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Sugar-free cake with NO sugar substitute

This may be a tough one…here’s the challenge; I need a sugar-free cake recipe with no no table sugar, no brown sugar and no fruit juice, that does not use Splenda or any other sugar substitute.

This would be my first time baking a sugar-free cake and I am open to your recipes or links to other sites.

I would like to bake a cake for diabetics, with out using harsh and taste bud curling sugar substitutes.

I want to create a delightful dessert in which they can indulge in and not worry about an increase in blood sugar.


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  1. If you're getting "off" flavors from Splenda you may be using too much of it. I do a lot of cooking for folks with special dietary needs (including diabetics) and I've never found it to be a problem. However, this may be more to the point:


    1. When you say "sugar-free" what do you mean exactly?

      Just no table sugar? No brown sugar?

      What about fruit juice? Or just fruit?

      1. Remember that diabetics count carbs, not just sugar. That means grains and fruits. I am diabetic, and I would rather have a perfect piece of fruit for dessert, and skip the low carb baking 'treats'--because they aren't a treat, they are awful.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sparrowgrass

          I'll consider making a fruit dessert dish instead

        2. Why cake? A delightful treat doesn't need to be cake. Why not ask the person that you are cooking for what they would consider a "delightful treat?"
          I would think that a sugar-free cake without sugar substitutes would be awful. Do you want the cake to taste sweet?

          2 Replies
          1. re: wyogal

            Yes. I want it to be sweet, but now I have a better understanding of the type of dessert I can make. I picked cake, because I thought it was the easiest to make without sugar sub.

            1. re: wyogal

              A sugar-free cake without sugar substitutes (or any fruit) would be ... bread.

              I suppose you could make a sugar-free Angel Food Cake ...

            2. If you like chocolate try this recipe. Also, I used cocoa powder not carob powder and it was delicious.


              16 Replies
              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                That recipe looks good, and could be just the treat the OP was looking for.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for.......extremely helpful thank you.

                  1. re: Foodienewbee

                    Thanks and good luck with it. Because there are so few ingredients in this recipe the cocoa powder matters. I used Valhrona cocoa which is an alkalized cocoa and combined with the hazelnuts it worked. A more bitter or non-alkalized coca may yield different results, and carob powder would be quite different and more naturally sweeter.

                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Very intriguing recipe. Thanks for sharing. I hope is someone bakes this soon, he or she will share the experience and outcome?

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      I remember that carob was all the rage in the 1970s, as a supposed healthy alternative to chocolate. It fell out of favor (or at least as fad) as the granola generation grew up, and dark chocolate earned its medical credentials. I never made much use of it, but I wonder whether cocoa is a workable substitute in this recipe. Carob has a mild sweetness, and was actually used as sweetener. Cocoa on the other hand is bitter, like unsweetened chocolate.

                      The half cup of carob powder in that recipe has 56g of sugar (based on the Bobsredmill label), v. 100g of granulated sugar.

                      1. re: paulj

                        You need not wonder. Both the recipe I linked to and my own post above mention that cocoa powder can be more bitter. The recipe I linked to mentions possibly adding a small amount of maple syrup or stevia if more sweetness is desired. I mentioned that I used an upscale alkaline cocoa powder. Because there are so few ingredients in this one, the choice will make a difference. I also found hazelnuts added some sweetness.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          The OP should not treat the carob version of this recipe as a no-sugar cake, though it may be lower than many other cakes. The cocoa version might be worth a try, but I'd suggest an experimental batch first.

                          I have made a flourless chocolate walnut cake that is a bit richer - with ground chocolate, butter and sugar. Everything, including the eggs, are about in the same proportion (200-250g).

                          1. re: paulj

                            TrishUntapped already had success using Cocoa so the OP can proceed without test batches.

                        2. re: paulj

                          Definitely not a diabetic friendly recipe.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Why is it not diabetic-friendly?

                            1. re: guilty

                              because the recipe he linked to has sugar in it.

                              1. re: chefj

                                Yes, quite a bit of it. But it could be modified with the substitution of cocoa powder and non caloric sweetener. Some are natural.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  true but it does not change "Why is it not diabetic-friendly?"

                                  1. re: chefj

                                    I was agreeing with you. You're absolutely right.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Wait, the only ingredients I see are walnuts, carob powder or cocoa powder, apple cider vinegar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Am I missing something? Is it the sugars naturally present in carob powder? I'm genuinely curious, not trying to argue.

                      2. You want something sweet without any sweeteners????

                        1. If you can find it where you are, you might look into using Isomalt. Half as sweet as sugar, but a one-to-one replacement for sugar, it doesn't have the same effect on blood glucose levels as sugar. Consumed in large quantities it can potentially have a laxative effect, but if you do a small portion dessert, you should be fine.

                          1. Hey Foodienewbie - I'm with you - thumbs down on all those foul tasting sugar substitues - blech!
                            I am always searching for sugar free desserts bc I am addicted to sugar yet realize how bad it is for me. So, I am trying this recipe for 4th of July tomorrow (love to experiment on friends :) so I wanted to pass it on. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/... It is sweetened with molasses! I found some organic thick yummy, not sweet, variety at my local food co-op in bulk. I am very excited to make this recipe. If you do, report back.
                            I will top it with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles for the guests who aren't as sugar phobic as I am.

                            14 Replies
                              1. re: octobercat

                                Thanks for the link, the blueberry cake looks yummy! I like baking and I am looking for more healthier options. I actually, don't eat table sugar; I sweeten my drinks/food with agave. So I am open to new ways of baking without table sugar. This original post was to get a general idea of what my options were for "sugar-free" treats. What I learned after posting is that diabetics can have sugar in moderation. I appreciate all the suggestions though! Thanks for your post.

