I find something very appealing about small, individually portioned baked goods; they are more delicate and dainty than full sized versions, and easier to serve. Not that I take the individually portioned bit seriously…if anything,their small size makes it easier to scoff down more than I would if I were eating a slice from a single, large cake… Especially when they are as light, moist, and fresh tasting as these little loaves are.
The reason they are so light and moist is because I used greek yoghurt (I used Total) and ground almonds in the batter, both of which are excellent at providing moisture in baking. The freshness comes from limes – there is grated zest in the batter and sprinkled on top of the icing, and I brushed the cakes with a lime sugar syrup when they came out of the oven, which gives a burst of tangy flavour and also adds to the moistness. The icing is a very simple mixture of greek yoghurt and icing sugar, it is entirely optional, as these little cakes are also delicious left plain or sprinkled with a little sugared lime zest (don’t skip the lime syrup though), but it does look very appealing drizzled over the top. You could also replace the yoghurt in the icing with coconut milk, which would give the cakes a fantastic tropical flavour.
You will need a mini loaf pan with 8 cavities to make these, something along the lines of this one. Make sure that you grease each section well and line each one with a strip of greaseproof paper that comes above the top of the tin – these cakes are prone to sticking and the paper makes it easy to lift them out. If you don’t have a mini loaf pan you can always bake them in a muffin tin lined with paper cases.
- 2 medium eggs
- 125g (2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 65g (1/2 cup + 1 scant tbsp) plain flour
- 65g (1/2 cup + 1 scant tbsp) ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 65g (1/4 cup + 1 tsp) butter, melted
- 65g (1/4 cup) greek yoghurt
- juice of 1 lime
- 45g (scant ¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 50g (scant ¼ cup) greek yoghurt
- 175g (1 + ¾ cups) icing (powdered) sugar
- finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease an 8 hole mini loaf tin pan and line each section with a strip of greaseproof paper.
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for 5-8 minutes until pale, thick and at least doubled in volume. The beaters should leave a trail that disappears after a second or two when they are lifted from the bowl. Whisk in the lime zest.
- Mix together the flour, almonds and baking powder; gradually fold this mixture in to the eggs, alternating with the melted butter and yoghurt, until it has all been combined, be very gentle.
- Divide the batter between the tins (I like to use an ice cream scoop), there will be enough mixture to make 6-8, depending on the size of your tin.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- While the cakes are baking make the syrup. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring up to the boil, simmer for a few minutes until syrupy, Remove from the heat and as soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush each one generously with the syrup. Give each cake several coats of the syrup, allowing each one to soak in before adding the next, until you have used all of the syrup.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, place the yoghurt in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar, stir until smooth. It should be thick but pourable, add a little more icing sugar if it is too thin, or a little more yoghurt if too thick.
- Stir together the lime zest and granulated sugar.
- Spread a generous spoonful of the icing over the top of each cake, allowing it to drip over the sides. Sprinkle over a little of the sugared zest to finish.
- Keep in an airtight container.