Best Birthday Cake Alternatives for People Living With Diabetes
September 29, 2022
Over 37 million people are living with diabetes in the U.S. There are three major types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes (GDM). With all three types, the primary issue is high blood sugar levels. However, there are some key differences.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas stop working, so insulin must be injected or pumped into the body in order to live. Insulin is a hormone that helps our body get energy from glucose or “sugar.” Glucose comes from the foods we eat, mainly carb foods. We need the energy from glucose to function in our everyday lives.
In people with type 2 diabetes, there is the problem of insulin resistance, meaning the body does not use insulin properly. Insulin resistance also occurs in women with gestational diabetes, but this is only first noticed during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.
On top of the millions of people living with diabetes, there’s another 96 million people living with prediabetes, a precursor condition to type 2 diabetes. That means that over 40% of people in the U.S. are living with some form of diabetes!
Living with diabetes is exhausting for many reasons. A major one is that you have to think about everything you eat, every single day…even on your birthday. People with diabetes want to enjoy their birthday like anyone else and that means having delicious birthday cake! Because managing diet is such a key part of managing diabetes, people with diabetes can benefit greatly from having birthday cake alternatives.
Tips for Choosing a Delicious Sugar Free Birthday Cake
There are many birthday cake alternatives for people with diabetes to choose from that both taste delicious and won’t cause blood sugar spikes.
So how do you know if a birthday cake alternative won’t cause a blood sugar spike? That can be tough to predict, but it essentially comes down to a few key factors:
#1: Find a recipe that includes the nutrition facts information.
If you don’t have the nutrition facts, how will you know how much carb and sugar is in your birthday cake alternative?
#2: Know your serving size.
A recipe will sometimes provide the exact serving size (for example, 1 cupcake), but in some cases it will only give you the yield or number of servings that the recipe makes (for example, 24 cupcakes). Remember that nutrition facts information is based on the serving size, not the yield.
#3: Check that the recipe falls within your carb goal.
Carb goals can vary person-to-person. However, in most cases, a diabetes-friendly dessert should contain less than 30 grams of carb per serving.
#4: Make sure the recipe contains little to no added sugars.
The most harmful type of carb to have is added sugars because these raise blood sugar levels but do not provide any nutritional benefit. So it’s best to leave as much added sugar out of your birthday cake alternative as possible.
#5: Make sure you’re covered.
If you are on insulin and use an insulin-to-carb ratio, you can match your mealtime insulin to the amount of carb in the birthday cake alternative to prevent a blood sugar spike after eating. If you are uncertain about this, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Our Best Birthday Cake Alternatives for People Living with Diabetes
Sugar free and no added sugar birthday cakes
- Confetti Birthday Cake – Nothing screams birthday more than a confetti cake. What’s great about this cake is that it has no added sugar because it’s made with zero calorie Splenda® Granulated Sweetener.
- Chocolate Cake – A traditional chocolate cake will never disappoint. This recipe uses zero calorie Splenda Stevia Sweetener and stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, so it’s completely sugar free.
- White Cake – Like the above chocolate cake, this traditional white cake is made with Splenda Stevia Sweetener, so there are no added sugars.
- Raspberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze – If you’re looking for a less traditional birthday cake with no added sugars, try this raspberry yogurt cake made with Splenda Granulated Sweetener. The zesty lemon glaze makes for a nice flavor combo!
- Red Velvet Cupcakes – After trying these decadent red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, your birthday party guests would be shocked to know they contain no added sugars—they’re made with Splenda Granulated Sweetener.
Reduced sugar birthday cakes
- Classic Yellow Cake – You can’t go wrong with a classic yellow cake, and this one has half the sugar because it’s made with Splenda Sugar Blend.
- Classic Carrot Cake – For all the carrot cake fans out there, this recipe will make your dream birthday cake but with half the sugar because it’s made with Splenda Sugar Blend.
- Old-Fashioned Icebox Cake – This icebox cake is a great option to cool off on those hot summer birthdays. It’s made with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, so it contains half the sugar!
- Chocolate Bundt Cake – This rich chocolate Bundt cake made with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend would make for a great breakfast or brunch birthday celebration.
- Chocolate Cupcakes – Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate cupcake, especially one with half the sugar? Like the chocolate Bundt cake, these are made with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend.
Keto birthday cakes
- Keto Vanilla Cupcakes – Think of these as classic yellow cupcakes but keto-friendly! They are made with zero calorie Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener and thus contain only 3 grams of net carbs.
- Keto Cherry Cupcakes – These keto cherry cupcakes not only look cute, they taste delicious too! Fresh cherries and Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener give them sweetness, yet they only contain 5 grams of net carbs.
- Keto Chocolate Cupcakes – Like the above cupcakes, these keto chocolate cupcakes are made with Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener and contain only 4 grams of net carbs.
- No Bake Berry Cheesecake Bars – If you’re looking for an easy birthday dessert, try these no bake cheesecake bars made with Splenda Granulated Sweetener.
- Super Fudgy Brownies – Chocolate lovers must try these super fudgy brownies made with zero calorie Splenda Magic Baker™ Sweeteners.
- Triple Chocolate Protein Pie – Get your nutrition and birthday dessert in one with this delicious protein pie—it’s made with smooth and creamy Splenda Milk Chocolate Diabetes Care Shakes.
- Peanut Butter Swirl Nice Cream with Chocolate Drizzle –The base of this “nice cream” is frozen bananas, making for a lower fat and more nutritious option than regular ice cream.
Sugar Alternatives to Use For Diabetes-Friendly Birthday Cakes
If using your own birthday cake recipe, the following alternatives can be used in place of sugar. Not only do these sugar alternatives widen birthday cake options for people with diabetes, they can be used in all kinds of birthday party recipes, like savory appetizers and sweet drinks.
- Sucralose is in Splenda Original Sweeteners—it tastes and sweetens just like sugar. Sucralose can be a useful tool for people managing diabetes as there is no impact on blood sugar. Splenda Granulated Sweetener measures 1:1 with sugar.
- Stevia is a plant based zero calorie sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Just like sucralose, it has no impact on blood sugar. Splenda Stevia Sweetener Jar Blend measures 2:1 with sugar.
- Monk fruit is similar to stevia but is made from the monk fruit. It is plant based, contains zero calories, and doesn’t raise blood sugar. Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener measures 1:1 with sugar.
- Zero Calorie Baking Blends like Splenda Magic Baker™ Sweetener contain erythritol, allulose, and stevia, making it the ideal sugar alternative that bakes and tastes like sugar and measures 1:1 with sugar.
- Zero Calorie Liquid Sweeteners like Splenda Liquid Sweeteners, including sucralose, stevia, and monk fruit, are ideal for sweetening the perfect birthday cake frosting!
As you can see, the birthday cake alternatives for people with diabetes are endless. Let it be known that people with diabetes can have their cake and eat it too!
Written by Holly Moran, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES and member of the Splenda Healthcare Team.