The recipe for this Lemon cake with Cream Cheese Lime Frosting is probably one of the most extensively tested recipes in our blog. A couple of weeks back I even shared with my social media followers a couple of pictures of a very nice-looking version no. 3, which unfortunately, I found, was still lacking. This is version no. 4, and I am finally happy with it.
But let’s talk about lime and lemons, a source of confusion between countries that is not likely to solve itself any time soon.
In the Dominican Republic — and other hispanic countries — limones are the green ones, known in the English-speaking world as limes. Limas, on the other hand, are known in our country — or rather unknown as they are hard to come across — as limones. Befuddled? That’s understandable. Just so you know, if you were to order a lemonade in our country, a limeade is what you’ll receive. Were you to ask for a limeade, well, nobody will know what you’re talking about.
I could not find the source of this bit of linguistic curiosity, but we vow to keep digging, and try to find the answer.
The combination of lime and lemon works very well in this cake. The chilled cream cheese frosting is so good that it makes all the difference, it is so good I can barely contain myself from eating it alone. The cake has the more kinder taste of lemons, and it was what took me so long to get right. I started with the buttery batter of the Dominican cake, which was every bit as good as you would expect, but suffered when refrigerated as the butter got hard. I then experimented with butter-less versions, each time improving upon the previous one. I finally got one that works well, and since it does not have butter, it stays every bit as fluffy and airy after being chilled.
Another possible version, which I did try and liked, was adding poppyseed to the cake batter. I loved the cake with and without it. Another version I tried called for orange, instead of lemons. The taste works well with the lime too.
- Butter for greasing the pans
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of poppyseed (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- 3 medium eggs , at room temperature
- 1/3 cup of neutral vegetable oil (canola or soy)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or orange)
- 3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon (or orange) zest
- 12 oz [340 gr] of low-fat cream cheese , chilled
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3/4 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of lime zest
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
Grease two 8” [20 cm] non-stick baking pans. Set aside.
Heat oven to 350ºF [150 ºC].
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, poppyseeds and sugar and set aside.
Beat eggs over high speed using the wire whip until they become lighter and foamy (about 3 minutes). Slowly pour in the oil and beat until it becomes a much lighter color and becomes even foamier (another 3 minutes).
Slowly pour in lemon juice and beat for another minute, followed by the condensed milk, which should also be poured in very slowly. Once it’s all mixed, turn off the mixer.
Slowly sift in the flour mix, carefully incorporating it into the batter using a spatula. It should be made slow enough that there are no clumps of flour in the batter, and the mix does not lose the air.
Carefully pour the batter into the prepared baking pans, making sure both contain the same amount of batter. Bake until the top turns golden brown, or a skewer comes out clean when you poke the cake (20-25 mins).
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature prior to removing from the pan.
Pour the cream cheese into the mixer bowl, beat at medium-high speed using the flat beater attachment until it turns into a smooth cream with no lumps. Dice the butter and add to the cream cheese, beat until it has mixed in completely and there are no lumps.
Pour in the lime juice and lime zest, whip until it has incorporated uniformly into the mix.
Lower speed to low (to avoid splatters), and slowly add the powdered sugar until it is well mix. Increase speed to high and beat for another minute.
Cover and chill prior to covering the cake.
Pour the frosting into a decorating bag and cut the tip to make a 1/2” [1.5 cm] hole. Make concentric circles on top of one of the cakes to cover with frosting. Top with the other cake and repeat the same operation to cover with frosting. If you want you can use a spatula to even out the frosting, but it should not be very thick.