Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lime Lovers' Layer Cake

This Lime Lovers' Layer Cake completes the trio of lime and chocolate themed cakes this month. It's very different from the previous cakes; with light, fatless, sponge layers, sandwiched with tangy cream, topped with a semi-hidden, dark, chocolate ganache and, encased in a sweeter lime icing. To emphasise the lime, the cakes have been brushed lightly with lime syrup too and, some tiny chocolate touches have sneaked in here and there, there and here...

It's about time for short cut too. I enjoyed making the lime curd from scratch and it is still better than anything you can buy. There have been other fantastic recipes as well for lemon based curd,  such as the Diethoods recipe for Lemon Curd which caught my attention, from Foodbuzz. If you are in the UK and, you are stuck for time; you can try bought curd such as the Duchy one below. It's not such a problem in this recipe when you are mixing it with other ingredients such as cream. Just add a shot of lime juice to spark up the flavour to lime.


Cake Layers 1 & 2:

5   Large eggs
5oz (140g) Golden caster sugar
5 tbsp Milk
1 Lime zest
5oz (140g) Self raising flour
A good pinch of salt

Cake Layer 3: 

3   Large eggs
3oz (90g) Golden caster sugar
3 tbsp Milk
2 oz (60g) Cocoa powder
1 oz (30g) Self raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder
A pinch of salt


Lime Juice Syrup ( Juice of one lime, 2 oz (60g) sugar boiled together)

7.5 fl oz (227 ml) Double ( Heavy) cream - Yeo Valley Organic
1 tbsp Lime Curd

Decoration part 1:

3.5 oz 100g bar of Dark Chocolate ( Green and Blacks for example!)
2 tsp Butter
7.5 fl oz (227 ml) Double ( Heavy) cream - Yeo Valley Organic

Decoration part 2:
12 oz (340g) Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Lime Curd

1 tbsp Butter
Colour if desired

Sweet lime candies, sweet jellies, chocolate if desired

The amount given here can be  reduced to 8 oz of icing sugar etc if you do not want to decorate so elaborately.


3 round tins ( I used two  different sizes and cut one of the cakes to make it smaller for a tiered effect) Lined, greased and floured.


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2

Line and prepare the cake tins.

Remove the zest from one large lime. Squeeze the juice out and combine with the sugar, heat in the microwave for one minute, stir and heat again for two minutes to make a lime syrup. Set aside for later.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and creamy. Add the milk, lime zest and salt which should soften the batter. Sift in the flour, and fold in gently.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff with clean and dry beaters.

Gently fold the egg whites into the main mixture, trying to keep those air bubbles in.

Pour into tin and put into oven. Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 15 minutes. Cook until the sponge lightly springs back to your touch.

Repeat the above steps with the chocolate cake mixture. I used the chocolate mix in the largest tin as a base layer to reflect the chocolate on the top of the cake.

Let the cakes cool completely.

Brush the tops of the cakes with the lime syrup made earlier.

For the filling, whip the cream until stiff and then combine with the lime curd . I cut one of my cakes to make an extra layer and trimmed one down to get a tiered effect. Sandwich together.

Layers of tangy lime cream filling, stack 'em up!
For the first part of the decoration; whip the double cream until stiff. Put to one side. Melt the bar of chocolate with 2 tsp of butter for the ganache. Pour what you need to coat the top of the cake only. With the remainder add this to the whipped cream for decorating round the base of other parts of the cake. Place the cake into the fridge until the ganache hardens.
This was my favourite part of the cake with the semi-hidden ganache; soft tangy icing over bittersweet chocolate.
Sift the icing sugar and mix with the lemon curd and butter until a workable consistency. Add colour or juice as required.  Gently cover the top ganache and reveal as much as you want to with the decoration. Cover the sides of the cake with the remainder of the icing and the chocolate cream. Decorate further as desired.


This kept surprisingly well for a fatless sponge, although it was all eaten at the end of the third day. I have a fear that this type of sponge will turn to rubber if you leave it  longer than a day. I can only assume that since it was encased in various syrups, cream and icings, it had help maintaining it's 'inner freshness'!

However, the project gave me an idea for further studies about hidden ganache within or on top of the cake. I would like to make a simpler version of this cake again; with only two layers and a larger proportion of cream to cake, for a dessert cake. It has also given me an idea for a sherbert lemon cake; as in the English sweets type of sherbert, aah the possibilities....


