Tangy Lemon and Lime Cake Recipe
Add More Zing to Your Standard Lemon Cake!
I love citrus fruits, and when I was 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 to look at, but they 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, 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!
For the cake:
- 450g / 3 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 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
For the glaze:
- 2 medium limes, juiced
- 160g / 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
For the candied lime peel:
- Peel of 2 limes used for glaze
- 80g / 1/2 cup white sugar
- 250 ml / 1 cup water
Step 1: Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F.
- Using a Microplane grater or zester, finely zest the lemon peel of 4 medium lemons.
- Cut and juice all of the lemons. Boil the lemon juice in a small saucepan on medium-high heat until the volume has reduced to about 3 Tablespoons of concentrated juice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, blend the castor sugar and eggs until creamy. Add 250g / 2.2 sticks butter that's been cut into chunks, and blend until it's thick and creamy. Add buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest, and those 3 tablespoons of concentrated lemon juice and blend.
- Whisk flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda with a balloon whisk. Mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just blended.
- Butter and flour a large cake tin (22cm / 15 cup bundt tin), then pour in the cake batter evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes. Remove when cooked through and invert the cake onto a cake rack.
- A large food processor or cake mixer makes this cake a breeze. If you want to make it without a food processor, be prepared for a lot of beating, as you'll need to cream the eggs and sugar and then cream this mixture with the butter.
- This recipe also makes a stunning orange cake. Just use orange instead of the other citrus.
- Add sultanas or dried cranberries just 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.
Step 2: Make the Candied Lime Peel
- While the cake is cooking, prepare the candied peel. 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.
- Cut the peel into long slivers, using a zig-zag pattern. This will give a structure to the candied decoration on the top of the cake.
- Put the peel slivers, water and 80g / 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the peel is soft and cooked through. It will lose some of its bright green color during this time.
- 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.
Step 3: Make the Glaze and Assemble
When the cake has finished cooking, prepare the lime glaze:
- Juice the two limes.
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then add the lime juice and melted butter. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
- Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges carefully, and turn onto a cake rack.
- Place the cake rack over a large place or newspapers.
- 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.
- Decorate with candied lime peel strips, and allow to cool thoroughly.
- Serve with cream, ice cream, whipped vanilla cream cheese, fruit compote (orange compote is wonderful), or simply by itself with coffee or tea.
This cake keeps for about one week in the fridge. It freezes beautifully, in portions, for a couple of months.
Note: Defrost at room temperature, not in the microwave!
What Is Your Favorite Citrus Cake?
Do you have a favorite recipe? Let us know your favorite citrus cake flavor in the comments below!