Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

Chocolate Pecan Cake

Chef’s Note: Early on I “mastered” making diabetes-compatible cakes. My recipe for a chocolate cake seemed too complicated for many home cooks. What I did was simply to add dark cocoa powder to the “flour mixture” of my yellow cakes and voila—it worked like a charm.

This cake is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat. I have replaced 1/3 of the flour in my original recipe with ground pecans. This cuts the carbohydrate count, adds fiber, and protein.

Because artificial sweeteners don’t react the same way as sugar, the cakes don’t rise. I use the sour cream baking soda and vinegar to help the cakes get a little more loft.



My grandmother was from Austria-Hungary and was a terrific baker. Her cakes were about the cake, not about the frosting. They were deeply, richly flavored and moist and there was no need for frosting. For those of you that don’t consider it cake without frosting, or are making a birthday or special occasion cake, here is my favorite and most versatile frosting.

The only frosting I use is this cream cheese recipe below. With butter cream I can usually “feel” the sweetener. The only downside is that the cake needs to be refrigerated. I usually take it out of the refrigerator an hour or so before serving.

—Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic

Servings: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total: 40 minutes


  • ½ cup toasted pecans, cooled
  • 1/8 Tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 cups flour (you can use 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup white flour, if you like)
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp baking soda (1/2 tsp into dry mix; 1/2 tsp into wet mix)
  • 3 Tbs Hersey's Special Dark cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbs butter at room temperature
  • 5 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar substitute
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs sour cream (low fat is fine but NOT fat free)
  • 1 Tsp cider vinegar
  • For Frosting:
  • 8 oz cream cheese (can use low fat but NOT fat free)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar substitute
  • ½ Tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350° F.

I like to use an 8 to 8 ½ " springform pan or small Bundt pan WELL sprayed or buttered to avoid cake sticking to the sides.

Dry Mixture

In a food processor:

Combine nuts, salt, and 1/3 cup flour. Pulse until the nuts are totally pulverized. Add 1/3 cup more flour, espresso and cocoa powder. Pulse until combined. Add ½ tsp. baking soda and powder and pulse until combined. (I often do this a day ahead).

Wet Mixture

Easiest if you have a stand mixer.

Cream butter and GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE until light and fluffy add the oil and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add vanilla

Add remaining ½ tsp of baking soda to sour cream and stir.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the eggs and sour cream mixture. Start with the dry. MIX ONLY UNTIL JUST INCORPORATED otherwise you wind up with bread.

Bake for 26-28 minutes until a tester comes out dry from the center of the cake. Allow to cool. Remove side from the spring form pan and frost as below.

Decorate with chopped pecans and a dusting of cocoa powder.


Basic Cream cheese frosting

Covers one 8 inch cake generously
Beat until smooth and frost cake when it is still slightly warm.

To keep the serving plate clean, turn cake out onto two pieces of parchment or waxed paper each big enough to cover ½ of the cake. Frost and remove paper before chilling.


For a chocolate -   1-2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder or coffee flavored liquor
For an orange -     2 Tbsp. of TROP 50, (or an orange liquor) and1 tsp. orange zest
For an almond -     ¼ tsp. almond extract or 2 tsp. AMARETTO LIQUOR

Nutrition Information

Net carbohydratess, 14 g per slice (including frosting) Frosting: Net carbohydrates, 16 g per cake or 2.5 g per slice


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