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake

On the theme of tongue twisters again this week, I think this one wins; Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake. It is a homage to three of Green and Black's cocoa products; their 70% dark chocolate bar, their cocoa powder and their white chocolate. To reflect the truffle theme; the cake is centred with a lime truffle filling. The cake is very dense almost truffle like itself and the coating is a butter only ganache. This is a very rich, intensely chocolate cake with a central tang. So you have been warned, small slices equals massive cocoa hit!

I try to produce new and exciting twists on the cake theme and this one is for fans of very dark chocolate. Also, in the USA, there is National Chocolate Cake Day on the 27th January. I think this is a fitting tribute and from the recipe you will see that it takes a lot of chocolate. You could adapt this recipe by using your own favourite chocolate but try the chocolate chosen here for it's intense taste with the added benefit of ethical buying and an organic product.


Cake :

8oz (225g) Butter
8oz (225g) Golden caster sugar
4  Large eggs
4oz (110g) Self raising flour
4oz (110g) Cocoa powder (Green and Blacks)
1 tbsp Golden Syrup or Corn Syrup
Milk up to ½ cup
2oz (60g)  70% Dark chocolate bar (Green and Blacks)

Key Lime Truffle Centre:

100g bar of White chocolate (Green and Blacks)
2 dstspn Lime Curd ( Orange also works well )
I Lime (Juice only)

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

4oz (110g) Butter
8oz (225g) Dark Chocolate 2 lots of 100g bar of 70% Dark chocolate (Green and Blacks) plus the remainder of the bar used for the main cake


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1.

Grease sandwich cake tins. I used 7 inch ones and with greaseproof paper at the bottom .

In a blender (I use a Magimix with a Sabatier blade) chop up ¾ of the bar of chocolate  into small chunks or chop up with a knife.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the cocoa powder . Fold in the flour and add milk to the mix until it is of a soft dropping consistency. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Divide into two cake sandwich tins. You can weigh each one to make sure you have the same weight of mixture in both, for two even bakes. This amount made enough for four tester cupcakes as well.

Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 20 minutes. Cook until gently risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. These cakes are cooked in quite a cool oven so that the cocoa does not burn and get bitter. Allow to cool and make  the truffle centre.

Melt the white chocolate very gently in the microwave. As soon as it starts to melt, take it out and give it a gentle stir. The remaining heat should melt the rest of the chocolate. Add two heaped dessert spoons of the lime curd and stir in. Add a tsp or two of the lime juice to adjust taste for more tang! The mixture should start to thicken and be ready for spreading on the cake.

Brush cake sides and centres with the remaining lime juice and spread truffle mix on one half. Place the other half on top gently and place in fridge for half an hour. This will help firm the centre filling and keep the cake cool ready for the ganache topping.

Now that lovely chocolate  has collected underneath in the dish, it can be saved for ice cream topping or add some cereal such as rice krispies with a spoonful of golden syrup. Pop into some cases with sprinkles for some upmarket krispie treats.
Place the cake on a wire rack over a glass dish to catch the ganache as it drips down the side. You don’t want to waste any of the lovely chocolate! Again break the chocolate into small chunks and melt gently in the microwave. Cut soft butter into chunks and slowly stir into the chocolate until the butter is completely blended. The chocolate should be nice and shiny now. Spoon several tablespoons full on top of the cake and allow it to flow to the sides. This is the first crumb coat only, giving you a more even layer for your next coat of ganache. Add some more until the sides are covered too. I use a pastry brush to ensure the sides are coated.
The mixture will have started to thicken  and you can pour the rest from the centre of the cake for it's final coating. Transfer the cake now to its final serving plate. Allow the ganache to firm slightly before adding any addition decorations.

Small candy limes were added to reflect the central lime theme.


I used four bars of chocolate for this recipe which can make this an expensive cake to produce. However, it is so rich, I would recommend that you only need to cut very small slices so the cake would serve 20 people. The type of chocolate used is still eating chocolate (as opposed to cooking chocolate) as I feel that the aroma given by the eating chocolate  is more noticeable and nicer. This is particularly notable in the Green and Black's White Chocolate which is enhanced with Bourbon Vanilla.

This cake is almost a complete contrast to the sweet Limey Chocolate Limes Cake I made last week. Both made with chocolate and lime but have different textures and a different emphasis on the key ingredients. Next week, I am ending the lime trio with a totally different fatless mix , again with lime and chocolate but with double (heavy cream). I will be thinking of a suitable tongue twister title until then.....

