Baby Shower Baking! Complication: Gestational Diabetes!
November 8, 2013 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm providing the cake (??????) for a good friend's baby shower on Sunday, which I'm very happy to do. The complication is that I just found out that the mother-to-be was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I don't know anything about how to bake for people diabetes in general or gestational diabetes specifically, and I don't have time to do a ton of research before I have to start baking whatever it is I'm baking. Panicking a little! HELP!

I would like to make something that tastes good and that my pregnant friend will be able to eat without stressing out about it. (She's not really the "Hell with what the doctor says!" type.) I'm willing and able to buy special ingredients like gluten-free flour or what not. I'm also willing to bake something complicated if it's worth the trouble.

A cake or cupcakes would be ideal. I will settle for anything yummy and comforting if a cake isn't doable.

Please assume that I don't know anything about diabetes-friendly food or baking.

Links to specific recipes are great, guides to substitutions are also great.
posted by Narrative Priorities to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd do a cheesecake. Use a crust of almond flour, stevia and butter. Then alter your favorite cheesecake recipe to use stevia instead of sugar. Or use this one, it seems pretty good. I use a mix of stevia and Xylatol, I like Stevita, it's very nice and doesn't have a weird after-taste.

Serve with berries.

The gestational diabetes thing is about carb reduction, so gluten free won't begin to cut it!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Cheesecake is a great suggestion.

Women with gestational diabetes can still have cake. You can go ahead with what you were going to bake and not make any modifications. The mom to be will probably opt for a small piece or sliver.

If you want to make something special, I would use whole wheat flour and less sugar. My MIL occasionally makes desserts with Splenda and they are great.
posted by Fairchild at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2013

Best answer: I think you should ask your friend -- she may have specific requirements that you will need to know. (Some people can't eat artificial sweeteners for medical and/or taste reasons; some people can eat them but aren't willing to eat them during pregnancy. Or she may be able to eat a small piece of cake if she watches the other things she eats that day.)

If she CAN do artificial sweeteners, I think I'd try a combo of unsweetened whipped cream, artificially sweetened pavlova (here's one, I can't vouch for it) or individual merengues, and fresh berries. Serve separately -- people who can do artificial sweeteners can take all three; people who can't do artificial sweeteners can have fresh berries and whipped cream; people who can't do dairy can do pavlova and berries, or just berries. Berries are awesome. Almost everyone can eat berries.
posted by pie ninja at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't know if gestational diabetes differs from regular diabetes, but this cake is a favorite. It sounds very strange from the ingredients, but it is absolutely delicious.

My mother used to make the regular sugared version of this growing up, and it was amazing. I just made one of these the other day and my food snob friends loved it (there is no way i would tell them it was made using cool whip and instant pudding, nor would they ever suspect me of ever cooking with those ingredients.)
Everyone who has ever eaten this cake has loved it.
If you do make it, I suggest doing it as a layer cake with the pineapple filling between layers and on top, leaving the sides bare. Garnish with baby roses on the plate, or daisies.
For a faster make (literally 15 minutes) using a sugar free angel food cake if you can find it, but if you do bring an electric knife cuz angel food is tricky to cut.

One more thing, even though none of the recipes for Pineapple Lush cake say to drain the pineapple, I always have better results if I do. And make double the filling.

Here's the regular sugared version:
posted by newpotato at 2:13 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I had gestational diabetes. The best thing someone could have done for me was tell me the exact nutritional information of what I was eating (for the whole item, divided by accurate serving size). I wouldn't try to make a "diet" cake. It's all about carbs.

I'd much rather have 1/3 of a tiny sliver of chocolate cake with frosting than a cheesecake made with Splenda, but that's me! I just had to track carbs, so that means knowing what you're eating. It's not too difficult to work a treat into your weekly/daily/meal totals.
posted by peep at 2:15 PM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]

When I was in this position, I made an Angel Food Cake, using a regular recipe. It is mostly egg white, and 1 piece is 2 starch exchanges. I had berries and whipped cream on the side, and the mother-to-be was quite pleased.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 2:16 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another option is something like a flour less chocolate cake, which is decadent and most people will opt for a smaller piece too.
posted by brilliantine at 2:24 PM on November 8, 2013

Best answer: I think peep and brilliantine have it - make a fantastic cake for which you can estimate nutritional values. If you can skew to less carbs and more protein without getting weird (especially with sweeteners, and some pregnant women prefer not to eat artificial sweeteners, not to mention most of them taste funny to people who eat sugar), like the flourless cake or cheesecake, that's great.

I limit my carbs and prefer to cheat - or save up - for something mindblowing. It sucks wasting your carbs on mediocre treats.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:36 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What peep said. I'm diabetic. I can eat whatever I want, but knowing the ingredients and proportions lets me judge how MUCH of anything I can have. It's all about the damnable carbs.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 3:03 PM on November 8, 2013

Best answer: I had gestational diabetes, and I really have to nth peep et al. "Sugar free" absolutely, positively, does NOT mean "carbohydrate free."

If your friend is in my "artificial sweeteners are ok/just the tiniest sliver of regular cake is not" camp, something like this recipe could work. Whipped cream and/or berries goes well with a cake like this, and doesn't add much, carb-wise.
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:13 PM on November 8, 2013

Best answer: My wife has GD right now. I echo others in saying that the best thing you can do is provide a cake that has VERY detailed information re: carbs, dietary fiber, and sugars, and let them make their own decision re: how much to eat.

We've had some cakes/sweet stuff that's made with Stevia, it's not a bad substitute if you're determined to go that route.

posted by Cycloptichorn at 3:54 PM on November 8, 2013

Oh do a chickpea chocolate cake with agave or something. Still sugary but so delicious and very few carbs (relatively). So delicious!
posted by caoimhe at 5:05 PM on November 8, 2013

I don't know what other food is going to be served at the party, but it would help to know. In particular, if there are some good proteins, like meat or cheese, that can help balance the carbs (and give the blood sugar a longer, lower arc) and make it easier to eat the fancy cake you were originally planning on making. But it's worth checking with your friend to find out if she'd rather have a small piece of fancy cake or a larger piece of stevia almond cheesecake.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:25 PM on November 8, 2013

You might look for a keto-friendly recipe. Keto-ers are super carb-conscious. (The keto diet is high fat, very minimal carbs.) Also, not all sugar substitutes are artificial (stevia, erythritol, inulin, etc.). Finally, be aware that you need to worry about carbohydrates from things other than the sweetener. Try looking for a cake recipe that uses almond flour or coconut flour instead of regular white or even whole wheat flour for a lower carb count.
posted by RandyWalker at 4:54 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I decided to make a not-super-sweet olive oil cake and serve it with berries and whipped mascarpone cheese. I also did the nutritional info math ahead of time, which was an excellent suggestion!

Thanks so much you guys! It all went over very well and my pregnant friend ate cake and berries and had a lovely time!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:20 PM on November 11, 2013

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