cakes that aren't too sweet

9 Best Cakes That Aren’t Too Sweet

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Cake is something that everyone can agree is delicious, decadent, and a real treat. However, not everyone has the same sweet tooth, and you might be someone who finds cake a little too sweet sometimes.

The beauty of cake is that it can be made in many different ways, and while most cakes tend to be very sweet, there are some amazing cakes that aren’t too sweet, and which are ideal for those who want to cut back on their sugar intake, while still enjoying their cake!

Which are the best cakes that aren’t too sweet?

Not all cakes are made to be overly sweet, and some of the best-tasting cakes out there do not contain too much sugar at all. Some of these cakes include carrot cake, banana cake, lemon-blueberry cake, and even dark chocolate cake.

If you are looking for cakes to enjoy that aren’t too sweet, take a read through the below options. We have included various cakes with different flavors and textures, so you are sure to find the one which is best for you!

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is a classic cake that is a favorite of many, and it just so happens that isn’t an overly sweet cake!

Not much sugar is used to make carrot cake, and because it is made using a cream cheese frosting, you aren’t hit with an overwhelming sweetness with each bite.

carrot cake

While not much sugar is used to make carrot cake, to get the cake moist and balanced, some sugar is used. However, the addition of carrot and spices does dull down the sugar somewhat, giving you a cake that is not too sweet, but which is still full of flavor too.

You can also cut out some of the sugar in a carrot cake recipe and instead add in more raisins to the cake to add a natural sweetness. Pecans can also be added in too, giving the cake more depth of flavor.

You also have some control over how much sugar you can add to the frosting. The frosting is made using cream cheese, heavy cream, and powdered sugar, but you can add in more or less powdered sugar depending on your tastes. You could also leave the frosting out completely!

Carrot cake is the perfect not-too-sweet cake, as it is still so packed with flavor and texture, you won’t notice any of the missing sweetness.

Here is a great carrot cake recipe to try out.

Banana Cake

You’re probably already familiar with banana bread, but if you wanted something more cake-like, then banana cake is a great option to try to make at home, especially if you have some leftover bananas which are over-ripe.

The ripe bananas have a beautiful natural sweetness to them, which gives the cake a light, subtle sweetness too. The bananas also help to make the cake light and fluffy, giving it a delightful texture.

banana cake

There is some sugar used to make banana cake, but it is usually brown sugar, which is less sweet than white sugar. There is also very little sugar used, as the bananas do add to the sweetness.

To enhance the flavor of the cake even further, various spices are used as well, such as ground cinnamon, and sometimes even nutmeg. 

The batter made for banana cake is versatile too, it can be used to bake a cake or to make muffins or banana bread. You can also then decide whether you want to add a cream cheese frosting to the finished cake or not.

This banana cake recipe doesn’t contain any sugar at all, and instead uses honey or maple syrup to sweeten the cake.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Lemon blueberry cake is one of the tastiest, most delightful cakes around, and it is not too sweet, so it is suitable for many different tastes!

Made with tart lemon, and tart and sweet blueberries, the lemon blueberry cake has a great balance of flavor, with the tartness reducing the sweetness in the cake quite substantially.

lemon blueberry cake

Lemon blueberry cake can be made with a variety of ingredients, and it really is up to your tastes, and the ingredients you use. For example, using fresh lemons is best, as you can use the juice and zest for the best citrus flavor.

For the blueberries, fresh or frozen can be used, as they both offer a sweet and tart flavor. Brown sugar is commonly added to lemon blueberry cake, to balance off the zesty tartness of the lemon, but you do not have to use too much brown sugar.

Buttermilk, or whole milk, is also used to give the cake a beautiful texture and creaminess. To finish off the lemon blueberry cake, you can leave it as is, top it with a tart lemon drizzle, or make a cream cheese frosting.

You are able to control how sweet or tart the cake is, by adding in more lemon zest or blueberries or reducing the amount of sweetener used.

This is a great recipe to follow to make a lemon blueberry cake.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Those who do not like too-sweet things, probably love dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is more bitter and less sweet than milk chocolate, but it is still as decadent as any chocolate can be.

If dark chocolate is your thing, then you should definitely try out a dark chocolate cake. Dark chocolate cake will not be as sickly sweet as milk chocolate cake. Instead, it will be rich, full of flavor, and beautifully moist. Along with the dark chocolate cake, you can make a dark chocolate ganache too.

dark chocolate cake

Dark chocolate cake is usually made using unsweetened cocoa powder, but there are some recipes that also call for the inclusion of melted dark chocolate too. There is quite a bit of sugar added to dark chocolate cake, but this is just to balance out the unsweetened cocoa powder.

The darker the chocolate you use to make the cake, the less sweet it will be! Here is a recipe that uses dark cocoa powder to make the dark chocolate cake.

Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin cake is slightly similar to carrot cake, but it has a fairly different texture, as you would be using pumpkin puree rather than grated carrots, so it might be a better option for you if the texture of carrot cake is not your thing.

