Limes probably originated in the Indonesian archipelago or the nearby mainland of Asia. The Arabs may have taken limes, as well as lemons, from India to the eastern Mediterranean countries and Africa around ad 1000. Limes were introduced to the western Mediterranean countries by returning crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. Columbus took citrus-fruit seed, probably including limes, to the West Indies on his second voyage in 1493, and the trees soon became widely distributed in the West Indies, Mexico, and Florida.
Switching between lemons and lines in recipes is mainly an issue of personal taste. The Persian lime is the variety most commonly found in supermarkets around the world. This lime is slightly lower in vitamin C and slightly higher in natural sugars than lemons, making it a little sweeter than lemons but the difference is quite small, and lemons tend to yield more juice than limes.
175 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175 g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
175 g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp lime marmalade
zest of two limes
zest of one orange
2 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
3 tbsp lime marmalade
100 g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas.4 Grease a 20cm round spring-form and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy.Gradually beat in the sugar for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition; add 1 tablespoon of the flour with the last of the beaten egg to stop curdling. Sift the remaining flour, a pinch of salt and the baking powder into the bowl and gently fold into the egg mixture using a large metal spoon. When combined, stir in the marmalade, lime zest and milk.Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack.
For the topping, gently warm the marmalade and brush it over the top of the warm cake. Leave to cool completely.Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of warm water and mix to a smooth, runny icing.Spoon the icing over the cake and let it run down the sides – the chunks of marmalade will stick up through the icing. Leave until set before cutting. Tjis cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.