This recipe is dedicated to all those citrus-aholics out there, myself included, who can't get enough of anything lime, lemon, tangerine, and/or orange, especially this time of year. I feel pretty confidant that Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen is a card carrying member as well, and it is to her that I owe my inspiration for this recipe, which has been only slightly modified (I can't help it).I love keeping a stash of citrus in the fridge so that it is always on hand to brighten up any number of dishes. This cake recipe is a cinch to throw together and could easily be made just an hour or two before eating. The citrus flavor choice could be easily changed to accommodate whatever citrus obsession you are feeling at the moment, be it lemon, tangerine or orange.
Half of the butter was slashed out of the original recipe and olive oil was substituted in its place. This cake just seems made for olive oil as it pairs wonderfully with the yogurt to produce an incredibly moist yet sturdy crumb. I also couldn't resist substituting half of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour (which you would never know by the taste or appearance, but to your arteries I say 'you're welcome').
This cake really delivers on the citrus notes...no half-hearted, subtle hint of citrus here. You will need at least four good-sized limes as you will use the zest and juice as well as slices for decoration. I contemplated trying to candy the lime slices as the rind tends to turn whatever it is sitting on just a little bitter, but didn't have time, but you could certainly do so if you felt so inclined. I like to think that there is some respectable portion of vitamin C in each slice of cake, which is likely a stretch, but every little bit helps and who's to say one way or the other whether your dessert can't contribute a portion of that daily requirement?
The glaze is a simple sugar glaze composed of just juice and sugar. You could certainly add equal portions juice and water if you are a high-taster, but us low-tasters go for the gusto. The glaze is boiled for just one minute to make sure all the sugar crystals are dissolved, and then it is spooned over the warm cake every few minutes until all the glaze is applied and absorbed. I think this cake actually improves with a little time-out on the counter to give it extra opportunity to soak up all that tingly goodness.
The recipes calls for the zest from about two limes, or two tablespoons. This, of course, could be adjusted to taste, but I always err on the side of more-is-more in the zest department (hard to get too much in my book). The matching knife here was a happy accident! I LOVE my ceramic knives, although they are crazy, laser-sharp and I did sustain a minor thumb injury in the making of this recipe. I soon had something to take my mind off of my pain (I know you know what I'm talking about...citrus and open wounds...not a good combination) once the cake came out of the oven though, and I never mind taking one for the team.
Every now and then I get lucky with the camera, and end up with a picture that embodies the recipe in a single shot, and I think this is it...truly sunshine on a plate!
I used a large Bundt pan for this recipe, but you could easily get two loaves out of it, or a pan of regular cupcakes or jumbo muffins (I've made them all, but I think the Bundt pan is my favorite). You could also make a regular powdered sugar glaze as suggested in the original recipe.
I added some left over lime juice to a tub of mascarpone cheese with a few tablespoons of sugar, and came up with a yummy, protein-rich accompaniment to the cake, which turned out delicious but completely superfluous as the cake stands very well on its own and really doesn't require anything additional to make it special. Someone with a better background in food chemistry will have to send me an e-mail, as some sort of reaction takes place with the mascarpone cheese and the lime juice (I'm assuming the acid reacts with the protein in the cheese). After adding the sugar to the cheese, a couple of tablespoons of lime juice are stirred in, which causes the whole mixture to become very thick, almost like when chocolate freezes up, but not nearly as thick (or expletive inducing). I imagine the addition of some cream or milk would thin it out, but I like the resulting firm texture.
For a fancier (and richer) variation, slice the cake in thirds, layer with equal portions of the cream mixture, then drizzle with the glaze. Although, that variation might bend towards the Solar Flare on a Plate spectrum rather than just some simple sunshine, which is my favorite...shades optional.
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
zest of two limes
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (lemon juice works just as well)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar (or agave), to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.
Mix the melted butter, olive oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Beat well for five minutes until thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl and paddle. Add the yogurt, zest and lime juice, and mix well. Sift the flours and baking powders over the mixing bowl, and stir gently together until no lumps are visible. Spoon into greased pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently remove to a plate.
While the cake is baking, make the glaze and cream (if using). Place the sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan and gently bring to a very brief boil (1 minute) so that all of the sugar crystals are dissolved. Spoon some of the glaze over the warm cake, allowing time in between glazing for the cake to absorb the glaze.