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Grandma Lime Cake

18 de June de 2009


I don’t know if I’ve already told you that, but my grandma is now 96 years old. She’s very active, though, always walking around with her little cane. Of course, talking to her on the phone has been a little tricky lately, but if I tell her I’m coming for lunch, she insists in making my favorite – polenta with chicken stew – in person.

Since I can remember, she bakes this lime cake everybody loves, and no one can reproduce.

The other day, she and I were talking about family culinary classics and she revealed the secret: the cake came from a 1960 cookbook, published by a famous sugar company. She stood up and walked to the shelf – it was the book I used to look at all the time as a little girl, with fantastic pictures of cakes, cookies and confections (there was no tastespotting or foodgawker those days!).

For my surprise, she gave the book as a present – one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.


Granny Lime Cake

This cake has a really delicate texture, very fluffy, with a mild lime aroma. It’s great without the frosting, with coffee or tea.  The frosting is controversial – some just love it (me!), some may think it’s too much on the sweet side. In the original version you can really feel the sugar grains, so you can substitute with confectioner’s sugar if you like.

For the cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 100g (1 stick) butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the frosting)
  • 1 cup milk

For the frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 50g (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • lime zest to the taste

Make the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 20cm round pans with butter and dust with flour.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, rub the sugar and the lime zest with the tips of your finger until moist and fragrant. Add the butter and beat until white and fluffy. Add the yolks and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat until smooth.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40min, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool to unmold and to frost.

For the frosting

Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup of the sugar beat until white and fluffy.

In a clean bowl, beat the whites until firm peaks form. Gradually add the other cup of sugar and beat until firm and glossy. Add this meringue to the butter mixture and fold with a wire whisk. Add the lime juice and mix well. Cover the frosted cake with lime zest.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 de June de 2009 1:06

    Simply amazing! Thank you for translating and sharing this recipe. I’m going to try my hand at making a layer cake this weekend. Wish me luck!

  2. 19 de June de 2009 2:56

    Another grandmother recipe! How I wish I could ask my grandmother about a cake (she called it black cake) she made me years!!! ago. She was born in 1891. Treasure the recipe and the grandmother. Ask all questions now! And write down the good stuff…you will be glad you did. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the beautiful picture.

  3. therecoveringvegetarian permalink
    19 de June de 2009 6:35

    Oooh I cannot wait to make this. Lime is one of my favorite flavors in sweets. Thanks for translating this for us, and thanks to your grandmother for sharing it!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 22:52

      Gastronomer, please let me know how your cake came out!

      Gale, I’m really glad I can stil ask grandma for recipes!

      therecoveringvegetarian, thanks for stopping by!

  4. TasteStopping permalink
    19 de June de 2009 12:09

    Just stopping by to say: A) this cake looks delicious and B) I see that TS published your cookie hearts after all! (What was FoodGawker thinking, right?)

    Hope you’ll continue to submit to TasteStopping, if the need arises, and that you’ll swing by to view our daily fresh content.


    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 22:54

      Casey, I just love your blog! It’s a great idea, and so funny!
      See you as soon I’m rejected! 🙂

  5. 19 de June de 2009 14:20

    Oh, MY!!! This looks delicious! Love those thick layers of frosting between layers! Your grandmother sounds like a neat lady! 97…wow! Is this cake her secret to longevity? 😉

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 22:57

      Maybe it is, Bridget! Let me have another piece and see if I get a little younger!

  6. 19 de June de 2009 19:54

    Delicious! Looks great and the lime zest is an outstanding accent for presentation!

  7. faust275 permalink
    20 de June de 2009 6:58

    awesome! i’ll recommend my sister to make this, she’s been looking at baking recipes from time to time, and having her try this would be (pun intended) pretty sweet 🙂

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 22:58

      Thanks, faust275! I hope your sister enjoys it!

  8. Victória permalink
    20 de June de 2009 17:13

    Olá, decobri seu blog através do Flagrante delícia…
    Seu blog está muito legal!!!
    Com esse post eu viajei no tempo… Acho que esse livro de receitas é da década de 70. Eu era criança e já era meio cHegada na culinária. Me lembro de recortar os cuposn dos sacos de açúcar, que eram de papel naquela época…. Tinhamos um amigo que era confeiteiro e ele juntava um monte de cupoNs e dava prá gente, ficava mais fácil para conseguir os livros.

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 23:00

      Victória, muito obrigada pela visita! Eu adoraria ter todos os livros, e descobri que eles são fáceis de serem encontrados em sebos. Vamos ver se eu completo a minha coleção. Um bj!

  9. delightfullysweet permalink
    20 de June de 2009 21:09

    Looks amazing. Never thought of making a lime cake, but I am definitely going to now. Thank you!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 23:04

      Since lemons are not very common here, limes are often used in cakes and other baked goods instead. You tell me if you liked it, ok?

  10. 21 de June de 2009 6:18

    i am soooo jealous of people with baking grandma’s who pass on recipes:P Oh well, my grandmas are both fabulous cooks but their recipes would be pretty wasted on me cos i cant cook as well as i bake i think! OH! can i have a slice of that lime cake? i just love lemon, lime and anything citrus:)

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 23:10

      Maybe with their recipes you improve your cooking skills, Amy! And I bet they have some baking recipes hiding under their sleeves!

