For people with diabetes, enjoying sweet treats requires careful consideration, as consuming foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to spike. This raises concerns about which desserts are safe to enjoy and how they fit into a balanced diabetic diet.

Many people wonder if lighter desserts, like angel food cake, are a better choice for diabetics. Angel food cake is often seen as a healthier alternative because it’s typically lower in calories and fat compared to other cakes. However, its sugar and carbohydrate content still necessitate a closer look to determine its suitability for those managing diabetes.

In this article, you will learn what angel food cake is made of, how it impacts blood sugar levels, and how much sugar it contains. Additionally, you’ll discover other diabetic-friendly cake options and even get a recipe for making your own diabetic-friendly angel food cake.

Key Takeaways

  • When managing diabetes, understanding the impact of desserts on blood sugar levels is crucial. Angel food cake, while lower in calories and fat, still contains significant sugar and carbohydrates, making portion control essential for diabetics.
  •  Angel food cake’s glycemic index is moderate to high, potentially causing a notable rise in blood sugar levels. Diabetics should carefully consider the carb content, with a standard slice containing 16.2 grams of carbohydrates, 11.4 grams of which are from sugars.
  • While angel food cake may be preferable over richer desserts like chocolate cake or cheesecake due to its lower carbohydrate and sugar content, diabetics should still be mindful of its impact on blood sugar levels when incorporating it into their meal plan.
  • The sugar content in angel food cake, at 11.4 grams per slice, contributes to its taste and structure. It contains less sugar than chocolate, carrots, and cheesecakes, making it a relatively moderate choice among popular cake options.
  • The combination of carefully folded ingredients in angel food cake, such as whipped egg whites, sugar, and flour, contributes to its characteristic lightness and spongy texture, making it a unique dessert option for those looking to manage their diabetes while enjoying occasional treats.
  • Although angel food cake is often seen as a healthier alternative, diabetics should approach its consumption with caution, considering its impact on their blood sugar levels and the need for moderation within their overall diabetic diet.

What Is Angel Food Cake?

What Is Angel Food Cake?

Angel food cake is a type of sponge cake that is popular for its airy, light texture and sweet flavor. It’s distinctive among cakes because it uses no fat like butter or oil. The magic of its fluffiness comes from whipped egg whites, which are the main leavening agent, giving the cake it’s signature spongy form.

The basic ingredients of angel food cake include:

  • Egg whites: They are whipped to stiff peaks and form the base of the cake, providing lift and structure.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps stabilize the egg whites when beaten into them.
  • Flour: Typically, fine cake flour is used because it’s low in protein and helps keep the cake light.
  • Cream of tartar: This acid stabilizes the whipped egg whites and helps them maintain their volume.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds flavor to the cake. These ingredients are carefully folded together to maintain the air in the whipped egg whites, which ensures the cake’s volume and lightness.

Angel Food Cake Nutritional Value

According to Food Data Central, the typical nutritional content for a standard slice of angel food cake (about 28 grams or 1 ounce) includes:

NutrientAmount
Calories72 kcal
Protein1.6 g
Total Fat0.2 g
Saturated Fat0.02 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Carbohydrates16.2 g
Dietary Fiber0.1 g
Sugars11.4 g
Sodium67 mg

Is Angel Food Cake Good for Diabetics?

Angel food cake, known for its light and airy texture, is often considered a better dessert option for those looking to reduce fat intake. However, when it comes to diabetes management, understanding its impact on blood sugar levels is crucial.

Glycemic Index of Angel Food Cake

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks foods based on how quickly they raise blood glucose levels. Foods with a high GI are digested and absorbed more quickly, leading to faster and higher spikes in blood sugar. Generally, angel food cake has a moderate to high glycemic index, typically ranging around 67. This means it can cause a significant rise in blood sugar levels, though it may not be as rapid as some other high-sugar desserts.

