Life has a dark sense of humor, so it came as no surprise to me that as a full-fat, full-sugar baker, my boyfriend was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. ZING! That’s hysterical, universe…good one.
And while, obviously, the story of my boyfriend being separated from his sweet tooth is the real tragedy here, it’s been an interesting challenge concocting sugar-free desserts that don’t taste like hell’s version of sugar.
For those of you who’ve never had the misfortune to explore the world of sugar-free, you’d think it would be as easy as adding Splenda, but no. You really have to don a white lab coat and become a mad scientist to understand what makes a sugar-free dessert: A. Not give you indigestion, and B. Not force your tastebuds to call it a day. Learning the difference between Truvia and Stevia, how to spell Xylitol, and what “pourable” means is awesome-if you’ve got the time. But thanks to a budding world of diabetics and all of our species’ natural desire for sweet, some new products are on the market to take the AP science class out of cooking.
This recipe originated at Picky Palate, a great site for tasty, easy desserts and weeknight meals, but I’ve updated it to be as sugar-free as possible (still some real sugar in it, but baby steps). Even I enjoyed this one-which is saying something considering I take personal offense to desserts that aren’t actively trying to give me a heart attack.
- Electric mixer
- Jelly roll pan
- 1 box Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
- 3 oz. sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Place cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding, sour cream, and pumpking into a very large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until combined (batter will puff up and be sticky-this is normal). Pour into the pan, spreading evenly.
Melt butter and add the brown sugar and cinnamon, mixing until combined. Plop this mixture over the cake, using a fork to spread it out and give it some swirl.
Bake the cake for 30-35 min. until cooked through and remove. Place the powdered sugar and cream into a large bowl and mix until creamy and smooth. Spoon over hot cake and then spread evenly with a knife. Let the cake cool for 30 min. before trying to cut into squares. Refrigerate if not serving the same day.