Sugar Free, Gluten Free Cakes?

Baking By josumiko Updated 16 Feb 2013 , 2:44pm by uberathlete

josumiko Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 10:15am
post #1 of 27 I may have an order from someone requesting a gluten free, sugar free cake. I see some recipes for gluten free, but they all use sugar...ugh...can you sub with splenda or something...the customer suggested agave? any ideas for substitutions?
Also, they want it decorated like a pinata so I am guessing that they want sugar free frosting as well? Is that even possible?
Any help, suggestions would be greatly appreciated

26 replies
cupcakemkr Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 3:21pm
post #2 of 27

I am looking for a good sugar-free cake too for my newly diabetic Mom. I think you can substitute Splenda for Baking but it is not totally sugar free (I think). I found this frosting recipe that sounds good:

Good luck!

Jayde Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 5:39pm
post #3 of 27

To be quite blunt and honest I hate customers like this. I mean seriously what do they think a cake is? Duh flour, sugar, eggs, etc.

Now to request some gluten free, ok doable. Sugar-free? Again do-able. But to request a gluten free, sugar-free, egg-free, low-fat, and oh yeah cousin Fred is allergic to peanuts too cake is getting ridiculous.

I have celiac disease and I have to eat gluten free, and I will tell you what no matter what recipe you try. No matter how much you tweak it, it still doesnt taste anything like the real thing, not even close and some recipes are downright disgusting, like this brownie recipe that I made the other day <gag>.

And never mind trying to decorate with sugar-free frosting, much less trying to stack and carve a gluten free cake.

Might I suggest something that you might hate the idea of, but I would refuse this order otherwise. When I have ridiculous requests for cakes like this, I offer to make a cake dummy for asthetic purposes, get yourself a piece of styrofoam, carve away at it. Cover with icing or shortening, and decorate as normal with fondant or BC.

Then make something that will actually taste good that they can eat like a cheesecake or an assortment of mini cheesecakes. A parfait-type of dessert with layers of whipped cream, fresh fruit, and homemade curd or pudding or a bread pudding (which oddly enough tastes pretty good made with gluten free bread). If you pm me I can give you help/tips on making these.

Truthfully, as a person who cant eat most cakes/brownies, I just either excuse myself from eating what the rest of them do or I try a tiny piece and pay the price later. I would rather eat a tiny piece of something that tastes great, rather than a huge piece of something that tastes like crap.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 5:58pm
post #4 of 27

Jayde, your response is beautiful and wise.

I mean one person can't re-arrange the molecular universe. There are great desserts out there for everybody. Trying to cram special needs folks' special needs into a cake sculpture is mind blowing difficult to the point of impossible in a lot of cases.

Bravo, Jayde!!!

Jayde Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 6:05pm
post #5 of 27
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Jayde, your response is beautiful and wise.

I mean one person can't re-arrange the molecular universe. There are great desserts out there for everybody. Trying to cram special needs folks' special needs into a cake sculpture is mind blowing difficult to the point of impossible in a lot of cases.

Bravo, Jayde!!!

ROFL, I re-read what I posted and actually considered deleting my post. I thought I might be flamed to death. Thanks K8, I really appreciate the praise.


-K8memphis Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 6:41pm
post #6 of 27

I mean it's brilliant.

Hey, tell the tailor I'd like a velvet cape but please don't use velvet.
He'll sew your flappin' yap shut.


josumiko Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 11:31am
post #7 of 27

Thanks for all your help ladies! I think that I will tell them that it has to be one or the other...we'll see how that goes over!

ceshell Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 9:30am
post #8 of 27
Originally Posted by Jayde

I will tell you what no matter what recipe you try. No matter how much you tweak it, it still doesnt taste anything like the real thing, not even close

Not true, not true Jayde! Have you tried the AllRecipes yellow GF cake, or the Hershey's GF chocolate? I reviewed them both here

I have a friend with celiac and I've made both for her. Most recently, the yellow cake. I didn't tell a soul at the party that it was GF, and nobody had a CLUE. The worst I would say about it was, all of the edges need to be trimmed because the cake is quite firm (the texture is almost like a sponge cake...but not quite; my friend who "hates sponge cake" loved it) and the edges are nearly indestructible icon_lol.gif, however the rest of it tastes like...well...cake! Caramel filling suits it well as it does not use butter and could use a dose of that flavor. Anyway every time I make that cake I think, "uck, GF cake" and then I try it and remember how good it is. I do not have celiac but I dusted a 4" "test" cake in one sitting icon_biggrin.gif.

