I haven’t gone anywhere, not even on a holiday. I’m very much here though I’ve been missing from the blog for over two weeks. I was just busy with some other stuff and blogging had to take a temporary back seat because I didn’t have the time to spare. However, I’m back and thought I’d share a birthday cake I’d baked early this month.
I don’t make frosted cakes a lot because there aren’t too many occasions these days that call for them especially as our daughter who loves them is away at college most of the year. I’m not particularly fond of buttercream or icing of any kind other than whipped cream and ganache. My husband loves most things sweet but then all that stuff isn’t really what we should be eating, so like I said, frosted cakes are an occasional treat in our home.
I have however created a tradition for myself of making a home-made birthday cake for all our birthdays. It was our daughter’s birthday early this month and she’s lucky that her summer break from college is such that she’s at home to celebrate it. The occasion called for a buttercream frosted cake, and I thought I’d make one that wasn’t in the usual chocolate or vanilla flavours.
I’m generally restricted to simple cakes when it comes to making festive cakes because of my lack of expert piping skills and a non-availability of decorative ingredients (like fancy sprinkles and all that stuff) in the stores here. You can see what I mean if you look at my earlier birthday cakes like the Alcohol-free Tiramisu Cake, an Easy Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Frosting, Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Buttercream or the Marbled Chocolate Cakewith Chocolate Buttercream
The fanciest I ever got was with the Cookies Cream Rosette Cake With Classic Vanilla Buttercream that I baked last year for her eighteenth birthday. You will notice that there’s a common chocolate/ vanilla flavour dominating the cakes I’ve mentioned so far and that’s because those are the birthday girl’s favourites!
So, as I was saying, I decided to go with a Lime Cake and Lime Buttercream (lemons are rare in India) this time as that’s a flavour she has come to love. As far as decorating this cake went, all it needed was the cake, the buttercream and a teaspoon!
In India, it’s not easy to find lemons but you can get limes aplenty all the year round. Limes are much sourer than limes so if you’re making this cake with lemons then please adjust the amount of juice you use accordingly. I made mango curd because we get the best mangoes ever during this time of the year. Even if it wasn’t the season for mangoes, I’d still make my own mango curd because it’s easy enough to make, and it’s also not available in the stores here.
Lime Cake with Mango Curd and Lime Buttercream
For the Mango-Lime Curd:
- 3 cups fresh mango puree
- 1/2 cup sugar (more if your mango needs it)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk (or water, if you prefer)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tbsps fresh lime juice
For the Cake:
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 100 gm butter , soft at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tbsps finely grated lime lemon rind
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
For the Lime Buttercream:
- 175 gm butter , at room temperature
- 2 tbsps fresh lime juice
- 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 1/2 tsps lime zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp lemon extract
- First make the mango curd. This is ideally done the previous day or much ahead of time and refrigerated till required. Whisk together the mango puree, sugar and the salt in a pan, and place it on the stove top over medium heat. Let it heat up until it is bubbling, while stirring constantly. I use the whisk throughout to keep the curd smooth.
- In the meanwhile, mix the corn-starch in the milk till it dissolves. Turn the heat down, and add the corn-starch and milk mixture slowly, while whisking constantly to mix it in without curdling or forming lumps. Add the lime juice also, and keep whisking the mango curd until it is thick and smooth. Take it off the heat, cool completely and refrigerate.
- Now make the cake. You can make this as two 8" cakes or a single 8" cake and then cut it into two layers. I baked it as a single cake because I have only one 8" cake tin. If you're baking it as a single cake it will need more time in the oven.
- Put the butter and the sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium speed, with a hand held mixer, until well blended and quite fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well to blend after each addition.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to blend well. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in two lots ending with the flour mixture, beating them in well till smooth. Add the lime juice and zest and mix till blended. Do not overbeat the cake batter.
- Pour the mixture into a lined (at the bottom only), greased and floured 8" cake tin (or divide the batter equally between two 8" tins) and tap the tins lightly to remove air bubbles in the batter. Bake at 180C (350F) for about 40 to 50 minutes (about 25 to 30 minutes if the batter is in two tins) until the cake is cooked and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool the cake/ cakes in the tin/ tins for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then carefully unmould the cake/ cakes and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make the buttercream while the cake is baking. Beat the butter and the lime juice at high speed with a hand held beater until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between. Then beat in 2 cups of icing sugar till well blended and very fluffy. Add the remaining sugar also, if you think you need it. Blend in the lime zest and the extracts. If the buttercream seems too soft, refrigerate for a little while before frosting the cake.
- To frost the cake, remove the lining from the bottom of the cake (or cakes). If you made just one cake, first level the top of the cake slightly if your cake needs it. Then carefully slice it horizontally into two equal layers. My cakes were moist enough and I didn't want them too sweet so I didn't bother with a sugar syrup.
- What I did was to place the bottom layer on the cake plate and then crumb coated/covered the top of it with a thin layer of butter cream. Then I spread an almost half inch thick layer of mango curd over this. Then I crumb coated the bottom side of the other layer of cake and placed this crumb coated side down, on the mango curd layer.
- Next, crumb coat the sides and the top of the cake with buttercream. Then frost and decorate the cake with buttercream as you like. The amount of buttercream in this recipe is just enough to cover this cake. If you would like to do more detailed decoration you might need to make more.
- I decorated my cake using a teaspoon. To do as I did, cover the top and side of the cake with a thick and uniform layer of buttercream. Then draw up the back of a teaspoon along the sides of the cake, pressing a little (not too much) from top to bottom and close together to create a striated/ striped pattern.
- For the top press the teaspoon lightly into the smooth buttercream and lightly make half-twists in a random manner to create a pattern. Top with silver/ gold sugar dragees.