Tip: If meant as a gift, make the cake in mini loaf tins for easy wrapping. Slide the cake, tin and all, into a cellophane bag, then close with a ribbon.
This recipe is one of O's tasty homemade gifts.
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease two 9-inch or 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, dulce de leche, brown sugar, and 1 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt; beat again until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pans, smooth out the tops, and bake until loaves turn a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. Set aside to cool in pans about 45 minutes; then, if desired, remove from pans.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil and add lime peel. Cook 1 minute, then quickly scoop out peel and blanch 1 minute in a bowl of cold water. Cook and blanch the peel 2 more times using the same process with the same boiling water. Remove peel. Bring a new 1/2 cup water and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a boil; add lime peel and cook, stirring frequently, until sugarcoated.
When cakes are partially cool, whisk together confectioners' sugar and milk to form a glaze; pour over loaves. Top with candied lime. Cool completely.
Notes: Look for canned or jarred dulce de leche, a South American-style milk caramel, at Latin groceries or in your supermarket near the ice cream toppings. You can also substitute sweetened condensed milk. This cake bakes well in mini loaf pans, too. Be sure not to open the oven too early or too often.