Super-low-carb & gluten-free ‘diabetic’ chocolate cake

A few days before my father-in-law’s 94th birthday, DH set me a challenge. His Dad was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but, being in his nineties, he’s finding it a little hard to adapt to his new eating regime. In particular, after 93 years of eating cake, biscuits, sweets, chocolates etc., he’s developed something of a fondness for them. And hasn’t taken kindly to the idea of giving them up.

So, as a birthday treat, DH wanted me to create a birthday cake that his diabetic Dad would be able to eat a large helping of – and even have seconds! – without any worries at all. A sugar-free, low-carb birthday cake. How hard could it be?!

Super-low carb chocolate birthday cake - grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, and with a dairy-free option!

I have a huge bag of coconut flour, so decided to use that instead of wheat flour as it is significantly lower in carbohydrate, not least because you only need to use a fraction of the amount. But cake needs sugar, right? Or at least sweetener. I considered my alternatives…

  • Fructose (aka fruit sugar) is easier for some diabetics to metabolise, but is still a carbohydrate and most importantly, doesn’t work well in baking.
  • Xylitol, which I’ve used in limited amounts before, is not metabolised, so doesn’t count as a dietary carbohydrate. It’s OK, but can cause tummy upsets in large quantities – not what you want from a birthday cake, really.
  • Stevia, which comes in various formulations, but is much sweeter than sugar so can’t be substituted into a recipe easily.
  • Erythritol, which is a sugar-alcohol like xylitol, and also is not metabolised, so counts as zero dietary carbs. It doesn’t have the side-effects of other similar products, and can be substituted 1:1 for sugar. Bingo!

A browse of the health food shop shelves and I’d bought a tub of Natvia which is almost entirely erythritol plus a teeny tiny bit of stevia for good measure. Time to get baking!

I have to admit, the mixture didn’t look promising. To quote Kipper, “That looks HORRIBLE, Mummy!”  But once it was baked it was actually pretty good! We put a dollop of batter into a cupcake case and baked it separately as a tester – I didn’t want to serve my FIL a horrible cake on his birthday, after all – and having had a cautious nibble, Kipper then scoffed almost the whole thing. (She generously let me and DH have a tiny taste each).

To serve in place of icing, we covered the top of the cake in whipped cream and raspberries, and with a few birthday candles it looked very festive! DH’s Dad was suitably chuffed, and we all tucked in to slices of delicious low-carb chocolate cake and cups of tea. Hip hip! HOORAY! I reckoned that the whole cake only contained about 30g of available carbs – roughly the amount in a single slice of regular chocolate cake.

Super-low carb chocolate birthday cake - grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, and with a dairy-free option!

I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that this cake is ‘healthy’ or ‘diet’ as it does still contain a good dose of fat, however, if you’re looking for a delicious celebration cake and working to dietary restrictions, this recipe is pretty darned impressive if I do say so myself. The cake itself was dairy free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free and low carb. Obviously the whipped cream topping adds a dairy element, but you could easily skip that and use a non-dairy alternative like coconut or soya. Just don’t forget the candles!

I’m quite looking forward to DH’s next cooking challenge now!

Super-low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, dairy-free delicious chocolate birthday cake!

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This made one 23cm round cake.

'Diabetic' gluten-free chocolate birthday cake
Serves 8
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
434 calories
27 g
158 g
35 g
7 g
12 g
146 g
65 g
17 g
0 g
21 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 434
Calories from Fat 308
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g
Saturated Fat 12g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 158mg
Sodium 65mg
Total Carbohydrates 27g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 17g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 175g soft margarine (or butter)
  2. 150g Natvia erythritol sweetener (or equivalent)
  3. 5 eggs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 50g coconut flour
  6. 1.5 tsp baking powder
  7. 25g cocoa powder
To decorate (optional)
  1. 300ml whipping or double cream
  2. 200g fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 23cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
  2. Cream the margarine and erythritol together until light and fluffy - at least five minutes in a stand mixer.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the vanilla in a jug. Measure out the coconut flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix together in a separate bowl.
  4. Gradually add the eggs to the margarine mixture, and beat well to combine. The mixture may begin to curdle slightly - if this happens add a spoonful of the flour mixture with the eggs.
  5. Finally, mix in the coconut flour mixture and gently combine. Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool.
  7. Once cool, cover the top of the cake with freshly whipped cream and raspberries. Serve & enjoy!
  1. If you're not bothered about dairy, you can substitute butter for the margarine.
Super-low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, dairy-free delicious chocolate birthday cake!

Since it’s sugar-free and low-carb, and since it uses plenty of eggs, I’m linking this recipe up to Simply Eggcellent, which this month is looking for healthy recipes. I’m also adding it to CookBlogShare, hosted by Sneaky Veg, and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.



  1. Oooh this looks so good! I must give this a try! Thank you for sharing with #cookblogshare x

  2. Dominic Franks (@belleaukitchen)

    oooh yes! A low carb cake, now that’s a wonderful thing isn’t it? I love the crumb on this cake, it looks like the texture is divine. Thanks so much for linking to Simply Eggcellent x

    • Thanks Dom! The texture was great – especially considering what it looked like going into the oven! Thanks for organising Simply Eggcellent 🙂

  3. This looks and sounds great! I e been looking for a low/no sugar cake recipe! Definitely pinning this one xx #cookblogshare

  4. Wow, that looks amazing. The cake looks lovely and fluffy. I’ve learned that if it looks a bit grim in the mixing bowl, it’ll probably end up fine – just don’t show it to anyone at this stage! Ray xx #CookBlogShare

  5. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain

    What a fabulous surprise for your father in law, to receive a delicious birthday cake that he can eat and enjoy! My father-in-law also had to alter his eating in his 90s, which he obviously wasn’t too impressed by; it certainly takes some thinking about.

  6. Wow – what an amazing result! I bet he was over the moon. I remember my Grandad having similar struggles later in life at having to give up sweet treats when he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes – wish I’d had your recipe to hand then! Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare x

  7. What a delicious looking cake, I’ve never seen coconut flour and really want to find some now:-)

    • Thanks 🙂
      I think you can find coconut flour in health food shops. It’s very absorbent so you need loads of liquid/eggs, and it does take a bit of getting used to, but it’s great for low-carb baking. I should experiment with it more.

  8. Ah how lovely of you, my mum has type 2 diabetes and I think she would love this as she really misses cakes and chocolate! I will definitely be trying this! xx

  9. Bless him! I can just imagine his face when being told in his 90’s he had to give up the things he loved. Think in the same situation that I would have shoved those orders where the sun doesn’t shine 😀
    Janie x

  10. It looks delicious and how nice to have a cake when you’re diabetic. I really must use coconut flour more often.

    • Thanks Choclette. It certainly seemed to be appreciated. I also need to use more coconut flour – I have a HUGE bag, and only ever seem to need a little bit at a time!

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