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Kelly's Low-Carb Vanilla Sponge Cake

I've been working on a recipe for a light, fluffy, and moist low-carb sponge cake for several years now. My recipe development really kicked into high gear when I knew I wanted to make the ultimate strawberry shortcake for Ken and I to enjoy on the day we secretly got married in a super tiny ceremony during the worst of the pandemic.

Not only do I follow a low-carb diet, but my digestive issues necessitate a low-lectin diet as well, which means standard flour is completely off-limits. The majority of low-carb baked goods rely on almond flour, which is lovely in terms of flavor and versatility, but it's quite heavy compared to wheat flour.

To combat the heaviness, I thought a sponge cake made with the separated egg method (where the whites are whipped into a stiff meringue and then folded into a batter containing the egg yolks) would be the perfect solution. From there I played around with different fat additions (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and butter). I found that oils helped to keep the cake light and airy, and avocado oil did not impart any unwanted additional flavor.

Since I finalized the recipe on our micro-wedding/elopement day, I've used this vanilla sponge in a ton of different cakes, including Soulbound's 4th birthday cake!

I'm sure you'll all find creative uses for this versatile sponge cake recipe as well!

Kelly's Low-Carb Vanilla Sponge Cake


Part 1 | Batter

Wet Ingredients
✶ 5 egg yolks
✶ 35g monk fruit sweetener
✶ 40ml avocado oil
✶ 80ml almond milk
✶ 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
✶ 100g almond flour
✶ 14g coconut flour
✶ 2 tsp baking powder
✶ 1/2 tsp salt

Part 2 | Meringue
✶ 6 egg whites
✶ 35g monk fruit sweetener
✶ 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


✶ Preheat your oven to 350° F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper

Part 1 | Batter

✶ In a medium-large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and monk fruit sweetener together until the mixture becomes light and slightly fluffy
✶ Add the avocado oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine
✶ In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt until evenly mixed
✶ Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. There will be some chunks of almond flour at the end that are too large to get through the sieve. I use a spoon to try to push as many of them through as I can, and then discard whatever is left
✶ Whisk everything together until fully incorporated

Part 2 | Meringue

✶ In the bowl of a stand mixer or a separate bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they become frothy
✶ At this stage, add the cream of tartar, and slowly add the monk fruit sweetener, just a tiny bit at a time as you continue beating on high
✶ Once all of the sweetener has been added, continue beating the egg whites until they're glossy and hold stiff peaks
✶ Mix 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter. This bit of meringue will lose a bit of volume, but that's ok because you're basically sacrificing it in order to lighten up the egg yolk batter a bit, making the next bit of meringue easier to incorporate
✶ Gently fold in the remaining meringue into the batter, 1/3 at a time, being careful not to overmix or lose too much of the volume
✶ Once the meringue is fully folded in, gently pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet
✶ Use a spatula to level off the top of the cake as best as you can
✶ Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top of the cake is a very light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
✶ Allow the cake to fully cool in the pan before removing it

I like to bake this cake in a wide, thin sheet, so that I don't have to mess with cutting the cake horizontally to create layers. I simply use a round cake ring or the bottom of a round cake pan as a guide, and I cut circles of cake out of the larger sheet. These circles become equally level layers that are ready to be stacked! The scraps that remain can be used to make mini cakes or just eaten as a snack!

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