Lime Pudding Cakes

by Elissa

Are you looking for a dessert that tastes like spring? Something that is satisfying but not too heavy? I have got the recipe for you, and it's great for entertaining because you can make it a day or two in advance.

This recipe comes from The Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, which I received as a gift 15 years ago.  Although the book is not new or famous, I go back to it several times a year for delicious recipes that are simultaneously classic and unique. One of my tried-and-true favorites is their recipe for key lime pudding cakes, although I usually end up substituting regular limes for the key limes. The recipe is kind of crazy because you start with a uniform batter, but as it bakes it separates into a delicate cake atop a layer of smooth pudding. It really is like a magic trick.

Folding whipped egg whites

Folding whipped egg whites

The key to the magic is the whipped egg whites that you fold into the batter. As the puddings bake, the egg whites and flour rise to the top, creating the cake layer and leaving behind something that tastes like lime curd.

Here's the cake

Here's the cake

And here is the pudding layer

And here is the pudding layer

It's a great recipe to have in your arsenal. If you add a full 2/3 cup of lime juice the cakes will have a real bite to them; if you think you'd prefer something a little milder I'd recommend trying 1/2 cup of lime juice. And I bet these would be amazing with Meyer lemons.

(Key) Lime Pudding Cakes

3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

6 Tb. flour

pinch of alt

2 cups whole milk

2/3 cup fresh lime or key lime juice

Preheat the oven to 325.  Grease 8 ramekins and have a roasting pan and kettle of hot water ready (they need to cook in a water bath). Cream the butter and sugar together (it will be very crumbly). Add in the yolks one at a time, beating until smooth.  Add the flour and salt and then the milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in the lime juice and set aside. Bring the kettle of water to a boil while you whip the egg whites until they are firm but not totally dry.  Fold the whites into the batter. Divide the batter into the prepared ramekins and arrange them in a roasting pan; pour the boiling water in to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until tops are very lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the water bath and allow to cool. You can serve them warm, at room temperature, or you can cover and chill them for up to 3 days.