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Lemon Cake


One of the difficulties encountered while using lime to flavour baked goods, is that the taste tends to dissipate the moment it is exposed to heat. When I received a precious batch of Gandh Raj, (pronounced Gondho Raj) a fragrant lime from Bengal, I was determined to capture its essence in a cake. A simple yellow cake seemed the right thing but I find many sponge cakes either greasy and dense, or dry and dusty, in short a bit sick making. It was a question of tweaking the amounts of those basics- flour, sugar and butter, to get the right texture while preserving the tang of the lime.

The secret lies in using buttermilk instead of milk and in adding limejuice to the icing. Now Gandh Raj may not be within your reach but don’t let that stop you from trying out this recipe as ordinary lime will do just fine. Maybe not as "Sonar".


3 cups of flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

200 gms butter (at room temperature)

325 gms or 1 ½ cups sugar (preferably ground into a powder)

3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

3 tbsp limejuice

1 tbsp grated zest of lime. ( Mix the zest with the juice and set aside)

¾ cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix the four ingredients above .


1 cup confectioners sugar (use powdered sugar if you don’t have confectioners sugar)

1 1/2 tbsp limejuice

1 tbsp buttermilk

Heat oven to 175 degrees C. Butter cake tin lightly. Sift the flour baking soda, baking powder and salt together twice. Beat eggs with the yolk in a small bowl till well mixed. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar well by beating with a hand mixie for at least 6 minutes, first at high speed and then at medium speed. The mixture should really look like cream.

Now add the egg mixture in two halves, beating well on low speed after each addition. Add one cup of the flour mixture and beat till just incorporated into the mixture. Now add the buttermilk and lime juice mix alternating with the flour mixture. Each time you make an addition mix the batter for just about 10 seconds.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 35- 40 minutes till golden brown on top. Insert a skewer or fork to check that the inside is cooked (the fork should come out clean without any attached crumbs or batter.)

Mix the caster sugar, buttermilk and lime juice to make the icing and drip a bit on top while the cake is hot. Wait till it has cooled before dribbling the rest of the icing on. The icing gives it a nice tartness and distills the lemon essence while dressing up the cake for presentation.

In spite of my temperamental oven this turned out pretty darn good !!