Fast forward a few decades and my sister is now grown, married, and living in a house devoid of dainty floral touches. She's all Southwest and hot chilies. But I still think of her whenever I see violets on a comforter and have a fleeting, momentary thought of, "Oh, I should get that for her. She'd love it!"
Sometimes things get tied to people and the association is hard to break. Especially foods. Coconut always makes me think of my friend who's passionate about anything coconut flavored or scented. Divinity makes me think of my friend who could eat it until she gets sick. And lime always makes me think of my husband. He loves anything with lime and I keep a lookout for special lime recipes to make him happy.
This year for his birthday he asked me to surprise him with the choice of birthday cake, so I went to my recipe stash and pulled out one that I'd been wanting to make for a while. I'd cut it out of Cooking Light magazine years ago and finally had my chance. It looked perfect - light, fluffy, and totally limeish. I changed out the fat-free whipped topping for real whipped cream since I'd rather take my chances with the fat than the chemical cocktail that makes up that stuff. The result was lovely. An airy cake that was refreshingly full of lime flavor. The only thing my family didn't swoon over was the filling. It tasted a bit too much like sweetened condensed milk. I know that would be a plus for some people, though (Patricia, I'm thinking of you here).
Lime Chiffon Cake
adapted from Cooking Light
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon cake flour
2 cups sifted cake flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
About 2-1/2 cups whipped cream
Fresh fruit to garnish: strawberries, blueberries, mint leaves (optional)
In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon lime rind, 1/4 cup lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring until blended. Cover and chill 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Coat bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour.
Lightly spoon 2 cups cake flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined.
Combine oil, 1/3 cup juice, 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon rind, lemon extract, and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into flour mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.
Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Remove wax paper from cake layers. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a small glass bowl. Microwave at high for 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Fold into whipped cream.
To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of filling over cake layer. Top with second layer, remaining half of filling, and third layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish with fruit, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.