Carbohydrate Content

Carbohydrates directly influence blood sugar levels, and managing carb intake is vital for diabetics. A typical slice of angel food cake contains about 16.2 grams of carbohydrates, with 11.4 grams coming from sugars. While it is lower in carbs than many frosted cakes or richer desserts, these numbers are still considerable.

Impact on Blood Sugar Levels

Because of its sugar and carbohydrate content, angel food cake can raise blood sugar levels significantly if consumed in regular portions. Diabetics need to account for these carbohydrates within their overall meal plan. Comparatively, angel food cake might be a preferable option over denser, richer desserts like chocolate cake or cheesecake, which not only have higher carb and sugar contents but also more fats which can complicate blood sugar management.

How Much Sugar Is in Angel Food Cake?

A standard slice of angel food cake (approximately 28 grams or 1 ounce) contains about 11.4 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is integral to the structure and taste of the cake, as it helps stabilize the whipped egg whites and contributes to the overall sweetness.

To illustrate how angel food cake stands in terms of sugar content compared to other popular cakes, here is a comparison table:

Type of CakeServing SizeSugar Content
Angel Food Cake1 slice (28g)11.4 g
Chocolate Cake1 slice (64g)35.9 g
Cheesecake1 slice (80g)18.0 g
Carrot Cake1 slice (60g)26.0 g
Sponge Cake1 slice (30g)5.8 g

From the table, it’s evident that angel food cake has a moderate sugar content compared to denser cakes like chocolate and carrot cake, which contain significantly more sugar per serving. Cheesecake, while also rich and dense, tends to have slightly less sugar than chocolate or carrot cake but more than angel food cake.

Sponge cake, similar in its light texture to angel food cake, generally has less sugar, making it another potential alternative for those watching their sugar intake. However, the serving sizes also differ, which is essential to consider when comparing overall sugar intake.

What Cake Can Diabetics Eat?

Managing diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up desserts entirely. With some smart substitutions and careful selection, diabetics can enjoy a variety of cakes that have a lower impact on blood sugar levels.

Diabetic-Friendly Cake Options

Here are a few types of cakes, along with their typical glycemic index values, indicating how they might affect blood sugar levels:

Type of CakeApproximate Glycemic Index
Sponge Cake46
Carrot Cake (no frosting)35
Flourless Chocolate Cake30
Almond Flour Cake25
Black Bean Chocolate Cake30

Ingredient Substitutions

To make cakes more diabetic-friendly, consider these substitutions in your recipes:

  • Flour Alternatives: Instead of regular wheat flour, use almond or coconut flour, which has lower GI values and fewer carbs.
  • Sugar Replacements: Swap regular sugar for a natural sweetener like stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit sweetener. These alternatives do not raise blood sugar levels like regular sugar.
  • Add Fiber: Incorporate high-fiber ingredients such as oat fiber or ground flaxseeds, which can help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats like avocado or Greek yogurt in your recipes to reduce GI and enhance the cake’s texture.
  • Egg Whites: Use more egg whites instead of whole eggs to reduce the calorie content while maintaining structure and moisture in the cake.

Diabetic-Friendly Angel Food Cake Recipe

Diabetic-Friendly Angel Food Cake Recipe

For diabetics or those simply looking to reduce their sugar intake, enjoying a classic dessert like angel food cake can still be a delightful experience. This diabetic-friendly recipe substitutes certain ingredients to lower the sugar and carbohydrate content, making it a healthier option.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of high-purity erythritol (a sugar substitute)
  • 1 3/4 cups egg whites (about 12 to 14 eggs), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour (finely sifted)
  • 1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder (optional, for added protein and structure)

Instructions

Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Pan: Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Use a 10-inch tube pan but do not grease it; angel food cake needs to cling to the sides of the pan to rise.

Mix Dry Ingredients: In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, whey protein powder (if using), and half of the erythritol. Whisk them together and set aside.

