05 June 2011

Key Lime Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Yesterday I awoke with two words running through my head: key lime.

Yes. It's an odd thought. At least it's an odd thought for me. I usually awake with a running commentary based on things I must do that day: get out of bed, take care of my ablutions, find something to wear, feed the cats, feed me, find my car keys, return this call, send out that email, rough out this project, book a meeting with that person...you get the point.

So to only have two words run through my mind was...refreshing. No fires to put out, no deliverables on my plate, no thoughts of anything remotely harried.

That said, those words were, I fear, like a palate worm: a foodish thought that becomes a craving so specific that it could drive me batty. The only thing I knew was regular limes wouldn't do and I didn't want a pie. No. That would be too easy.

After some thinking and searching (and passing by several recipes featuring what looked like spinach-dyed cakes), I decided upon something rather simple: a key lime poppy seed loaf cake. Yes, I realise now that my particular palate worm seems satiated with citrus + poppy seeds + cake.

It is a rather joyously yellow cake, flecked with green zest and blue-black poppy seeds. The colour isn't a total surprise as I used three egg yolks and three tablespoons of custard powder (anyone who has used Bird's custard has seen it go from near-chalk-white to the most lurid gold). The crumb is tender and just moist enough to be enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Key Lime Poppy Seed Loaf
Yield 1 x 20cm (8") cake or 1 x 22cm x 12.5cm (9"x5") loaf

6 key limes, zested and juiced
150g (0.75c) granulated sugar
85ml (0.33c) milk
145g (1c +2Tbsp) cake flour
1tsp (5ml) baking powder
0.5tsp (2.5ml) bicarbonate of soda
25g (45ml/3Tbsp) custard powder
a pinch of table salt
55g (0.25c) butter, softened
1Tbsp (15ml) flavourless oil
3 egg yolks
2Tbsp (30ml) poppy seeds
3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks

Preheat oven to 350F(180C). Butter and sugar a loaf or round cake pan.

Rub the lime zest into the sugar and set aside.

Mix the lime juice and milk in a measuring jug and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, custard powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, oil and lime sugar. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next one. Mix in the flour mixture and curdled milk in the usual fashion (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry), scraping down the bowl after incorporating each wet addition. Mix in the poppy seeds. Fold in the egg whites in thirds: quickly stir in the the first third to lighten the batter slightly; fold in the next third not as quickly, and lightly fold in the final third so as not to lose the foamy nature, but not allowing streaks of white to remain in the batter.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden, springs to the touch and an inserted wooden skewer escapes cleanly.

Ice as or frost, as you will, but I prefer it just as is.

I'm a quill for hire!

1 comment:

Jannett said...

This would be a wonderful cake for afternoon tea... ;o)