Lime genoise sponge
Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson
When I attended cookery school in London, we learnt all the cake-baking techniques. I’d been used to the classic New Zealand sponge made with eggs, sugar and flour. It’s as light as a feather, but not a good keeper. I prefer to bake a more classic French génoise sponge. Because it contains butter, the cake will keep for a few days. It also has a lovely texture.
Butter Baking Tips:
- When creaming cold butter for a cake, cut it into small cubes then drop them into a bowl of water that is the same temperature as your hands. In no time it will soften without melting.
- If adding melted butter to a cake mixture, try to heat it so it is just reaching melting point. If you let it boil, the butter will split and become very oily.
- Always let melted butter cool to room temperature before adding to a baking mixture.
- Unsalted butter is preferable to salted butter for baking.
- To make a soft icing, beat butter until it’s very creamy, then add sifted icing sugar and a few drops of flavouring, such as lemon juice and zest or cocoa.
|125 g||Caster sugar, heated gently in a bowl over hot water|
|1||Lime, finely grated zest only|
|100 g||Butter, softened to the point of beginning to melt|
|4 Tbsp||Lime curd|
|250 ml||Cream, whipped|
|1||Lime, juice used for icing and zest for candied peel (see instructions below)|
|1 to taste||Icing sugar, to make thin icing (see below)|
- Preheat the oven to 170C. Break the eggs into the bowl of an electric cake mixer and whisk gently.
- When frothy, add the warmed sugar, a little at a time.
- Once all the sugar is added, turn up the speed and whisk until the mixture has doubled in bulk and is thick and mousse-like. Sift the flour and gently fold it with the zest into the batter along with the butter.
- Don’t overmix as you will lose all the air in the batter. Immediately turn the mixture into the prepared tin and place carefully in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, then test with a skewer. The skewer should come out clean, and the cake should be shrinking away from the tin.
- Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool before splitting in two and filling with lime curd and whipped cream.
- You may like to decorate the top with a simple icing made with icing sugar, lime juice and a little boiling water, slowly mixed to a thin paste, and thin strips of lime zest simmered in 4 tablespoons of sugar mixed with 4 tablespoons of water.
- Put the ingredients into a stainless-steel bowl over a pan of boiling water on the stove-top.
- Stir constantly over a gentle simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to coat the back of the spoon.
- Allow to cool, tip into a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.
- Makes about 2 cups.