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cake Comedy - No Cooking Required

Midweek distraction No. 11- Jim Gaffigan - Cake Comedy. Sometimes when I'm not baking cake or eating cake, it's important to look at cake from another's perspective.  Here's Jim Gaffigan's musings on cake:

Also, some of you may have noticed I am on a lime theme at the moment and I would like to thank Gunnar from Gastronaut Adventures for his recipe for lemon and lime curd which was my original inspiration. I will be using it as a key ingredient in my next two cakes.

I adapted the recipe ; using eight limes since we have such small ones here in the UK (no more jokes please) ;  mixing half the butter at the beginning  and the other at the end of the recipe; 1 cup (8 oz/ 225g) of sugar and six eggs. I still have the old Good Housekeeping recipe for lemon curd that calls for a hefty 2 cups of sugar to 4 lemons > < . 

The recipe makes quite a large jar of Lime Curd but you can have it on scones with cream and on shortbread too!

I also referred to a recipe from One Perfect Bite called Adam's Curd which gives another technique for making lime curd . In fact, I hung around Mary's blog for quite awhile something to with Key West Lime Bars and other lime goodies. That's enough liminess from me now, thanks to my Foddbuzz Foodies for sharing your recipes.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Limey Chocolate Limes Cake

A belated 'Happy New Year' which means I should have given everyone time (about two  weeks) to fall back into their old ways. Time for cake?

Hidden in Tangy Lime; a Smooth Chocolate Buttercream

Starting with a fun make, based on an old English candy - chocolate limes - a crispy lime sweet shell with a smooth chocolate center. Translated into a tangy lime cake with a crunchy lime meringue frosting and a smooth milk chocolate buttercream hidden inside. Now say the title again really fast as a tongue twister....

Chocolate limes from a really lovely, old fashioned, sweet shop in Ross-on-Wye. Where rows of sweet jars line the shelves and you have to ask the lady for what you want and say please ...Tudor Sweets of Ross



6oz (170g) Butter
6oz (170g) Caster sugar
3  Large eggs
2 Egg yolks

2 Limes*
6oz (170g) Self raising four
Few drops of green food colouring

Chocolate buttercream:

4oz (110g) Icing sugar
2oz (60g) Butter
2oz (60g) Chocolate (choose your favourite)

Lime Meringue Frosting:

2 Egg whites
15oz (425g) caster or granulated sugar
3 ½ fl oz (100ml) water
*Juice of one of the limes mixed with green and yellow food colouring

Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2

Grease 2 sandwich cake tins; add greaseproof paper at the bottom as well.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift and then fold in half the flour. Add the eggs yolks, the zest from the two limes and the juice from one of the limes. Fold in the rest of the sifted flour and add the food colouring. Put equal quantities into cake tins and place in oven.

Check after 20 minutes. I didn’t want the top to brown too much to detract from the green colour so I baked this at a lower temperature. Remember; cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool.
Melt the chocolate. Whisk butter and icing sugar together and add melted chocolate. Spread on one cake half and place the other cake half on top. Put into fridge until buttercream has set.

For the meringue frosting, (also known as American Frosting in old Good Housekeeping books), sort the colouring and flavouring out first. This mixture sets pretty quickly and you won’t have time to suddenly look for things. Add two drops of yellow food coloring to two drops of green and add the juice of the remaining lime. This should give you a lime green colour at the end.  

Place sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan and allow water to start to dissolve the sugar. In another bowl whisk both egg whites until stiff. Heat the sugar and water syrup until 240°, or to the soft-ball stage. Pour the syrup slowly into the egg whites whisking all the time. The mixture will start to thicken. Whisk a few drops of the coloured lime mix at a time until the desired shade is acquired, hopefully lime green! Spread the icing, covering the whole of the cake.


I endeavour to make as much of my baking 100 % organic and avoid Evil E numbers and such like. However, with food colourings that has become a bit of a challenge and something I am still sourcing and experimenting with. A lot of food colourings may claim to be ‘natural’ but that doesn’t mean organic. These too can be very expensive compared to others and some of the colour ‘holding’ qualities are not so good.
I’m currently researching more brands, especially for a green colour, so I can come up with one that doesn’t impart an unwanted flavour such as spinach to the icing or go from green to pale grey. Fine if you want it but not in this case. I am not adverse to a very pale natural colour but in sugarcraft it's sometimes good to have fun at mimicking the real thing. I wanted a Limey Chocolate Limes Cake!