Still doesn't help OP with the sugar problem, sorry icon_redface.gif.

Jayde Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 11:19pm
post #9 of 27

You dont think the Hershey GF chocolate cake tastes gummy, with an off texture?? I didnt like it at all. I havent tried the other recipe that you metioned ( I will have to give that one a whirl, thanks), but I didnt like the GF chocolate one at all.

ceshell Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 11:30pm
post #10 of 27

I didn't think that, although I definitely won't argue that it is not as good as a standard flour cake; I just felt like it definitely was comparable to a normal cake. Although I thought the texture was *a little* off, it was definitely not gummy imho, and I felt good enough about it to serve it to a group of non-GF partygoers. Which kind of rice flour did you use?

I did think the texture of the AllRecipes cake was even better though. Kind of spongy like a twinkie, but not THAT spongy...I hesitated to even type that in case it makes it sound like it's weird. I torted both layers and filled it with caramel ganache and iced with IMBC. As I mentioned, the only thing it lacked for me, was a nice buttery taste. Obviously, since it contains no butter; so if you use a buttery filling like caramel it rounds out the cake nicely. Do give it a try! I hope it works for you, I am sure it would be enjoyable to be able to have a nice piece of cake every now and then icon_smile.gif.

Jayde Posted 28 Feb 2009 , 5:36pm
post #11 of 27

I get most of my flours and specialty baking things here, like xanthan gum, etc. They have decent prices, and their shipping isnt bad at all.

I just have a texture problem when it comes to GF baked goods and bread. I mean its nice to have that kind of stuff every now and then, but for the most part I have accepted my diet for what it is. I just dont eat bread/pasta/baked goods anymore, there are other things out there that I eat instead. Rice, potatoes, cheesecake (with my crust recipe), custards, etc. The only time I really hate my diet is when I am on the fly and need to grab something in a hurry, cause everything that you can eat in a hurry has flour in it icon_sad.gif.

I am still gonna try that allrecipes cake recipe though icon_smile.gif

ceshell Posted 28 Feb 2009 , 8:03pm
post #12 of 27

See if you can get your hands on some Thai rice flour before trying the recipe. That's what I used for the Hershey's and the AllRecipes (both versions: as is and chocolate conversion). None were gummy at all, and I know that one of the reviewers on AllRecipes swore that the use of Thai flour made the difference between a "passable" GF cake and a GF cake that nobody will know is GF. If you have an Asian market nearby and they don't carry it, ask if they can get it - that's what I did. I do live in the L.A. area so the grocer just picked some up in downtown LA, on her next supply run...but...just to compare apples to apples, you might want to give it a whack!

-->oops, disclaimer: actually the AllRecipes gave me a gummy, grainy crust which I did trim off. So I KNOW what you are talking about! But the cake itself was definitely "cake" and not "cake substitute".

This is the stuff - it's cheap at this site but of course, as always, shipping is nearly 3x the cost of the product thumbsdown.gif

SugaredUp Posted 1 Mar 2009 , 8:54pm
post #13 of 27

Interesting rice flour tip - thanks!

zenu Posted 1 Mar 2009 , 9:10pm
post #14 of 27

My friend's son is also on a gluten-free/casein free/egg free diet. She buys GF cake mixes. I have one I'm planning to test out by 365 foods ( I bought it at Wild oats) and there are other brands as well. Her son loves them- she just has to tweak them with rice milk and an egg substitute. Also, if you use the mix, you can be sure of no contamination from your own kitchen.

I am also on a gluten free diet, however, I can eat dairy. I've been experimenting with replacing the flour in regular recipes with an All-purpose gluten free baking mix also by 365 foods. So far everything has come out great.

As far as sugar, I use Agave syrup which is low on the glycemic level. I know there are also brown rice syrups- again , they have sugar, but much lower on the glycemic index. Maybe that could help?

zenu Posted 1 Mar 2009 , 9:14pm
post #15 of 27

Jayde: I agree with the eating on the fly! That's also when I come into trouble! There are only so many salads I can eat!

