This month, Karen from Lavender & Lovage is encouraging us to make or use Jams, Curds and Preserves in The Tea Time Treats challenge (co-hosted by Jane over at The Hedgecombers). With such a busy Easter period, time away from home and a mountain of work to fit in as well, I figured the prospect of concocting jars of wondrous fruity, spicy or sticky preserves was probably going to be a bit of a non-starter time-wise. So I put my creative baking hat on and tried to come up with something a bit different that would also remind the palate that it was Spring.
Quickly settling on the idea of incorporating a preserve into a bake, rather than using it as a spread to layer a cake, I needed to make sure the flavour was distinctive enough to come through in its own right and would not be completely shrouded by the sponge. That would mean using something that had an unmistakable taste and strength which could shine whatever was thrown at it.
Because of the amazing tang and depth that it has, I settled on the idea of lime curd, thinking this would be difficult to over-shadow completely and would also be a bit different from the expected lemon curd so often found in biscuits and cakes. Turns out that decision was spot on……… Swirled into the sponge of these gluten free blondie-cakes and added to the oatie topping, it creates a limey-sharp zing which unexpectedly wakes the taste buds and marries beautifully with the caramel-sweetness of the white chocolate incorporated into the sponge.
I confess (guiltily) that I did not actually make the lime curd, but bought it from the Tesco’s Finest range. But nonetheless, it had the perfect sharpness to balance the bake and worked exactly as it needed to. Actually it is damn good curd!
For good measure, I added a little shredded coconut to the sponge batter which gives the cake a slightly coconutty, chewy texture and alongside the lime, a hint of tropical sunshine. Overall………… (citrussy-tang aside), the sponge is slightly dense, yet moist and sweet with white chocolate. To give the blondie another dimension, an oatie top layer gives a bit of a rustic, more wholesome bite. Made from oats, cream, curd and a little sugar, the topping is adapted from a Dan Lepard recipe used for cookies which I found here. The ratios are altered slightly with an added touch of sugar as the lime curd was so sharp, but the topping melts beautifully onto the sponge as it bakes and I was pleased with the decision to use it.
Perfect with a cup of herbal tea…………….. put your feet up and enjoy!
White Chocolate & Lime Curd Blondie-Cake
80g soft light brown sugar
- Base-line a 9 inch/23 cm square baking tin (2 inch/5 cm deep) with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- First make the topping by mixing together the oats, cream, sugar and curd in a bowl and set aside.
- For the main cake batter, weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and coconut in a medium bowl, making sure any lumps are broken down and set aside.
- In a heat-proof bowl, melt the butter and 200g white chocolate together either over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on 30 second bursts (medium setting) stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until slightly thickened and paler in colour.
- Add the melted chocolate-butter mix and whisk until fully combined, light and airy.
- Fold in the dry ingredients and chocolate chunks until evenly distributed, but be careful not to over mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and spread so that it is level.
- Space little dollops of the curd across the surface of the batter and then use a flat knife to gently swirl in. Pat down the top when swirling is complete to ensure it is even and smooth.
- Dollop small spoonfuls of the topping mixture onto the surface of the uncooked batter. You don’t need to spread these as this will happen naturally during the baking process.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes at the pre-heated temperature and then turn the oven down very slightly to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3 and continue to bake for a further 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake loses its ‘wobble’ and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If you are concerned about the cake browning too quickly, cover with foil to protect.
- When baked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool, before cutting into squares.