Skinnylicious vanilla cake

Mich Turner

Mich Turner

17th March 2017
Mich Turner

Skinnylicious vanilla cake

This is my skinnylicious vanilla cake recipe from my new book, Have Your Cake and Eat It - Makes a 20cm (8 inch) round cake.

This vanilla cake is made by the whisking method, using eggs, sugar and flour with NO FAT AT ALL. It will be wonderfully light and aerated and is best enjoyed on the day it is made. I have layered this cake with a smooth Italian meringue and fresh berry compote. Surprisingly light you can almost feel the halo as you eat it!


  • Makes a 20cm or 8 inch round cake:
  • Groundnut oil, for greasing
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 190g (6¾oz) golden caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 190g (6¾oz) plain flour, sifted
  • To serve:
  • 200g (7oz) Fruit compote
  • 1 quantity of Italian Meringue
  • Fruit compote - makes about 500g (18oz):
  • 400g (14oz) fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blackberries)
  • 100g (3½oz) golden caster sugar grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or orange (optional)
  • Italian Meringue:
  • 300g (10½oz) golden caster sugar
  • 25g (1oz) liquid glucose
  • 65ml (2½fl oz) water
  • 4 medium egg whites (weighing about 140g/5oz)


For the round cake:
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm (8 inch) round sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the caster sugar and the vanilla bean paste in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water just until the sugar dissolves and reaches a temperature of 40–45°C (104–113°F) – check with a thermometer or your fingers – it should feel like a hot bath.
Remove from the heat and transfer to an electric mixer. Continue to whisk at maximum speed for 15 minutes until the batter cools and thickens and triples in size.
Add the flour, two tablespoons at a time, and gently fold in with a metal spoon or rubber spatula until fully combined. This will help to avoid lumps without overworking the sponge.
Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 25–30 minutes until risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed.
Transfer to a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool for five minutes in the tin, then turn out and leave to cool completely.
Top tip:
To add more flavour to the cake add the zest of one orange before adding the flour.
For the fruit berry compote:
Fresh fruit berry compotes are a natural inclusion to add flavour, interest, texture and nutrition to your bakes. They can be stirred into cake batters before baking; added to buttercreams to naturally colour and flavour; spread between layers or onto meringues and pavlovas; or injected into muffins and cupcakes for a fruity hit.
Use fruits as they are in season or frozen berries throughout the year. As the fruits are heat treated and combined with sugar, they will keep for up to 14 days in the refrigerator, and can be frozen in small containers for up to three months. Defrost thoroughly before using.
Place the fruit, sugar and citrus zest and juice, if using, together in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Continue to heat, stirring occasionally for about 25–30 minutes until the fruit has softened and reduced to a thick pulp.
Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the sugar or add lemon juice to taste. Store for up to 14 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For the Italian meringue:
Measure the sugar, glucose and water into a saucepan and heat over a medium-high
heat, stirring gently. Place a sugar thermometer in the sugar solution and stop stirring when the solution reaches 80°C (176°F). Continue heating without stirring until the temperature reaches 110°C (230°F).
Put the egg whites in a clean bowl attached to an electric whisk and start whisking on full speed. As the syrup reaches 119°C (246°F), remove the pan from the heat and, with the egg whites still on full speed, add the syrup to the egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Once all the syrup has been added, whisk until the meringue has cooled.
The meringue is now ready to use straight away.
To serve:
Place the base on a cake plate, and spread with half the compote. Fill a large piping bag with an open star nozzle and fill with the Italian Meringue. Hand pipe one-third of the meringue in a large circle from the centre outwards. Repeat with the next layer of sponge. Once the final layer of sponge is in place, finish with the Italian Meringue. Use a blowtorch to colour and caramelise the meringue on the top layer.

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