When you have a “Best Neighbor Ever” like @Melissa808, you get to come home and find awesome stuff like a bag full of kaffir limes hanging on your door. Last month, when we went to the Maui AgFest, Melissa bought a whole bunch of kaffir limes and was kind enough to share the bounty after we returned home. She was the first one to introduce me to kaffir limes, and I keep an eye out for them ever since, but rarely ever see them.

Kaffir limes from Maui, courtesy of Best Neighbor Ever @Melissa808. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

When I posted a photo of them on Instagram, a friend said that he thought people only used the zest; they don’t have a lot of juice. I found this interesting because I’d juiced some before to make cocktails and didn’t have a problem getting enough liquid out. Still, I was uncertain what I’d do with them and then I sadly neglected them for about a week and a half before I was home long enough to do any serious kitchen experimentation. Although they were slightly shriveled and even more wrinkly looking than they had been, I went ahead with my plans to squeeze them and use the juice for a pound cake.

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake with Kaffir Lime Glaze and Roasted Rum Pineapple. © 2014 Sugar + ShakeThis is one of those times where I feel like not doing any research led to better results. If I had done some research, I might have abandoned my idea. Wikipedia says the juice is considered too acidic to use in food preparation. My Food Lover’s Companion dictionary doesn’t even mention any culinary use for the juice. All I knew was that squeezing those little sharpei-looking citrus orbs made my kitchen smell heavenly.

If you’ve never smelled kaffir lime before, it’s a wonderful floral-lime scent. Not floral in the way that lavender smells—I know a lot of people dislike lavender because it “tastes like soap.” Kaffir lime is different; very fresh and bright.

So, not knowing it wasn’t something people used, I went ahead with making a vanilla pound cake with kaffir lime juice (plus some zest), topped with a lime glaze and rum roasted pineapple chunks.

I based my recipe off a Cooking Light recipe for Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake. If you’re making a recipe that calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own using regular milk and either vinegar or lemon juice. I took that little tidbit of kitchen info and instead of using buttermilk used milk and kaffir lime juice.

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

My attempt at making pineapple flowers (yes, of course I found the idea on Pinterest) was a bit of a flop. I think it’s too humid here—my slices never really dried out, and I noticed the parts that did dry ended up getting soft and squishy again after being out for a while. We ate them after the photos were taken; it was like fruit leather!

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake with Kaffir Lime Glaze and Roasted Rum Pineapple. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

Here’s to experimenting, breaking rules and coming out with a happy result!

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake with Kaffir Lime Glaze and Roasted Rum Pineapple

Adapted from Cooking Light (recipe by Marcia Whyte Smart)

This recipe makes five small loaves (5¾ by 3¾-inch pans) or, according to Cooking Light, you can also make two larger loaves (8 by 4-inch pans).

For the Pound Cake:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Maui Preserved vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kaffir lime juice
  • 1½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine milk and lime juice, stir and set aside. Don’t freak out when it starts to look curdled and weird.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla powder together. (If you are using vanilla extract instead, add it in the next step.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter (and vanilla extract, if using). Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Whisk milk/lime juice mixture in preparation for adding it to the batter. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, add to the mixing bowl, alternating with the milk. Mix well between additions.

Spoon batter into loaf pans (you should be able to fill five about three-quarters of the way each) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the Kaffir Lime Glaze:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kaffir lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest

Whisk together sugar and lime juice. Slowly whisk in the milk. If the mixture starts to get too thin, stop with the milk. Sprinkle zest over and mix in. Drizzle over slices of cake just before serving. Note that when poured over the cake, the glaze will soak into the cake instantly; it is not a thick coating type of glaze.

For the Roasted Rum Pineapple:

You can make as much or as little of this topping as you want. It’s also delicious on ice cream.

  • Pineapple, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of dark rum per cup of pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar per cup of pineapple
  • 1/8 teaspoon Maui Preserved vanilla powder per cup of pineapple

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, broil pineapple until it begins to turn brown. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to touch, dice into small pieces. Add to a small saucepan with all other ingredients. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has cooked away. Cool slightly before serving over slices of cake.

Kaffir Lime Vanilla Pound Cake with Kaffir Lime Glaze and Roasted Rum Pineapple. © 2014 Sugar + Shake