Lemon and Lime Cake with White Chocolate Icing

25 June 2013

So it was my birthday last week and obviously I couldn't let the day pass without cake - it later turned out that several other people had a similar idea, resulting in my having four different lots of cake by the end of the day (including this work of art), but I'm just classing that as a sign of a successful birthday.

Since what passes for Spring/Summer only arrived here a few weeks ago, I'm currently loving cooking anything with fruits or other nice fresh ingredients and thought lemon would be a nice change from a standard birthday cake. After much research into lemon and white chocolate cakes, I couldn't find one sole recipe that I liked the sound of so instead used a different one for each part of the cake and the result was actually pretty good.
For the lemon cake:
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons
175 self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g butter
175 caster sugar
2 eggs

For the lime curd:
Zest and juice of 1 lime

75g caster sugar

2 eggs

50g butter

For the icing:
110g butter
250g icing sugar
200g white chocolate

The cake itself is the easiest part to make, the original recipe says to just blend all the ingredients together with an electric mixer but I did it by hand because I don't have one and it was fine. I used the zest and juice from one lemon but if I was making the cake again I'd probably use two to get a bit more flavour into the sponge. I also kept a bit of the zest to one side for decoration at the end but thats optional. Once you've got your cake mixture just divide it between two greased and lined sandwich tins and bake at 170 degrees for about half an hour - I usually check it by listening to the cake, but the old 'stick a cocktail stick in and see if its clean' method always works too.

While the cake is baking I made the curd filling (the original recipe was for lemon but I fancied adding in a new flavour and substituted limes instead). Start by whisking up the eggs and lime juice, then stir in with the sugar and zest. Add the butter (in small pieces) and then heat slowly over a pan of simmering water. It'll take at least 20 minutes/half an hour to thicken up but as long as you stir regularly you don't need to stand over it the whole time. If you want to make it look extra fun you could probably add some green colouring to the lime filling but I didn't have any to hand.

Once the cakes are baked, as you'd expect, they'll need to cool completely before you can ice them. When the cakes have cooled down you can layer them, (spreading the curd in the middle first). To make the chocolate icing mix the butter and icing sugar together, then melt the chocolate over a low heat and stir into the icing. I was worried I'd have to wait ages to be able to ice my cake but the chocolate cools very quickly once its mixed so you can pretty much use it right away - just spread over the top layer of your cake (and around the edge too if you have enough) and you're finished!

I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out for something I only decided I was doing not very long before heading to the kitchen, I think the curd and the chocolate icing balance the cake out really nicely. In future I might use a little more lemon but other than that I'm very pleased.

Photos by David Gurney.

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