Don’t be fooled by the name, this isn’t a cheesecake, rather it is a cake made with cream cheese. Now, that might strike you as a strange thing to use to make a cake, but actually it is no stranger than using butter, they are both dairy products after all.
The cream cheese adds a delicate, moist lift to the sponge itself, while the lime is sharp and exciting. Every time I make this sponge I wonder why I don’t make it more often, in fact I think I will make it again this evening…
For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
the finely-grated zest of 2 limes
250g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (my own vodka vanilla extract works brilliantly)
225g self-raising flour
For the syrup:
4 tbsp lime juice
50g caster sugar
For the glaze:
150g icing sugar
the grated zest of a lime
approximately 20ml lime juice
Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
Put the butter, cream cheese and lime zest in a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly until soft, fluffy and creamy. This is easiest done if you have a stand mixer with a beater attachment. Scrape the sides of the bowl down then gradually add the sugar, beating as you go. If using a stand mixer get it to maximum speed and beat, and beat, and beat… and when you think you’ve beaten it enough, beat it some more.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl with the vanilla extract and whisk them together. Gradually add the eggs to the beaten butter mixture, beating well after each addition. If the mixture curdles just add a tablespoon of the flour and beat it in – the best way to avoid curdling is to ensure that all of your ingredients are at the same temperature.
Once all the eggs have been incorporated, gently fold the flour into the batter using a metal spoon until it is just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, shortly before the cake comes out of the oven, prepare the lime syrup: put the lime juice and sugar in a pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. keep it warm.
Keeping the cake in the loaf tin, place it onto a wire cooling rack. Prick the surface all over and spoon the hot syrup all over it, it will absorb into the cake as it cools. Allow the cake to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, loosen the sides with a broad knife and carefully lift out using the parchment as a support. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and grate the zest of a lime into it. Now gradually add sufficient lime juice to make a thick but runny icing. Spoon over the top and allow it to set.