Beat the Egg Whites: In a large bowl, add the egg whites, warm water, cream of tartar, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture is frothy. Increase to high speed and gradually add the remaining erythritol, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat.

Add Flavor and Fold in Dry Ingredients: Add vanilla extract to the egg white mixture and fold gently. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the whipped egg whites, a little at a time, gently folding it in until just incorporated. Be sure to keep the mixture light and airy.

Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the Cake: Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely upside down. This step helps the cake maintain its volume.

Remove from Pan and Serve: Once the cake is completely cooled, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert it onto a serving plate. Serve as is or with a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream and fresh berries.

Tips

  • No Sugar Added Toppings: Enhance your cake with toppings like fresh strawberries, blueberries, or a light dusting of powdered erythritol.
  • Portion Control: Even though this cake is diabetic-friendly, it’s still important to consume it in moderation.

This recipe for angel food cake reduces the usual sugar and carb content by using substitutes like erythritol and almond flour, making it a suitable dessert option for diabetics who want to enjoy a sweet treat without significantly impacting their blood sugar levels.

Final Thoughts

Angel food cake can be a suitable dessert for diabetics when consumed in moderation. This cake is lower in fat and calories compared to other cakes, and its high egg white content can make it a better option for those watching their weight. However, it still contains sugar and carbohydrates, which can impact blood sugar levels. To minimize spikes, pair a small slice with high-fiber fruits or a source of protein. For a more diabetic-friendly version, consider using sugar substitutes and whole-grain flour. Always monitor your blood sugar levels to understand how your body reacts to different foods.

FAQs About Angel Cake & Diabetes

What type of cake can diabetics eat?

Diabetics can eat cakes made with low-glycemic index ingredients and sugar substitutes. Options include almond flour cake, sponge cake made with erythritol, and flourless chocolate cakes using natural sweeteners like stevia.

How much sugar is in Angel Food Cake mix?

Commercial angel food cake mixes typically contain around 16-18 grams of sugar per serving (about 1/12th of the cake once baked according to package instructions).

Is Angel Food Cake high in sugar?

Yes, traditional angel food cake is relatively high in sugar, relying heavily on sugar to achieve its characteristic texture and height.

How often can a diabetic eat cake?

A diabetic can eat cake occasionally, but it should be considered a treat and eaten in moderation, considering their daily carbohydrate and sugar goals.

Can type 2 diabetics eat angel food cake?

Type 2 diabetics can eat angel food cake, especially if it’s made with sugar substitutes and served in controlled portion sizes as part of a balanced diet.

What kind of cake can a diabetic eat?

Diabetics can eat cakes low in carbohydrates and sugars, such as cakes made with almond flour, coconut flour, or those sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners.

What is an acceptable dessert for a diabetic?

Acceptable desserts for diabetics include fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with nuts, sugar-free gelatin, and low-carb desserts like almond flour cookies or cakes made with sugar substitutes.

Is Angel Food Cake high in carbs?

Angel food cake is moderately high in carbohydrates, mainly from flour and sugar, with about 16.2 grams of carbs per typical slice.

Does Angel Food Cake have a high glycemic index?

Yes, angel food cake generally has a high glycemic index due to its significant sugar and refined flour content, which can cause quick spikes in blood sugar.

Does Angel Food Cake have a lot of sugar?

Yes, traditional angel food cake has a lot of sugar, with sugar content often making up a significant part of its total weight.

Is Angel Food Cake healthier than regular cake?

Angel food cake is lower in calories and fat than regular cakes because it doesn’t contain butter or oil but is still high in sugar and carbs.

Why is Angel Food Cake so sweet?

Angel food cake is so sweet because sugar is a key ingredient for sweetness and structure, helping to stabilize the whipped egg whites and maintain the cake’s volume.

Sources

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2019). FoodData Central: Cake, angelfood, dry mix, prepared (SR Legacy, 172695). Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172695/nutrients