Can A Diabetic Have Birthday Cake?

This post was written by Chef Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic. 

diabetic birthday cake

A friend of mine approached me and asked: “My brother in law, Jack, was diagnosed with diabetes about six months ago. He has been a real champ about managing his disease and is doing really well. We are a closely knit family and always gather together to celebrate family birthdays. Next week is his birthday. Is there a birthday cake that I can make that will be ok with his diet and still taste good enough for the rest of the family? I don’t want him to feel left out, but also don’t want him to feel worse because the rest of the family has to eat some dried out tasteless cake just because of him. Do you have any suggestions for a cake that will make everybody happy?”

The answer is a resounding YES!!

My response: “First of all, what a great sister you are to make sure he is included in your family tradition. Feeling normal is a big part of a diabetics’ incentive to control their disease while bolstering their self-esteem. GREAT NEWS! Yes indeed there are a number of my recipes that will fit the bill.”

I shared with her, and now with you, some cake recipes from my site that are perfect for a birthday. Everything from a plain simple cake, to an over the top cream confection. All are less than 15 grams of carbohydrates for a very decent size piece. Not a sliver mind you, but a slice.

1-House of Orange Cake: This is a light, richly flavored cake that has such a wonderful orange flavor that I think it needs no frosting. If an un-frosted cake is not your thing, you can frost it with an orange flavored cream cheese frosting. It is very rich and a snap to make. I like to just put a dollop of whipped sweet or sour cream and some berries over each slice.

2-Pineapple Carrot Cake: Just like the original but made with a sugar substitute. This is a sweet cake loaded with carrots, nuts, and fresh pineapple used in place of raisins (that are so high in carbohydrates). Use chopped fresh pineapple to decorate the cake and a tablespoon of the juice to flavor the cream cheese frosting.

3-Amaretto Cheesecake: Yes, really, cheesecake. I make this cake all the time. My neighbors who are both diabetic (he type 1, she type 2) always ask me to make it for them for their family birthdays. I used to make one for them with a sugar substitute, and another with sugar for the rest of their extended family. Nobody could tell the difference so I just stopped making the full sugar cake. If you don’t like the flavor of Amaretto, you can use orange or lemon juice and zest instead.

4-Italian Crème Gallette: This one is just over the top. It’s not difficult to make, but it does take some time for the meringue layers to bake and cool. The really great things about this cake are:

  • It is also gluten free.
  • It can be made in dozens of flavors; use your imagination to guide you!
  • If you hate the texture of the Ricotta used for the filling, you can just as easily substitute flavored whipped cream with a little gelatin to stiffen it  up.
  • It looks stupendous!

Just as a silly note, get one of the plastic picks or candles that say ‘Happy Birthday.’ That way you don’t have to use a sugar gel to write on the cake.

Enjoy yourself and save a piece for THE Decadent Diabetic.


Chef Ward Alper is type 2 Diabetic who lives and eats DECADENTLY in Portland, Maine. Since his diagnosis more than four years ago he has refocused his recipes and eating to support his Diabetes health. He has maintained a consistent A1C of 5.2-5.3, while still enjoying the pleasures of eating. Chef Alper has been a professional chef in both New York City and Boston, Massachusetts.

He has a website,, where he shares stories and recipes with his fellow Diabetes and encourages them to expand their choices and take back their life and their table. His articles and recipes appear on Top Diabetes sites as well in medical newsletters across the United States. He is working with a major New York publisher towards publishing a cookbook so he can share with more Diabetics that you can take back your life and your table while still eating a Diabetic Diet and be DECADENT to boot!