I do purchase some items at the Whole foods/wild oats stores, however, they are very pricey.

Have you tried Quinoa pasta- it's not that bad, you get used to it plus it's incredibly nutritious.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 1 Mar 2009 , 10:01pm
post #16 of 27

Jayde, thank you! Politely say no or eat a little and suffer later.

What rips me a brand new orafice, are the people who insist they can't eat that stuff and then I see them stuffing their faces with every processed, overloaded with sugar item they find in the grocery aisles. This does not include the full sugar soft drinks and alcohol, they supposedly never drink.

One of these people happens to be a very good friend. She now wants me to make my signature cake, without flour, butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, flavoring, dairy, coffee and the alcohol.

Guess I'll just get some brown spray paint and brown modeling clay and do a Styrofoam dummy for her birthday.

ceshell Posted 2 Mar 2009 , 12:31am
post #17 of 27
Originally Posted by HowCoolGomo1

She now wants me to make my signature cake, without flour, butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, flavoring, dairy, coffee and the alcohol.

icon_eek.gif OMG are you kidding me??? Why even bother at that point? Just stick a candle in a piece of fruit and call it a day.

Jayde Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 12:25am
post #18 of 27

All right so I tried the vanilla GF sponge from allrecipes. It was umm, ok. Very trampoline like. icon_smile.gif

In all honesty if wasnt horrible, but it wasnt cake. It tasted more like and had the texture of a bread pudding. Drowned in vanilla bean ice cream it wasnt bad at all.

Sorry Ceshell, still doesnt hold a candle to the real thing..

ceshell Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 1:27am
post #19 of 27

Bahahaaa! Trampoline like icon_smile.gif. I agree it was spongier than traditional cake, but I'll still go back to my original question: did you use Thai rice flour? LOL I know I sound like I am clinging to a dream, but I swear the cake was good. More of a twinkie-like texture, but definitely not a trampoline. ReallyreallyIswearIswear! So I keep wondering if the kind of flour affected the outcome. I haven't tried it with any other kind of flour, but some of the AllRecipes reviewers DID and stated that it made a crucial difference. I also soak the flour in the liquid for about 10 minutes before mixing everything together. Actually you make me curious to try it with normal rice flour to see if I too get the less-desirable results.

I, by the way, am NOT an adventurous eater, not in the least, and if my desserts aren't the real thing (scratch, gourmet ingredients) I don't even bother--I am definitely a dessert snob. When I first baked this cake I did not even want to try it! I made everyone in my family sample it first icon_biggrin.gif. But I knew I HAD to try it if I was going to consider baking it for my gluten-intolerant friend. I couldn't believe it was so good and was "real cake." A year later when I had the chance to bake it again, I did ANOTHER test cake because I didn't trust my original results. It was still good, so I baked it for the party (my Santa Surfin' cake). About 35 people ate it and nobody realized it wasn't traditional cake. Of course the caramel ganache filling and IMBC probably had something to do with it icon_rolleyes.gif. Anyway it definitely did not have the texture of bread pudding. It was absolutely, positively "cake."

I'm totally stumped by your results. but you know what: if that's what bakes up for you then of course I can see why you won't be in a hurry to try it again. I guess you'll just have to go back to "truffle cakes" - oh the horror icon_lol.gif.

Jayde Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 4:23pm
post #20 of 27

It wasnt horrible, it just didnt have a cakey texture, it was more dense and really spongy. I didnt try the Thai rice flour, I havent been able to find it yet, and I will try the recipe again with it.

I did let the batter 'rest' after it was all mixed up, a lot of GF recipes suggest that you do that actually. The best I could describe it was like Paula Deen's bread pudding recipe. It had that chewy, spongy, dense texture. Like I said it didnt taste bad, it just wasnt very cake-like.

majka_ze Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 4:55pm
post #21 of 27

Well, maybe I am little slow or something.

A person with fool allergies doesn't realize there are some foods they simply cannot get?

In our family, there are food allergies (some quite severe) among my generation and the next generation down. Even my 4yo niece realizes that she cannot have citrus fruits and is very happy to be off gluten and diary free diet. Even she concentrates on what she can eat and the other things she leaves out, without regret.