Pumpkin cake has a unique flavor profile. It has the warmth and slight sweetness from the pumpkin puree, but then the added kick from various spices used. As the pumpkin is only slightly sweet, it results in a cake that isn’t too sweet.

pumpkin cake

As pumpkin puree is used, the cake is usually fluffy, moist, and tender. The cake can be enjoyed as is, or it can be topped with a cream cheese frosting, which is also not too sweet.

Warm cinnamon spice helps to add richness to the pumpkin puree flavor, and the creamy cream cheese frosting helps to lighten it all out with some tartness too.

If you are wanting to make pumpkin cake at home, this is an easy recipe to follow.

Honey Lavender Cake

Honey lavender cake might not be one of the popular types of cake baked at home, but it is something you should consider trying if you want something that isn’t too sweet and if you want a fragrant, light cake to enjoy.

The beautiful combination of the sweet honey, and the delicately fragrant lavender gives the cake a wonderful depth of flavor, and it is still light enough to be enjoyed at any time of the day.

honey lavander cake

This is also a great cake to try if you prefer the taste of honey as a sweetener compared to sugar, and it might become your go-to sweetener for baking cakes in the future as well. 

A delicate lavender buttercream pairs perfectly with the honey cake, and you don’t have to make the buttercream too sweet either, with the creaminess from the frosting going well with the slightly sweet cake sponge.

If you wanted to up your baking game at home, or try out something new, then this recipe will be a great test of your skills and give you the opportunity to bake something different.

Apple Cake

Apple cake might not look like a traditional frosted birthday cake, but it is really delicious and naturally sweetened, so it isn’t sickly sweet and artificial tasting.

Apples are naturally sweet, and when used to make a cake, they provide a subtle sweetness that is balanced out well with additional warm spices, such as cinnamon. Additional ingredients can also be added in, such as walnuts, to bring more flavor to the apple cake.

apple cake

While apples are sweet, they also have some tartness as well, with some apple varieties being tarter than others. Because of this, you can control how sweet the apple cake is by the type of apples you use, whether you want the sweetness of Gala apples or the tartness of Granny Smith apples.

You can also choose to enjoy the subtly sweet apple cake as is, or you can add a frosting to the cake, such as a cream cheese frosting which isn’t too sweet. The frosting adds a creaminess to the cake but it doesn’t necessarily need it to be delicious.

Apple cake can also be served warm or at room temperature. Here is a great recipe to try out.

Coffee Cake

If you are a coffee lover, then you will definitely love coffee cake! Coffee cake has a beautifully dark, rich flavor profile that isn’t too sweet. It is moist and buttery, and it can be enhanced with additional spices such as cinnamon.

Coffee cake is usually quite dense, but this isn’t a problem at all, as a simple sweet glaze helps to soften and lighten up the cake perfectly, and this sweet glaze only needs to be minimal, so it is not too sweet.

coffee cake

However, if you want to avoid this glaze, you can just serve the coffee cake as is, as it is still delicious served plain. 

Coffee cake is popularly made with a streusel topping, which makes for a great alternative to a glaze or frosting, and you can control how much sugar to add to the streusel, to suit your preferred level of sweetness.

Coffee cake is definitely a cake for those who do not want something too sweet, but who still want to enjoy bold, rich flavors. It makes for the perfect after-dinner dessert, and nothing is stopping you from serving it with a hot mug of coffee too!

This is an easy recipe to follow to make a coffee cake.

Pear and Almond Cake 

Pear and almond cake is a slightly old-fashioned cake, but it is one that should never fall out of favor. It has a great combination of sweet pears and nutty almonds, which give the cake a sweet flavor that has some savory notes to it too.

pear and almond cake

Pear and almond cake can be served in a variety of ways, but usually, it involves a sponge with layered pears on the surface, topped with an almond streusel. This can be left as is or topped with powdered sugar, a glaze, or cream cheese frosting.

The beauty of pear and almond cake is that you can control how sweet you want the cake to be by the toppings you choose to use, it also gives you the perfect way to use up any pears you have in the kitchen.

Pears have such a mild, subtly sweet flavor, so you can be sure that they will not overpower the flavor of the cake and make it too sweet. The cake can also be served with pouring cream, which helps reduce how sweet it is as well.

The almonds and almond extract bring a great flavor to the cake too. This is a great recipe to use to make pear and almond cake at home.

The 9 Best Cakes That Aren’t Too Sweet

Not all cakes out there are overly sweet, and you don’t have to give up cake just because some are too sweet. There are some great cakes to discover that are the perfect sweet level for you, and which still have a great texture and beautiful flavors.

Above we have listed 9 of the best cakes that aren’t too sweet, as well as some recipes to try, so you can make the cakes at home. We have included a range of flavors and ingredients so you are sure to find the subtly sweet cake that is perfect for you.

Related Questions

How Do You Make Cake Less Sweet?

If you are using a cake mix, one of the ways you can make the cake less sweet is to replace some of the cake mix with plain flour. This could alter the texture slightly, but it will mean that the cake will lose some sweetness.

What Happens if You Reduce the Amount of Sugar in a Cake Recipe?

If you reduce the amount of sugar in a cake recipe, it could lead to the cake being slightly drier and crumblier. More sugar means a softer, moister cake, and it usually allows the cake to have a longer shelf life too.

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