Little Bit O'Sunshine Cake

Recipe by Mandy Pagano

Recipe originally published on on 4/16/21. It has been heavily edited for re-publication.


Well, it's still Lent, and I'm still eating meatless meals every Friday. But with everything going on in the world, I thought it was time to break our veg-and-pescatarian focus and give you guys a recipe that's sure to bring a little happiness into your family's quarantined life.

I picked this cake- which is a creation I started working on for my friend Heidi- because it's light and fluffy and fresh, and with the strawberry jam filling and lemony cream cheese icing, it's like having a little bit of sunshine in your mouth. All of which makes it perfect for Spring and all the upcoming (potentially at-home) celebrations. My family particularly enjoyed this recipe (none of my test batches survived past the 48-hour mark, and even my picky kid loved it), and so I hope this brings as much happiness into your home as it did to mine.

Time to bust out the scale, gather round the little helpers, and bake something delicious!

Notes: My one real tip here is in regards to the use of Allulose in the jam filling. I used it in this application because you can heat it to very high temperatures and it doesn't recrystallize as it cools. Unfortunately, most other keto and low carb sweeteners don't behave that well under boiling conditions.

However, if you don't have access to Allulose and don't want to order it right now, that's OK. You don't have to settle for having the crunchies in your jam. All you have to do is wait 2 minutes from taking the jam off the heat to add your preferred sweetener. It will still be hot enough to melt into the jam, but not hot enough to cause the crunchies. I also listed those alternate instructions in the notes of the printable version of the recipe, for your convenience.

[tasty-recipe id="3679"]

Little Bit O'Sunshine Cake

  •  Author: Mandy Pagano
  •  Prep Time: 6 hours
  •  Cook Time: 2 hours
  •  Total Time: 8 hours
  •  Yield: 20 slices
  •  Method: Baked
  •  Cuisine: American
  •  Keywords: baking, comfort-food, desserts, family-favorites, holidays, cake, lemon, strawberry, wedding-cake, white-cake


Strawberry Jam Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c (12 fl oz/ 355 ml) water, divided
  • 1 lb (16 oz/ 454 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp Allulose sweetener (**see notes below recipe for instructions on using a different sweetener)
  • 1 packet (1/4 oz/ 7 g) plain gelatin powder (Knox brand is fine)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • heavy pinch sea salt

White Cake:

  • 7 oz (198 g) super fine almond flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1 oz (28 g) coconut flour
  • 2 scoops (approx. 3/4 oz/ 20 g)  plain collagen peptides powder (I use Vital Proteins)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp (3 oz/ 85 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz (113 g) granulated sweetener (I use Swerve)
  • 1/2 c (4 fl oz/ 118 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 c (4 fl oz/ 118 ml) boxed coconut milk (the thin stuff from the carton)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla flavored liquid stevia (I use Better Stevia)

Lemony Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 brick (8 oz/ 227 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick (4 oz/ 113 g) salted butter, softened
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp (1/2 fl oz/ 15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavored liquid stevia (I use Better Stevia)
  • 4 oz (113 g) powdered sweetener (I use Swerve Confectioner's)
  • 1-2 tbsp (1/2-1 fl oz/ 15-30 ml) heavy cream, if desired to thin icing
  • thinly sliced lemon and/or strawberry to garnish, if desired


To make the jam:

  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 1/4 c (10 fl oz/ 296 ml) water with the strawberries, Allulose, lemon juice, and salt.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries soften and completely break down. It should boil and will take approximately 20-30 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer at that temperature, stirring occasionally, 30 more minutes to reduce.
  4. In the last five minutes of the strawberry mixture simmering, pour the remaining 1/4 c (2 fl oz/ 59 ml) water into a wide-ish bowl and sprinkle the top evenly with the gelatin. Let stand to bloom. It's going to congeal into a solid, and that's OK.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately begin adding the bloomed gelatin in, a little at a time, and whisking well between each addition to allow the gelatin to melt into the mixture.
  6. Let stand to cool slightly, then transfer to a lidded jar or container to continue cooling with the lid off.
  7. Once the jam is room temperature, put the lid on and refrigerate until completely chilled. This should take 4-6 hours.

To make the cakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 (8") cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment rounds. Place the cake pans on a large baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, collagen peptides, baking powder, and sea salt, and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the heavy cream, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla stevia together and set aside.
  5. In another mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sweetener until light and fluffy.
  6. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients mixture, alternate beating in the dry ingredients and cream mixture until just combined. When it's all in, beat on medium 20 seconds for a little additional aeration.
  7. Add about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the batter and stir in by hand to lighten the batter. You don't have to be gentle here. Just mix by hand until well combined.
  8. Gently fold in the remaining stiff egg whites until it's thoroughly incorporated into the batter. Be careful not to knock the air out of the beaten whites by folding too aggressively.
  9. With a ladle or an ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans and smooth the tops with the back of a spatula or an icing knife so that the top is flat and even. This will help your cakes bake evenly and stack nicely.
  10. Place the baking sheet holding the cake pans into the center of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are set and just starting to look golden.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven and let stand in the pans 10 minutes.
  12. Gently invert the cakes onto a cooling rack, carefully peel off the parchment, then allow to cool completely.
  13. Once the cakes are cooled, place one layer onto your cake plate.
  14. Remove the jam filling from the refrigerator and stir to loosen a little.
  15. Evenly spread the top of this layer with jam filling to about 1/4" of the edges.
  16. Gently top with the second layer, then refrigerate the cake while making the icing.

To make the icing:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the lemon peel, vanilla extract, and vanilla stevia.
  3. In a second bowl, sift the powdered sweetener to remove all lumps, then beat into the icing a heaping tbsp at a time.
  4. Once all the sweetener has been beaten into the icing, you may add 1 or 2 tbsp heavy cream to thin it out, if it is too thick to spread. Otherwise, get your cake out to begin frosting it.
  5. Using between 1/3-1/2 of the icing, put one layer of frosting on the cake with an icing knife. This is your crumb layer- meant to catch any crumbs so your final layer will be smooth- and it should be fairly even but doesn't need to be perfect.
  6. Place the cake with first icing layer in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to set.
  7. With the remaining icing, frost the cake evenly with an icing knife. You may set aside a some of the remaining icing to pipe on further decorations, if desired.
  8. Place in the refrigerator another 20-30 minutes to set.
  9. Remove from the refrigerator and pipe on any remaining icing, if you choose. Otherwise, you may garnish the top and sides with thinly sliced lemons and strawberries, if desired. Let stand in the fridge again, another 20-30 minutes to set.
  10. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand 20 minutes, then serve and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1/20 cake (1 slice)
  • Calories: 217 cal
  • Fat: 19.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
    • Fiber: 1.7 g
    • Sugar Alcohols: 6.9 g
    • Net Carbs [total carbs - (fiber + sugar alcohol)] : 4 g
  • Protein: 5.6 g

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