Last year I baked a Flourless Orange Saffron Almond Cake which incorporated whole cooked oranges. It's become one of my favorite cakes to make when I want a cake that's extremely moist. The puree from the softened, cooked fruit (rind and all) contributes body and a superb, deep orange-y flavor. I wondered, would limes work just as well?
Sort of. Compared to sweet and slightly tangy orange juice, limes are obviously heaps more acidic, but I forged ahead anyway. Just like for the orange cake, I placed the limes in a microwave safe bowl, covered it, and cooked the limes until they became soft. When cooled, I pureed them in a food processor and folded all of it into a cake batter of eggs, sugar, and ground almonds (no flour here—the eggs hold it together).
The first cake was a disaster. The lime pith (the spongey white layer just beneath the green skin) made the cake so bitter it was almost inedible. Unlike an orange, or even lemon, where bitter (think of shaker lemon pie or bitter lemon cordial) can be good up to a point, too much "lime" bitterness isn't that pleasant. I also realized that the flesh to pith to skin ratio in a lime is much smaller than an orange.
For round two, I zested a few of the limes first (lime zest is a good thing), then peeled away as much of the remaining pitch as I could before setting them in the microwave. Success! While there was still a small amount of bitterness, it was more of a really deep, intense lime flavor. If I had to describe this cake I'd say it's exactly like eating a key lime pie flavored macaroon. And you won't believe how moist you'll find the crumb.
To top it off, I knew a billowy dollop of white chocolate whipped cream would perfectly complement everything that I had going on here—the lime, coconut, and crunchy almonds. If you like limes, this citrus-blast cake can't be beat.
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