Key Lime Cake with Tangy Lime Filling

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I fondly remember how warm and fuzzy it feels like when you turn up in office on a dreary Monday morning to discover that a colleague had left a little sweet surprise on your desk that brings all smiles to your face. I like and choose to bake on Saturday afternoons just so I can share them with relatives on Sundays or bag it up for friends and colleagues on blue Mondays. It’s always fun to pop something up in the pantry when it’s least expected, isn’t it? I am already mulling over what to bake this coming weekend! Japanese roll cakes, perhaps?

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This week, I was on a haul for green (literally) ingredients and green limes came into my mind. I once had a key lime-pie cupcake from that popular cupcake chain store, Crumbs Bake Shop at midtown Manhattan and it was absolutely delicious; that wonderfully flavored key lime frosting and tangy blob of cream hidden in the center of the moist cake. I went one mouth after another – though I reckon I did regretted wiping out that huge cupcake all alone especially when I am not even a fan of cake frosting, heh.

Anyways, I bought 500g worth of large limes which l had a few leftover after making this recipe. The cake recipe originally tags along with a cream cheese frosting which I replaced with a key lime custard cream filling that I felt more affinity for. The result was a moderately moist cake with coarse crumbs that slices easily and holds its shape. Sandwiched between the two cake halves is a layer of lime filling that adds a punch of lime flavor to the cake. Refreshing!

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Key Lime Cake with Tangy Lime Filling
Cake (Adapted from alaskafromscratch.com, adjusted baking time and temperature for one 8in round pan)
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup caster sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 large eggs (60g each)
2 1/2 tbsp fresh key lime juice
1 tbsp key lime zest
3/4 cup buttermilk
Optional: a few drops green food colouring (I used Wilton Gel food coloring in Leaf Green)

Directions:
1. Lightly grease an 8-in round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 175C.
2. In a large bowl, sieve cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electrical stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it softened a little. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat until fluffy (about 4 minutes) and scrap down the sides. Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, and blend until incorporated. Then, add lime juice, lime zest, food colouring and beat until combined (At this point, the mixture will look curdled).
4. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix on low speed until just combined. Scrap down bowl as necessary.
5. Pour cake mixture into the cake pan and drop the pan on the countertop a few times to get rid of large air bubbles.
6. Bake for 40mins at 175C.
7. Cool completely in cake pan. Trim away browned top and sides and level cake into half. With an offset spatula, spread the cooled lime filling on one half and cover it with the other half. Cake is ready to serve.

Lime Filling

1 cup fresh key lime juice
1 can (387g) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg (60g)

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, condensed milk, and egg with a hand whisk.
2. Pour mixture into a small baking dish and bake at 160C for 15-20mins until center is set and sides are lightly browned. (Watch the mixture after the 15mins mark as the mixture will become burnt and separates when over-baked.)
3. Cool completely.

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