I have an idea for almost all-free cake. icon_biggrin.gif
You need a base - there you are on your own. Bake this gluten free cake (get the memory out of my head, where my father some 20, 25 years ago says to my brother: "look, how delicious" and runs to the kitchen to spit it out) icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
You turn your cake form upside down, give a layer of fruits there, cover it with gelatin bloomed in juice and after thickening give the "cake" on top.
You need only something to hold the rest of the cake in place - max. 1" thick.
Cool it, turn it right way again, serve.
I suspect you can make the same with agar agar.
We used to get such cakes quite often.

jonahsmom Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 5:28pm
post #22 of 27

Okay, so my son is gluten and casein free and it has been VERY difficult to find baked goods that taste decent but I feel I have been successful. I found a chocolate cupcake recipe that he LOVES and a bread mix that works WONDERFULLY!!! The bread mix probably wouldn't work as well, but we cut, freeze and only take out what he will use that day. Then it stays nice and soft and isn't crumbly and hard. He refused to eat PB & J's for a few months because we couldn't find "soft" bread. As soon as we figured out what to do he was back on the PB & J train!!!!

What I've discovered with cakes is that if I add a little less gf flour than the recipe calls for and add a smidge more baking powder to help it rise higher, the cakes turn out better. (I use regular recipes and just change the ingredients he can't have-like rice milk in place of regular milk, etc.) That was the problem that I had initially - I replaced regular flour cup for cup with gf flour and the same with baking powder and it resulted in a flat, tough cake. I make him muffins, bread, pizza (with soy cheese - doesn't really taste at all), cake, cookies, etc now using this method. Had MANY thrown out before - but I get better each time!

Buttercream frosting is gfcf as long as you use all shortening (and the butter flavoring seems to be okay - as far as I could figure out on the internet!) so the frosting is great regardless!

I would say that maybe my 5 year old is easier to please than most celiacs or other kids on the gfcf diet - but he is EXTREMELY EXTREMELY picky.

I wouldn't want someone to tell me that I couldn't order a cake for my child, but I do know that it would be extremely difficult for any bakery to maintain a clean environment so his cake didn't get contaminated. Plus, I'm lucky enough to be able to do it myself!!!!

I can tell you what though - if anyone around me has a gfcf kid and needs a b-day cake I'm totally on it!

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 5:43am
post #23 of 27

We're not alone. One of the domestic companies is now making a gluten free beer.
I can't wait!

This stuff wasn't poison before?

luvsfreebies72 Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 6:12am
post #24 of 27

to the OP - try using stevia (marketed under brand name Truvia). It's supposed to bake the same as sugar, although it is not a cup-for-cup sub. Disclaimer - I have not tried it yet. I do know it is an all-natural sweetener and does not cause the same effect on our bodies as actual sugar, so it's recommended for diabetics

TitiaM Posted 28 Mar 2009 , 3:22pm
post #25 of 27

Stevia is not FDA approved as a food additive, only as a dietary supplement. As far as I know if you are doing cakes commercially you cannot use it legally. Though, I suppose if your customer oks it.....

I have been finding it very frustrating as it seems like it would be a good alternative to sugar alcohols and artificial sweetners. And, its a natural product.

tammy54 Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 2:18pm
post #26 of 27

We are all going gluten free and sugar free and no processed foods :) because my husband has is gluten free.  Could I please get your cheesecake crust recipe?  I have tried a few and they are all very nasty.  Thanks and I love reading your comments with this.  I am stressing at this very moment to produce a client a gluten free and sugar free red velvet cake....after reading this I know it isn't me....its just a very difficult thing to pull off.  I mean I even tried two different recipes and all 6 layers are like 1/2 in think....I think its bc of the Splenda, because I used cake flour on one and another kind on the other and it made no difference.  I think that is just how Splenda bakes - which is frustrating but I'm glad to see I'm not alone.  Again, thanks for de-stressing me.

uberathlete Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 2:44pm
post #27 of 27

You can make a rice flour cake. Milk/Coconut milk, rice flour, splenda, oil/margarine, vanilla, baking powder. Steam.   This might give you an idea:

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