Tender, sweet little lime pound cakes brushed with rum and covered in a buttery tart icing.
Mother Nature tried to blow Colorado into Kansas yesterday and I'm pretty sure we've had more snow in the past couple of weeks than we had in all of January and February (at least it feels that way). BUT every morning, as I sip my first cup of coffee, there are birds chirping outside my window. The trees have tiny green leaves and flowers are popping in my front yard.
All these days spent inside wrapped in my warmest sweater might not feel like spring. But, there are signs that it's upon us. And signs of Spring make me want to bake Spring-y things. Like these mini lime pound cakes.
These little pound cakes just feel like they should be served in a lush English garden at tea time.
I've never actually eaten anything in a lush English garden at tea time (or any other time). The circles I run in aren't quite so refined. (Understatement of the century.) But, if I ever did find myself in such a situation, I'd want these lime pound cakes to be served. Preferably sliced into adorable little two bite slices, of which I'd eat six.
Instead of all that, these were eaten in my kitchen. Actually, we've been eating versions of these ALL WEEK, because fresh lime, as it turns out, is not so easy to use in a cake. At least not so as you achieve enough of a lime flavor to rightfully call them "lime cakes" while still getting them to rise properly and not fall in on themselves in the last 5 minutes of baking.
The Perils of Baking Lime Pound Cake
The flavor of lime (or lemon) is drastically muted when exposed to the heat of the oven. But, add too much fresh lime juice and the acidity will destroy the delicate balance of ingredients that produces a tender, moist, risen cake. The best method I've discovered to get as much lime flavor in there as possible while still producing a fine-crumbed, moist cake, is to use more lime zest than juice. Soaking the zest in lime juice for a bit before adding it to the batter softens its texture, so that it adds flavor without changing the consistency.
To add even more moisture and flavor, I used a combination of coconut oil and butter in lieu of the traditional all-butter method, and brushed the baked cakes with a bit of rum before smearing on a lime-butter-powdered sugar icing. You'll also notice that this recipe uses a food processor to mix the batter instead of a mixer. Traditionally, pound cake is made by beating butter and sugar with an electric mixer for quite some time before adding the eggs, then the liquid ingredients in alternating additions with the flour.
But, a food processor allows you to create an emulsion with the sugar, lime juice, zest, eggs, butter, and oil. The result is a fine-textured cake that's substantial - as a pound cake should be - without being too heavy or tough. Another bonus of this method is that the batter is ridiculously easy and comes together in about 5 minutes. This, dear reader, is great, because the recipe also asks you to zest 9 limes. Zest, zest, zest, then process your batter and be done with it.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
- Lemon Blackberry 8-Layer Cake
- Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Cream
- Mini Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Loaves
- Berry Lemon Snack Cake
FOR THE LIME POUND CAKES:
- 3 tablespoon lime zest - about 9 limes (save a few of the limes to juice for the frosting)
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 8 tablespoon butter (½ cup or 1 stick)
- 8 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 ½ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons
minus 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ - ¼ cup white rum (optional)
FOR THE LIME FROSTING:
- ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons or ½ stick), melted
- 1 ¾ cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
MAKE THE LIME POUND CAKES:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a min-loaf pan with 8 or 9 paper liners. After lining the pan, lightly spray it with non-stick spray. This will help the cakes come out of the pan and allow the paper liners to release from the baked cakes without taking too much cake with them. Alternatively, grease and flour 8 or 9 cavities of a mini-loaf pan.
- Add the lime zest to a small bowl with the lime juice and let sit for 10 minutes to soften the texture of the zest.
- Add the butter and coconut oil to a large measuring cup and melt in the microwave - about 45 seconds to 1 minute on high heat. Whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt to a medium sized bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Pour the sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add the lime zest and juice, eggs, and vanilla and process until combined - about 5 seconds. With the machine running, pour the butter and coconut oil through the feed tube of the food processor in a thin steady stream. This should take 20-30 seconds.
- Pour the mixture into the flour and stir just until combined. Distribute the batter amongst the prepared loaf cavities, filling them about ¾ full. (If using a mini-loaf pan with more than 8 or 9 cavities, fill the empty cavities halfway full with water before baking to prevent the pan from scorching in the oven.)
- Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the mini loaves comes out without any evidence of raw batter.
- Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the warm cakes from the pan to another wire rack. Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of the warm cakes with rum. Let cool completely before frosting.
MAKE THE LIME FROSTING:
- Add all the frosting ingredients to a medium sized bowl and stir until no lumps of powdered sugar remain. Frost each cake with a generous portion of frosting. Let the cakes sit for about 10 minutes to allow the frosting to set, then serve. The cakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Decorate these little cakes with flowers, fresh berries, or candied citrus slices.
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