Getting zingy with it

20:00, Jul 25 2014
SUBLIME: Chocolate Kaffir lime cake with white chocolate lime frosting.

Did you know that if lemon trees thrive in your garden, the exotic kaffir lime tree will too? If your garden is prone to frosts, rather than planting one in the garden, plant in a large well-drained pot, or half barrel. It thrives on full sun, so move the pot to suit the season.

Kaffir limes and their fragrant leaves are often considered appropriate only for Thai food, but that certainly isn't the case. This gorgeous chocolate cake is one example, but there are plenty more.

Chiffonade (thinly slice) and add to pommes puree to serve with fish, or sprinkle over chopped kiwifruit drizzled with passionfruit. Infuse cream with lime when making pannacotta or ganache for chocolate truffles. Add to boiling water for herbal tisane or hot water for a luxurious bath.

I love the limes and the leaves for their complex "out there" aroma and flavour. Pick the leaves all year round. The limes, available until spring, aren't known for their high juice volume, but what you get is worth it, and the zest is sublime.


400g (2 cups) sugar
5-7 kaffir lime leaves, spines removed and leaves finely chopped
65g ( cup) dutch cocoa powder, cocoa that has been alkalised to make it darker and mellow
245g (1¾ cups) flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
2 eggs
125ml ( cup) flavourless vegetable oil, such as canola
1 Tbsp finely grated lime zest, preferably kaffir lime
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
White Chocolate Lime Frosting
230g white chocolate tablet, chopped
50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 tsp) egg whites, at room temperature (between one and two egg whites)
80g ( cup + 2½ Tbsp) castor sugar
115g unsalted butter, diced and softened
15ml (1 Tbsp) kaffir lime juice, or lime juice



1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease base and sides of a 23cm round cake tin with baking spray. Line base with a round of baking paper.

2. Place sugar and kaffir lime leaves into a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until leaves are very finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Sift cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into bowl. Combine ingredients.

3. Into a separate bowl place buttermilk, eggs, oil and lime zest and lightly whisk to combine. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until two-thirds combined. Add water and gently whisk until combined and batter is smooth. As soon as possible pour batter into prepared tin.

4. Place into preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted cake skewer comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and cool completely. Remove from tin and remove baking paper.

5. Turn cake upside down onto a flat tray. Using a large, serrated knife cut cake horizontally in half. Move the two halves apart. Pipe or spoon a quarter of the White Chocolate Lime Frosting on to cut side of base and smooth out to cover base. Place cut side of top half on to frosting. Pipe or spread the top of the cake with the remaining frosting.

6. Carefully transfer cake to a cake stand or plate and serve - or loosely cover and store in a cool place for up to two days.


7. To melt chocolate, place chocolate into a heat-proof bowl which will fit snugly into a pot. One-quarter fill pot with warm water. Place bowl into pot. The bowl shouldn't touch the water. Set pot over a low heat so that water in pot does not go past simmer stage. From time to time stir chocolate. When chocolate is nearly melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir until it is totally melted. Cool to room temperature.

8. Place the egg whites and sugar into another heat-proof bowl. Place bowl into the pot of simmering water set over a low heat. Whisk egg white and sugar continuously until mixture is just above "baby bottle warm" and sugar has dissolved.

9. Remove from heat and place egg whites into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form and egg whites are at room temperature.

10. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add butter, very slowly, a piece at a time, until all butter is well blended and frosting is smooth.

11. Slowly pour in melted chocolate and lime juice and whisk to combine.

12. Use immediately to frost cake, or refrigerate for up to three days in an airtight container. Bring back to room temperature to frost.

12. Use immediately to frost cake, or refrigerate for up to three days in an airtight container. Bring back to room temperature to frost.


8 egg whites equal 250ml or 1 cup or 16.6 Tbsp.

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