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My mother in law Wendy has a prolific lime tree. She is also very sweet and generous. So when Mark comes home from his weekly visits to his mother’s, I invariably find a little gift from her on the kitchen bench – a bunch of fresh herbs from her garden, a tin full of home-baked muffins or half a dozen limes. I am ever so grateful for these gifts but I am never quite sure what to do with the limes, especially during colder weather. My go-to lime recipe is a white rum cocktail, but really, that is a summer drink and having regular mid-week Mojitos in winter is probably not very sensible. I use lemons every day (I add the zest to practically everything) but limes are a different story. They end up looking sad and yellow in the fruit bowl and I slice them open thinking they are actually lemons, but then I see the green flesh.    Luckily the tables have turned and I have found a new go-to recipe – a hand mixed lime and yoghurt olive oil cake.  I have avoided making cakes that required heavy equipment (like the food processor or stand mixer) in recent times because of my broken wrist (which is now thankfully out of plaster), so this cake is hand-mixed and without too many steps.  You need a total of four limes – two go in the cake and the juice of another two make the syrup that gets poured into the cake whilst it is still warm. So you get a sticky, sweet and zesty lime cake that is super moist thanks to the combination of olive oil and Greek yoghurt. I like to serve a slice with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt on the side, but it could go equally well with creme fraiche or indeed on its own.  And you know what? I now remind Mark to ask his mother if she can spare any limes….  

Lime, olive oil and yoghurt cake

Cake: 2 large eggs
2 limes, zest and juice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1 and 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Syrup: 2 limes, juice only
6 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line and grease a 23cm (9inch) diameter cake tin with a removeable base. Place the eggs, juice, zest, vanilla essence and olive oil in a large bowl and give it a good whisk by hand. Next add the yoghurt, whisking to remove any lumps. Then add all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and sugar) and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon until the batter is homogeneous. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Make the syrup about 10 minutes before the cake is ready. Place the juice, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 8 minutes or until it has reduced by almost half.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a baking tray. Pour the syrup onto the warm cake, making a couple of holes in the top of the cake with a skewre so the syrup soaks in. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Serve at room temperature with creme fraiche, Greek yoghurt or on its own. I keep the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.



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