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Tangy Lemon and Lime Cake Recipe

Updated on April 27, 2016
nifwlseirff profile image

Kymberly loves to cook, bake and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!

I love citrus fruits, and when given a handful of lemons and limes, I decided to modify my favorite orange cake recipe to use the produce I had on hand.

Lemon cakes are beautiful, but often have an understated flavor. Limes, on the other hand, have a much stronger flavor, which works wonderfully in a cake glaze or frosting.

Although lemons and limes are healthy fruits, packed with vitamin C, one large slice of this cake is not for anyone on a diet - there is a ton of butter and sugar in it!

Because of the light, tangy citrus flavors, this cake doesn't feel heavy, so it's very tempting and easy to over-eat!

Lemon and lime cake, with candied lime peel
Lemon and lime cake, with candied lime peel | Source
A piece of the lemon and lime cake, perfect with a strong coffee.
A piece of the lemon and lime cake, perfect with a strong coffee. | Source
5 stars from 3 ratings of Lemon and lime cake

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 10 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: A good 16 slices or more!

Instructions summary

  1. Zest and juice lemons. Boil lemon juice until reduced to 3 Tablespoons.
  2. Blend castor sugar and eggs until creamy. Add 250g / 2.2 sticks butter, cut in chunks and blend until thick and creamy. Add buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest and 3 Tablespoons of concentrated lemon juice and blend.
  3. Whisk flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda with a balloon whisk. Mix together the flour mixture to the wet mixture until just blended.
  4. Butter and flour a large cake tin (22cm / 15 cup bundt tin), then pour in cake batter evenly.
  5. Bake in a preheated 150°C / 300°F oven for 70 minutes. Remove when cooked through, and invert cake onto a cake rack.
  6. Mix icing sugar, lime juice and remaining butter that has been melted, until smooth. Brush glaze over warm cake.
  7. Decorate with candied lime peel, cool, and serve.

Ingredients

  • 450g / 3 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tin
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 3 eggs
  • 400g / 1.75 cups castor sugar
  • 280g / 2.5 sticks unsalted butter, plus extra for preparing the tin
  • 250ml / 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 medium lemons
  • 2 medium limes
  • 80g / 0.5 cup white sugar
  • 250 ml / 1 cup water
  • 160g / 1 cup icing sugar, sifted

Tips

  • A large food processor or cake mixer makes this a breeze.

    If you want to make it without a food processor, be prepared for a lot of beating as you need to cream the eggs and sugar, and then cream this mixture with the butter.

A gorgeous orange version of this cake.
A gorgeous orange version of this cake. | Source
  • This recipe also makes a stunning orange cake.

    Add sultanas or dried cranberries as the last step before pouring the batter in the cake tin, for an extra burst of flavor.
  • I love decorating citrus cakes with candied peel - it adds a strong burst of flavor, and keeps the peels from going to waste.

  • Use a very large bundt tin for a beautiful form.

    A 22 cm / 15 cup tin is ideal. It does need to cook at a lower temperature and for longer, as it is a deep cake in this tin.

    If you use a normal cake tin, watch the cake as it cooks to make sure it doesn't burn, and is cooked through.

Storage - This cake keeps for about a week in the fridge.

It freezes beautifully, in portions, for a couple of months.

Note: Defrost at room temperature, not in the microwave!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lemon and lime cake ingredients - castor sugar, buttermilk, salt, bicarbonate of soda, icing sugar, flour, butter, lemons, limes, eggs. Not pictured - vanilla essence.Process the eggs and sugar, until creamy.Use a Microplane fine grater for the best lemon zest!Process the egg/sugar mixture with 250 g butter in chunks until thick and creamy.Add concentrated lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk to the wet mixture.Mix the flour into the wet mixture until just blended.Butter and flour a large cake tin - a Bundt tin is especially beautiful.Tip the batter in the floured tin.Bake the lemon cake for 70 minutes at 150C.
Lemon and lime cake ingredients - castor sugar, buttermilk, salt, bicarbonate of soda, icing sugar, flour, butter, lemons, limes, eggs. Not pictured - vanilla essence.
Lemon and lime cake ingredients - castor sugar, buttermilk, salt, bicarbonate of soda, icing sugar, flour, butter, lemons, limes, eggs. Not pictured - vanilla essence. | Source
Process the eggs and sugar, until creamy.
Process the eggs and sugar, until creamy. | Source
Use a Microplane fine grater for the best lemon zest!
Use a Microplane fine grater for the best lemon zest! | Source
Process the egg/sugar mixture with 250 g butter in chunks until thick and creamy.
Process the egg/sugar mixture with 250 g butter in chunks until thick and creamy. | Source
Add concentrated lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk to the wet mixture.
Add concentrated lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk to the wet mixture. | Source
Mix the flour into the wet mixture until just blended.
Mix the flour into the wet mixture until just blended. | Source
Butter and flour a large cake tin - a Bundt tin is especially beautiful.
Butter and flour a large cake tin - a Bundt tin is especially beautiful. | Source
Tip the batter in the floured tin.
Tip the batter in the floured tin. | Source
Bake the lemon cake for 70 minutes at 150C.
Bake the lemon cake for 70 minutes at 150C. | Source

Instructions

For the lemon cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F.
  2. Using a Microplane grater or zester, finely zest the lemon peel of 4 medium lemons.
  3. Cut and juice all of the lemons. Boil the lemon juice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat until the volume has reduced to about 3 Tablespoons of concentrated juice.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the plain flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda with a balloon whisk.
  5. In a large food processor, blend the eggs and castor sugar together until very creamy (about 2 minutes).
  6. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the food processor. Blend for another 2 minutes until the mixture is very thick and creamy.
  7. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, fine lemon zest and concentrated lemon juice, and whiz for about 15 seconds.
  8. If your food processor is large enough, add the flour mixture and whiz until blended, scraping down the sides regularly.

