Lime isn’t something I’ve used in my baking before, and I don’t know why as I love it. It has a fruity, citrus zing to it but without the sour harshness of lemon. I'd bought a bag of limes for Christmas in case I needed them for cocktails....I buy a bag of limes every Christmas for this purpose and always end up throwing them away - but not this time! I'm not sure why I think the success of Christmas hinges on me having a bag of limes in my fridge, but it does.
I thought this cake was perfect for that post Christmas and New Year “I need to eat more healthily but can’t think of a life without cake” period that lasts about 2 weeks (ok, ok – it lasts about 2 minutes).
Admittedly, the cake isn’t stunning to look at but the syrup makes it juicy and soft and comforting – perfect for this horrid cold snap we’re enduring. Syrup cakes get better and better with time as the flavour of the syrup is absorbed into the sponge and matures.
If you want to picture this cake imagine a lemon drizzle cake made with lime and more syrup than you’d use for a lemon drizzle. It has a delicate, refreshing flavour and a beautifully sticky texture that requires a cake fork rather than fingers! In texture, it’s almost akin to a baked cheesecake – it has that dense yet soft and moist sponginess.
When you start brushing the hot syrup over the hot cake you will think you have far too much for it ever to be absorbed. Persevere because it will all get used!
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
300g self raising flour
For the syrup:
80ml lime juice (approx 3 limes, depending on size and juiciness)
165g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper – ideally use an all-in-one liner as then no syrup will escape.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Gradually beat in the egg yolks.
- Beat in half the flour, followed by half the buttermilk, then the remaining flour and remaining buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until the soft peak stage.
- Fold the egg white into the cake batter in two stages, to ensure it is incorporated fully.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, level the surface, and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour 5 minutes.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven make the syrup: place all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. You can tell this by looking at the back of the spoon – if there are any crystals it hasn’t dissolved.
- Stop stirring and bring the syrup up to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and brush over the hot cake. Do this gently and gradually so the syrup is absorbed. I found the syrup came up the edge of the cake liner (this is why it’s a good idea to use an all-in-one) but absorbed as the cake cooled.
- Serve at room temperature with spooning cream.
- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.