What I like about the last two weeks of August (except the fact that summer is coming to an end) is the lime that suddenly pops up everywhere. Hands down, lime is so much cooler than its big brother, the lemon. It’s not as sour as lemon and has a mature taste of tender bitterness. That’s why you can often find it in alcoholic drinks.
But let’s not tear the family apart. Indeed, both are better than just the one, so I decided to combine them both in this cake. I feel like it’s a common combination, probably so that the lemon’s sourness and the bitterness of the lime will contrast each other to give a finer taste.
A note: Toward the end of the baking, the cake may appear burnt on the sides and may even give a burnt smell. Do not worry, the cake doesn’t burn easily and it’s probably not ready yet (that’s why it’s advised to check with a toothpick). As I learned at baking school, it’s better to french bake (a product almost burnt) than an undone final product. Also, I have made candied lemons in the past using a different way to decorate éclairs. This time I found a simpler and faster way to make it.
The recipe makes a 20 cm wide cake and a 15 cm wide cake (4-5 cm tall each).
220 g butter
420 g sugar
420 g flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1¼ cups milk
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
Juice and zest from 2 limes
¼ cup sugar
200 g powdered sugar
20 g lime juice
20 g lemon juice
A round pan with a 20 cm diameter
A round pan with a 15 cm diameter
Grease the pans lightly. On a baking paper, mark a circle with a diameter of 20 cm, another circle with a diameter of 15 cm and rectangles to fit the sides of the pan. Cut the outlines and line the pans.
Preheat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
Cut the butter into cubes and melt in the microwave in pulses of 5 seconds long until you get a texture of mayonnaise. Mix well after each pulse and be careful not to completely melt the butter.
Put eggs and sugar in the mixer bowl and whisk at high speed until you get a white and fluffy mixture (about 5 minutes). In the meantime, sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Once the egg mixture is ready, add the butter at once and whisk for a few seconds until well combined.
Add one third of the flour and mix until uniform (from the moment the flour is combined in the batter, be careful not to over mix). Add half of the milk and mix. Add the second third of the flour and mix. Add the other half of the milk and mix. Finally, add the last third of the flour and mix until the batter is uniform. Add the lime juice, the lemon juice and their zest. Mix again until uniform.
Pour the batter evenly into the pans and place the pans in the preheated oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to check if it’s ready. The toothpick should come out almost dry, with just a bit of crumbs. Remove pans from the oven and keep the cakes at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before releasing from the pans. How to release the cake: Place a baking paper on top of the pan and then a cutting board on top of it. Flip it all over and lift the pan to release the cake. Place a second board on the cake and flip again. Remove the top board. Let the cake cool completely at room temperature for about an hour or two before glazing.
Preheat oven to 135ºC (275ºF). Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices from the lemon and the lime. Get rid of the seeds. Arrange the slices in one layer on a baking pan lined with baking paper. Sprinkle the sugar on top. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until the slices are almost dry. Remove from the oven and release the slices from the baking paper to avoid them sticking to it.
Prepare the glaze only when the cakes have cooled down and are ready for coating, otherwise the glaze will set too soon. Put powdered sugar, lime juice and lemon juice in a bowl and mix. Add more powdered sugar if the frosting doesn’t look thick enough. Fit into a pastry bag.
Putting it all together!
Cut the top of each cake with a long serrated knife or a saw. To get a straight clean cut, keep turning the cake and cut first from the sides then slowly advance to the center of the cake. Flip over the cakes and remove the baking paper. Place the large cake on a serving plate.
Cut a small opening (about 0.5 cm) at the edge of the pastry bag containing the glaze. Pipe a bit of the glaze over the large cake and place the small cake on top. Pipe the glaze over the large cake around the small one. Spread the glaze with a frosting spatula to a thin layer. To achieve the drip effect, pipe the glaze gently at some points around the cake. Do the same for the smaller cake layer.
Decorate with candied lime and lemon slices. To place the slices upright at the top of the cake (as shown in the picture), stick a toothpick in the cake and then let the lemon/lime slices lean on it.
Keep the cake in room temperature up to two-three days or in the fridge up to a week.
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