Many Diabetic-Compatible Happy Birthdays


This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

I am sorry, but where is it written that a birthday cake HAS to be some tasteless white, yellow or chocolate cake with an overly sugary frosting, icing roses or pictures and a sugar gel greeting?

If you ask my friend, Sarah, she will tell you that her mom ALWAYS made her pie for her birthday. Why? Because that is what Sarah liked.

In my household, the birthday cake becomes a cheese-filled crepe (blintz) for birthday breakfast because that is what my spouse really likes. As for me, my birthday cake is often The King of the Night Cake – so rich and chocolaty that even the smallest piece can satisfy you, but so low in carbohydrates that you CAN have a big piece.

Slim Pickings

I know, I know, who has time to bake? In the “old” days, if you couldn’t bake, wouldn’t bake, or had no time to bake, you could go to a bakery and find something there to please the birthday boy or girl. Sadly, bakeries are few and far between these days. We are pretty much left with the offerings of the “stupidmarket.” The problem there is they don’t have a lot of good choices. Oh you can have a cake with any picture or character you can imagine put on the top, but the cake has little or no flavor. The frosting is so sugary it hurts your teeth. Why suffer?

Imagine if you are a person with diabetes. What choices do you have then? I say celebrate the diabetes. You work hard enough all year to manage it; let your birthday be the day you celebrate your triumph over it, at least in your cake choice.

Baking Is Worth the Effort

My next door neighbor (type 1) had a surprise birthday party a couple of weeks ago. He loves my cheesecake, so I asked his wife if I should make some for him. Mary was very happy for the offer, but asked that I just make one cake for him. She did not want me to go to too much trouble and she was going to buy a sheet cake for the kids anyway. I was happy to give a fellow diabetic a treat that he could love.

Sadly, I listened to Mary and just made the one cake for the birthday boy. Here is the punchline: Jim saw the way the people were looking at his cheesecake. It became clear that if he did not hide it away, he was not going to have even a sliver for himself. Now most of the guests at the party did not know me or my cheesecake. They took one look at it and just knew it was going to be better than the sheet cake. OK, the little kids did not, but the adults were going to eat the cake from under him.

Getting back to thinking you are not capable of making a cake or you don't have the time to make a cake, I say piffle! My cake recipes are really easy. Well, not my King of the Night cake. That takes a little effort. As for time, at least part of every one of my cake recipes can be made a day or two in advance, and the cakes themselves can be made ahead of time.

So what do YOU have to gain from making a birthday cake or a cake for a party or just a weekend? A cake that is low enough in carbohydrates that you can have a real piece. None of these 8-inch cake recipes that serve 35, but an 8-inch cake that serves eight! A cake that tastes so good, you will want to have a real piece. If food is love, you also get to express your love for your person with diabetes. What can be better than that? Could it be the knowledge that YOU can do it?

Just as a thought for your little ones with diabetes, most of these recipes make six kid-sized cupcakes, which my buddy, Sev, says are “awesome.”

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

Click here for Ward's Almond Creme Cake recipe!

Get more nutrition tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Photo credit: Sam Howzit on Flickr