Ever since I first saw Nigella Lawson work her sexy way with potatoes and observed the sensual rapport she had with say, a pork roast, I have been *smitten.*
I also enjoy her no-nonsense prose, which makes reading her cookbooks not only a saliva-inducing experience, but a productive session with your food therapist. She’s not afraid to externalize that sinfully embarrassing internal dialogue about food that we all have but suppress. What a dream – to have my inner piglet life narrated by a tremendously gorgeous and vivacious woman.
I pulled out Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess this past weekend and decided I needed a little one-on-one with the Goddess herself. These little mini lime-syrup sponges jumped out at me. I love limey desserts. They really are as good as they look.
Here is Nigella Lawson’s “Mini Lime-Syrup Sponges” from her cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess. The recipe calls for a 8-cup mini-loaf pan, but I used a 4-cup mini loaf pan and slightly increased the baking time (by about 3 minutes) to accommodate the slightly larger cakes.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lime
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon self-rising cake flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
For the syrup:
4 tablespoons lime juice (of 1-2 limes), plus zest for decoration
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the overn to 350 degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugar, and add the eggs and lime zest, beating them well. Add the flour and salt, folding in gently, and then the milk. SPoon into the mini-loaf pan, and cook for 25 minutes.
While the cakes are cooking, prepare the syrup by putting the lime juice and suagar into a small saucepan and heating gently so that the sugar dissolves.
As soon as the mini-sponges are ready, take them out of the oven and prick them witha cake-tester all over. Pour over the syrup evenly. Try to let the middle absorb the liquid as well as the sides, then leave it to soak up the rest. Don’t try to take the cakes out of the pan until they have cooled slightly and the syrup looks like it has been absorbed, but be aware that if you leave these to cool completely they might be very difficult to get out of the pan.
So, after an hour or two, turn them out onto a rack and grate some lime zest over them before serving (or selling).