can't speak for your coworker, but when my mom requests that I make a dessert she still wants the traditional recipe. She just eats less and makes whatever adjustments she needs to for the day.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rasputina

                        well, seems like the best thing to do is ask the birthday co-worker, right? sounds like some like the 'real' thing and some don't think the 'real' deal will work for a diabetic. everyone manages their diabetes differently so it's better than getting guesses from people on chowhound! ;)

                      2. I avoid sugar for dietary reasons (not diabetic), but I love chocolate. I have searched high and low for delicious sugar free chocolate without sugar alcohols (i.e. maltitol) and came up empty EXCEPT from this company: Maine Cottage Foods run by two women, one of whom is diabetic. My nutritionist said the chocolate from MCF was a very good product and she recommends it to her diabetic patients.

                        I know you did not ask for a source for chocolate, but the reason I am sharing this is threefold:

                        MCF actually sells some chocolate baked goods which are fine for diabetics. Click on Bakery on the left hand menu. Also, they may make you a birthday cake if you ask them.

                        They have a lot of information about diabetics and such you may find interesting.

                        And third, the chocolate is delicious and the Bark is to die for. I always carry some of the foil-wrapped Teenies in my purse (my fave is the crunch). When I go out to dinner and everyone is eating dessert, I have a couple Teenies and I am quite happy and satisfied. A bag or two of Teenies would be a thoughtful gift.

                        They sell chocolate baking chunks as well. But not sure how they are used in recipes. If you are interested or have questions, just e-mail them. They are very responsive.


                        9 Replies
                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          I find that dark chocolates, at least 70% cocoa solids or above have so little sugar and enough fiber in them that a small serving is perfect for a diabetic. That's what most diabetics I know choose, since sugar free chocolate has an icky off taste. The sweetener that Maine Cottage Foods is using has an unfortunate cooling effect in the mouth, as most sugar alcohols used in sugar free chocolate do. I used it blended in crumb baking, fruit cobblers, but it's terrible in creamy stuff/dairy and chocolates, IMO. And dark chocolate is very low carb even with real sugar.

                          1. re: mcf

                            The beauty of Maine Cottage Food products (also MCF lol) is they are more like eating chocolate than the more unsweet baking chocolate.

                            MCF, based on what I read from you on other threads, I would be interested in your opinion of MCF's chocolates, if you read through their site.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              TrishU, all I can tell you is that their prices are very high and that I will never, as long as I live, eat sugar alcohol sweetened chocolate again. I can buy organic, high cocoa content chocolates, be satisfied with a small portion, and not get a blip on my glucose meter from the sugar, since it's not much. I suppose if folks like milk chocolate's sweetness, they might need to use sugar alcohols, but erythritol, which is the least digestible of all the SAs, has a very strong cooling effect that ruins a lot of foods when used in them, and chocolate is very prone to potentiating that effect.

                              I never eat baking chocolate, bleah!!

                              I'd tell you more, but I'm not seeing an ingredient listing or nutrition info page for them. They do say that they also use inulin and oligofructose, which are very healthy probiotics and sweetener that , unfortunately, cause many folks terrible gut symptoms, in part by producing enough gas and bloating to fuel an Alaskan city. Their idea to mix sweeteners is a very good one in terms of taste if you're going to use artificial sweetening, and I see they also use chemical artificial sweeteners in their mix. Mixed sweeteners tend to sweeten better while avoiding the off tastes of each.

                              I just don't want to consume all that stuff in my chocolates and I avoid them completely since I like very dark (73-85%) chocolate, which is naturally low carb and high fiber. Thanks for your confidence in my opinion... I kissed a lot of Frankenfoods on my way to mostly very clean low carb living. :-)

                              1. re: mcf

                                This astounds me, the dark chocolate-high fiber thing....my Lindt 90% has 5 g fiber and 3 g Sugars per serving...12 g carbs. But I will say that I've seen other 90% darks that have higher sugars. Though I'm not diabetic, I want my dark chocolate to be low in sugars. Some find 90% to be too bitter; I like bitter, I guess, or can tolerate it.
                                MCF, do you eat raw cacao at all? Just wondering.

                                1. re: Val

                                  I have noticed, too, that some lower % dark chocolates have less carbs and some higher ones, more. The servings on the wrapper are often for 1/3 of a large bar, more than I ever eat at once, so it is really low carb. Some brands are lower than others consistently. I don't usually like 90%, but some varietals are more tolerable that way. I have some cacao in my freezer, but I prefer other chocolates more.

                                2. re: mcf

                                  You didn't see the nutritional information in the tab on the side menu? This is not frankenfood and does not cause gas or bloating. My nutritionist said it is very digestible, and I am on a short leash with her on acceptable foods for my diet.

                                  We can discuss this more some other time and on a different thread. This thread is about chocolate cake. So I want to leave it at that.

                                  Some information I got online:

                                  Erythritol has almost no calories. In the United States, erythritol is labeled as having 0.2 calories per gram, which is 95 percent fewer calories than sugar. In Japan, erythritol is labeled as having zero calories.

                                  Erythritol has not been found to affect blood sugar or insulin levels and has a zero glycemic index.

                                  Erthyritol has a clean, sweet taste. I've found that it’s more similar in taste to sugar than other natural sweeteners such as stevia (which can be bitter).

                                  In reasonable amounts, erythritol doesn’t cause digestive upset and diarrhea that other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol are known to cause. This is because erythritol is a smaller molecule and 90 percent of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and for the most part excreted unchanged in urine. This quality makes erythritol unique among the sugar alcohols.

                                  Erythritol isn’t metabolized by oral bacteria, which means that it doesn’t contribute to tooth decay. Erythritol was approved for use as a sugar substitute in Japan in 1990. In the United States, it is classified as being Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) since 1997. It was approved in Australia and New Zealand in 1999.

                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                    and it tastes like a fake chocolate product, is very expensive and is unnecessary as dark chocolate is nit a problem.

                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                      Exactly. I would rather never eat chocolate again than eat erythritol sweetened chocolate.

                                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                      If you like it, and it doesn't cause you gas or bloating, enjoy! Many folks do digest erythritol and get gut symptoms from it. I don't, but get symptoms that I never want again from inulin and oligofructose. I don't like the taste or cooling effect of erythritol except in non chocolate, non dairy uses.

                                      Individual responses to sugar alchohols, including erythritol, vary hugely. Some folks digest them and get a blood glucose reaction, some don't. We each have only our individual experiences to guide us, and in my case, those of the many diabetics I share information with online in various forums.