  11. 22 de June de 2009 11:13

    What a truly wonderful gift and grandmother! The cake looks amazing. I have a special love and lust for white layered cakes and I love the lime twist 🙂

  12. 22 de June de 2009 17:07

    Wow it looks so fluffy and delicious!

  13. 23 de June de 2009 12:39

    I totally love grandma-recipes ^^ .. they’re the best ones :-)! Lovely cake!! XOXO

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      23 de June de 2009 23:18

      Lorraine – I’ve heard you are colecting grandma recipes, is it true?

      Cassie – thanks!

      Gine – I love them too! Thanks!

  14. oneordinaryday permalink
    23 de June de 2009 22:21

    What a great story and thanks for the recipe!

  15. papertreats permalink
    27 de June de 2009 11:57

    what type of flour is recommended? I used all purpose and the cake was good but not as fluffy.

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      27 de June de 2009 13:39

      I always use all purpose, but maybe the one you use has more gluten than our Brazilian flours. I’m pretty sure you could substitute 1 cup of the all purpose flour with cake flour, with good results. Make sure to spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off, to avoid heaviness.
      Please, let me know if it helped, ok?

  16. 11 de July de 2009 22:35

    What a delicious sounding cake! Thank you so much for sharing your grandmothers secret weapon! Now the cat is out of the bag 🙂

  17. 15 de September de 2009 23:32

    I just printed this recipe out and I think I will try and make it tonight. I have a bag of limes at home and have been searching for the perfect recipe. Right when I opened this page I knew I had found it. I LOVE layer cakes and it just so happened that I purchased 3 new 9 inch cake pans today and now I get to try them out!! Yeah! Lime is such a wonderful flavor and your photograph really captures it well with the green background and the lime peel on the side. If this turns out half as wonderful as yours, I will be posting it on my blog soon!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. Sounds like you have good memories of it.


  18. Amy permalink
    15 de October de 2009 20:19

    We made this last night as cupcakes and they were excellent! Light and fluffy with a hint of lime. Since I’m a lime lover, this was perfect.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I can tell you that I will be making this often and I’m sure it will become a tradition in my family, too!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      19 de October de 2009 22:31

      Wait till I tell gradma people at foreign countries are making her cake! 🙂
      I’m glad you liked it, thanks for your comment!

  19. 27 de January de 2010 17:08

    What a wonderful looking cake! I love the original recipe too- is that in Portuguese? It’s my first time on your blog- it looks lovely!

    • thecookieshop permalink*
      27 de January de 2010 22:56

      Thank you, Michelle! Yes, the original recipe is in Portuguese.

  20. Kayan permalink
    11 de February de 2011 9:55

    Total win 😀 cake nice and fluffy. and i turned them into mini cupcakes instead and still worked out. But just curious could i put in lime juice instead of water? or half water and half lime juice. i want a really limey taste to it. :D.

    But all in all Fantabulous !

  21. 6 de March de 2011 18:37

    i have got very much impressed by this cake recipe, but as well i faced one problem making it.. whats the secret to make those white layers between the cake layers so thick and dense? is it the same frosting as on top or something else?

  22. 2 de May de 2011 0:41

    Lime Cake … I have been searching for a beautiful citrus type cake to make for my husband who is gluten intolerant. Have decided to try using a gluten free flour and see how this recipe turns out … it sounds and looks stunning!! So appreciative that you cared and loved enough to share this with us for us to love it also. Many thanks. What a gem. Will let you know how it goes gluten free.

    With thanks

  23. Corinne permalink
    5 de August de 2011 13:23

    I’ve made this cake twice now, and it’s always a big hit! Thank you so much. This latest time, I made it as cupcakes, and just watched the oven since a batch will be ready in about 15 minutes. Turned out great! I totally flaked and forgot the second cup of sugar in the frosting, but when I tried it on a cupcake I liked it. Much more of the lime flavor, I don’t think I’ll need the zest. I’ll see if the others like it, or if it’s too much citrus for them.

  24. 9 de September de 2011 20:06

    I made this cake tonight, and it turned out delicious!!!! My frosting came out a bit too liquidy (maybe too much lime juice?) so I added a little extra butter, and shredded toasted coconut, and it was yummy…. Thanks for this great recipe! 🙂

  25. Kelly permalink
    22 de April de 2012 7:36

    I have just made this cake for my husband’s birthday. His family are all great cooks and they have requested it for our next family birthday already! Please thank your Grandma from us in Australia! It was simply delicious!!

  26. sophieaj permalink
    3 de May de 2012 18:29

    Yum, thank you for this recipe. Here’s my result!

  27. sophieaj permalink
    3 de May de 2012 18:35

    Thank you for this. Here is my result!

  28. Emily permalink
    7 de November de 2012 1:17

    Im going to try this cake on the weekend, looks amazing! Do you think icing sugar could be used for the icing?

    • Emily permalink
      7 de November de 2012 1:36

      Sorry I just read where you said to use confectioners sugar if we like 🙂

  29. Conira permalink
    17 de April de 2019 0:19

    I speak Portuguese as your grandma and my mom has the same book. It was funny and nostalgic to see it again


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