                                1. re: Foodienewbee

                                  Flourless chocolate cake and cheesecakes, pumpkin custard/pie all adapt really well to low sugar/carb diabetic desserts. Sugar alcohols like xylitol are natural sweeteners and work very well. Fruit and flour are not diabetic friendly unless used extremely sparingly. Almond flour mixed with melted butter makes a superb substitute for something like a graham cracker crust, too. I add ground ginger and xylitol to it to replace my favorite ginger snap cheesecake crust.

                                  1. re: Foodienewbee

                                    Actually, one of the reasons I replied with this recipe is that molasses, while it is a type of sugar, it is not refined table sugar and it has a low glycemic index: http://www.naturalnews.com/026296_mol....

                                    Since others are "weighing in" on ideas to sweeten things, I used to add agave to my tea, but read how really just as bad as sugar it is bc of high glycemic index, so now have discovered and switched to yacon syrup from Peru. It is tasty, not too sweet and yet sweetens my english breakfast tea just enough so that I get that true tea flavor with my tea and soy milk in the morning without the cloying taste of sugar. I used to buy it at Whole Foods but the one near me no longer carries it. I found it on amazon recently.

                                    I find the more I stay away from refined sugar, the more I find I dislike the taste of anything sweetened with it. Another thing I have grown accustomed to, adding to the discussion of xylitol (which the healthiness of is debatable out there), is those 60 calorie Jello brand puddings for dessert. They hit the spot after dinner for this sugar addict. I'd love to hear others' tips for a little bitty sweet that isn't too bad for that after dinner craving.

                                    1. re: octobercat

                                      Sugar is sugar is sugar. Once metabolism is broken, GI is competely unhelpful for a diabetic, responses vary so much from individual to individual. Each carb gram counts, refined or not.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        mcf, you're right, and the truth feels like a punch in the gut. Well, it's true for me, and I'm not even diabetic. I am, as my endocrinologist says, a highly fuel efficient machine :) I'd read my Gary Taubes etc, but until I cut back on my carbs and realized that I didn't crave the sweets so horribly badly anymore, I didn't buy it. When I read threads like this I want to beat my head against a wall. But I was there for a time. Nowadays I just don't bake as much. It's just as much the cake as the sweet. Sucks. I'd love for there to be a magic cheat.

                                        I think the OP should consider some traditional simple recipes - panna cotta adapts well to low sugar, for instance. Things that don't need much sugar for structure, with some fat to them.

                                        1. re: Vetter

                                          There are some cheats that involve zero compromise and some that are ok but less than perfect. White carbalose flour is a compromise. No sugar added cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake or a boule de neige with sugar alcohols can be better than most cakes of any kind. Truffles, dark chocolate mixed with cocoa powder and sweetener of choice... I don't bake much any more either, but it's because I'm just not as tempted, not because there are no good low carb baked goods to make. Cravings GONE.

                                      2. re: octobercat

                                        Great link. I might look into yacon syrup and give it a try. I am always looking for something new to eat!

                                      3. re: Foodienewbee

                                        One more thing. check out this recipe for no sugar pie crust. Its just flour and butter. http://chezpim.com/bake/how-to-make-t...

                                        1. re: octobercat

                                          Does pie crust ever have sugar in it? The only version I've ever used is flour, solid fat and ice water.

                                          1. re: octobercat

                                            Flour and sugar are equally problematic for a diabetic.

                                            1. re: octobercat

                                              The recipe is so easy and the pie crust looks delicious! Two of my favorite ways to make food-easy and delicious!

                                            2. re: Foodienewbee

                                              Alas, agave -- at least what is sold under that label here -- is essentially high-fructose corn syrup.

                                          2. Dad made what he called a "Diabetic Apple Pie" which I thought was tasty. Of course, fruit and pie crust (flour) do have carbohydrates which affect blood sugar. It lessened the carbs in a regular pie by sweetening Granny Smith apples with frozen apple juice.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Seeker19104

                                              Some diabetics get that taste (and wonderful smell!) by baking a cored apple with some chopped nuts and cinnamon and sweetener of choice, using almond flour to form a kind of crumb crust.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                My mother used to core apples, stuff the center with (unsweetened) peanut butter, and bake them as a dessert. They were delicious. We had no diabetics in the family.

                                                Also, she did make a point to get less-sweet apples; they simply bake better.

                                            2. Additionally, if your target diabetics are elderly, the way they respond to flavours will be different. ComPletely unscientifically, I've found that older diabetics have greater difficulties because they don't seem to even "register" a sweet taste until it is what I would call cloyingly sweet.

                                              1. hi there!

                                                try this banana bread - gluten, dairy and sugar free!:

                                                Mix dry ingredients:
                                                1.5 cups almond flour
                                                0.5 cups coconut flour
                                                1.5 tsp baking soda
                                                0.5 tsp salt
                                                Optional: pinch of ground nutmeg and cinnamon

                                                Mix wet ingredients:
                                                3-4 (depending on the size) (super)ripe bananas - the blacker the better! - mashed w fork
                                                0.25 cups olive or vegetable oil
                                                6 eggs

                                                Add dry to wet. Optional extras: 0.5-1 cups chopped walnuts, 0.5-1 cups golden raisins

                                                Pour in greased/lined 9" loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 mins. For muffins, bake for 25-35 mins.

                                                Enjoy! :o)

                                                1. http://dessertswithbenefits.com/ check this site out for Organic ingredients and No Refined Sugars, non-gmo

                                                  1. Try this all natural gluten-free sugar-free recipe from my blog. Healthy at the same time perfectly sweet. Hope you'll like it :)