lime and blueberry cake

i’ve been craving cake, smothered with rich buttercream icing, for several weeks now. it was triggered when i was watching lorraine pascale’s baking made easy, a new(ish) cookery programme on bbc2. she made several cakes which involved buttercream and the low level thoughts that i always have along the lines of "cake + icing = joy" were triggered, and have been growing as i watched each episode.

i’ve really enjoyed the series – it has an old fashioned feel, where the recipes are quite normal rather than being obsessed with shortcuts at the expense of a decent result. it's an advocate of the view that if you put in a bit of time and effort, you’ll be rewarded. the recipes are solid and, having seen online various accounts of how people have got on when making them, reliable. 

the recipe i chose was her blueberry and lime drizzle cake. it should have had a glaze icing made from icing sugar and lime juice, but i wanted something richer and the buttercream worked well. it’s a lovely cake, really flavoursome and moist (keep it in the fridge) and would be easy to adapt for different fruit combinations.

lorraine pascale’s lime and blueberry drizzle cake (serves 12)

225g soft butter

250g caster sugar

4 large eggs

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

200g blueberries

zest of 2 limes

lime drizzle:

juice of 2 large limes

100g icing sugar, sifted

optional icing:*

5 tsp lime juice

125g icing sugar, sifted

zest of 1 lime

preheat the oven to 180c. line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin with non-stick baking paper (she suggests 1 hour 5 minutes for a 20cm round tin). beat together the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk, or in an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. if the mixture starts to look curdled, add a tablespoon or so of the flour and beat like mad until the mixture comes together again.

gently fold in all but one tablespoon of the flour, the baking powder and a pinch of salt. toss the blueberries in the reserved tablespoon of flour, then fold these and the lime zest into the cake mixture. spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth it down and pop it into the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. set aside to cool for 5 minutes or so.

mix together the ingredients for the drizzle. using a thin skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake then spoon the drizzle all over and leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

turn the cold cake out on to a serving plate. for the icing*, mix the lime juice and icing sugar together and drizzle over the cake. scatter over the lime zest.

* i made a lime buttercream instead of lorraine’s glaze icing, see below

lime buttercream icing

100g unsalted butter

175g icing sugar

zest and juice of 1 lime

using an electric whisk, beat the butter until it is pale and fluffy. add the icing sugar (in batches if you’re using an uncovered bowl, so it doesn’t go everywhere) and lime zest then whisk until is all incorporated. add half the lime juice taste. whisk then taste - add the rest of the lime juice if you want a stronger flavour/ the icing is too stiff (or you can use milk to soften the icing if the lime flavour is strong enough). spread on top of the cooled cake.