    Note: If it's too small, like mine is, you'll need to finish mixing the cake batter by hand.
  9. Use a large cake tin - I love my large non-stick bundt tin for this type of cake. Butter carefully, then dust the surface with flour.
  10. Pour the cake batter into the tin, then bake for 70 minutes at 150°C / 350°F, until the top is golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  11. While the cake is cooking, prepare the candied peel.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Preparing the lime slivers - cut any extra pith from the lime peel slices.Lime peel, cut into long zig-zagging slivers.Making a lime syrup - cooking the lime peel.Cooked (candied) lime peel slivers, draining.Candied lime peel, tossed in a little castor sugar.
Preparing the lime slivers - cut any extra pith from the lime peel slices.
Preparing the lime slivers - cut any extra pith from the lime peel slices. | Source
Lime peel, cut into long zig-zagging slivers.
Lime peel, cut into long zig-zagging slivers. | Source
Making a lime syrup - cooking the lime peel.
Making a lime syrup - cooking the lime peel. | Source
Cooked (candied) lime peel slivers, draining.
Cooked (candied) lime peel slivers, draining. | Source
Candied lime peel, tossed in a little castor sugar.
Candied lime peel, tossed in a little castor sugar. | Source

Candied lime peel

  1. Carefully cut thin strips of lime peel from the two limes with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Avoid the white pith - this will make the peel terribly bitter. If you do get some pith on your peel slices, cut it off carefully.
  2. Cut the peel into long slivers, using a zig-zag pattern. This will give an structure to the candied decoration on the top of the cake.
  3. Put the peel slivers, water and 80g / 0.5 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the peel is soft and cooked through. It will lose some of its bright green color during this time.
  4. Drain the peel slivers, then toss in a little castor sugar, and allow to cool.

Tip: Keep the lime syrup to use as a salad dressing, a dip for grilled meats, over fruit salads or as a very tangy pancake syrup.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The warm lemon cake, before turning out onto a cake rack.Lime glaze ingredients - icing sugar, lime juice and melted butter.Brushing the lime glaze onto the lemon cake - making sure to catch the drips!
The warm lemon cake, before turning out onto a cake rack.
The warm lemon cake, before turning out onto a cake rack. | Source
Lime glaze ingredients - icing sugar, lime juice and melted butter.
Lime glaze ingredients - icing sugar, lime juice and melted butter. | Source
Brushing the lime glaze onto the lemon cake - making sure to catch the drips!
Brushing the lime glaze onto the lemon cake - making sure to catch the drips! | Source

Glazing the cake with the lime

When the cake has finished cooking, prepare the lime glaze:

  1. Juice the two limes.
  2. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then add the lime juice and melted butter. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges carefully, and turn onto a cake rack.
  4. Place the cake rack over a large place or newspapers.
  5. Use a pastry brush or silicon brush to carefully cover the hot cake in the glaze. It will soak into the hot cake, and there will be a lot of glaze that runs off. If you are using a plate to catch the drips, you can reapply the glaze for a thicker coating.

    Tip: If you want an even stronger lime taste, brush a layer or two of the hot lime syrup over the cake while it is hot, before applying the lime glaze. The syrup will soak into the cake more than the glaze.
  6. Decorate with candied lime peel strips, and allow to cool thoroughly.
  7. Serve with cream, ice-cream, whipped vanilla cream cheese, fruit compote (orange compote is wonderful), or simply by itself with coffee or tea.

Lemon and lime cake with candied lime peel slivers.
Lemon and lime cake with candied lime peel slivers. | Source

What is your favorite citrus cake?

Do you have a favorite recipe? Let us know your favorite citrus cake flavor in the comments below!


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    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 3 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Just browsing cake recipes and I found this. Looks delicious. I'd live to try it!

    • nifwlseirff profile image
      Author

      Kymberly Fergusson 5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      Kali - Thank you! Lemon cakes are so delicious!

      Cat - I can't say no to anything with lemon or lime in it! I hope you enjoy it.

      Simone - Isn't it funny how tastes change over time? I hated limes growing up, but love them today. I hope you like this cake when you get around to making it!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I spent my entire childhood avoiding citrusy cakes only to discover how much I really love them in college. This recipe looks delicious- I'd love to try it out someday!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      This looks wonderful! I have a weakness for any citrusy cakes or cookies. Thank you for posting your recipe. :)

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

      Hi nifwlseirff, this looks fantastic! My grandmother used to make a lemon pound cake that I always loved. Voted up!