19 June 2010

celebrating 25 with coconut and lime!

My Kid Brother, not to be mistaken with "Little Brother" since he's 8" taller than I am, hits his quarter century today. While he was off hang gliding during the day, I was busy playing softball making his birthday cake. Upon asking him what kind of cake he wanted, I got this text message:

Ice cream! JK, surprise me with one of your special cakes.

Special, huh. Guess that meant no box cake. (Which is a shame, because box cakes always turn out right.) Trying to steer clear of a typical chocolate or vanilla cake, I was very happy to stumble upon a recipe from Pinch My Salt. I'd had this blog bookmarked for ages now because everything looks so drool-worthy, so I'm glad to finally try out a recipe for real. This single layer cake was a winner! The creaminess of the coconut is countered by the sweet tartness of the lime glaze. Texture wise, it's tender and almost melts in your mouth even though it's not super airy. Then the sometimes chewy, sometimes crisp coconut on top adds to the experience. Once you take one bite you want another, and another, and another. And... Jeffrey loved it!

Lime and Coconut Cake for my Kid Brother's 25th
adapted from Gourmet via Pinch My Salt
1 C flaked sweetened coconut, divided
1 C butter, room temp
1 1/4 C sugar
3 or 4 limes, juiced and zested (should make about 3 tbsp lime zest and 5 tbsp juice)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 3/4 C self rising flour
3/4 C buttermilk
3/4 C powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9" round baking pan - butter the bottom and sides, line the bottom with parchment, then butter the parchment.

Mince or food process 1/2 C of the coconut. Mix with the flour and set aside. Combine the buttermilk and 2 tbsp lime juice and set aside.

Beat together the butter, sugar, and half the zest until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in extract. Mix in a third of the dry ingredients, then half the wet, then a third of the dry, then the rest of the wet ingredients, and the rest of the dry. Beat until well combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until it's golden for about 40-45 minutes (it was 38 minutes for me) or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan until warm, then turn out onto a rack and remove the parchment.

Toast the remaining coconut - spread in a pan and put in 350 degree oven for a few minutes. Watch it closesly because it can burn quickly. Make the glaze - mix the remaining 2 tbsp lime juice with the powdered sugar. After the cake is plated, poke holes all over it (I used a skewer) and pour the glaze over it. Top with the toasted coconut. (I should note that I put some untoasted coconut and toasted. I don't know if you could actually tell that both kinds were on there. Go with whichever one floats your boat.) You can end there and eat, but I didn't. To make it just a little more "special" and because I find cakes without icing to be quite odd (unless it's a coffee cake, and even that must have streusel topping), I decided to make some lime buttercream. The coconut on top was so pretty, but I wanted another indication of the lime, so I tinted the frosting green. I just piped little stars around the rim of the cake. I wouldn't ice the entire cake with it since the glaze and coconut pretty much rock on their own, but that little extra burst of creamy lime is refreshing.

Lime Buttercream Icing
adapted from MyRecipes

remaining tbsp lime juice
remaining lime zest
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 Tbsp half and half
1 C powdered sugar
green food coloring (optional)

Beat the butter with the lime juice and zest. Beat in the half and half. Beat in the sugar - slowly, and tasting along the way so it gets to your desired sweetness. Blend in food coloring if using.

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