I brought a cake today that reminds me of sunny days, because I´m so happy to be guest posting for Lora today. I was reading her blog before I started with mine, and to call her my friend now is really a wonderful thing. I feel we would be sharing recipes, trips to the farmer´s market and coffee if we were neighbours, so I´m excited to meet her readers.
And she goes to Italy every year, and bakes us those stunning filled braids and cakes, really, how can that not be reason enough to be friends with her?
A lot of food memories are triggered in our earlier years, and while I still feel the same about some of them, like fish, others I happily erased and wrote over.
The coconut things that were sold in bakeries back in the day here, that is Buenos Aires the city where I live and blog from, were certainly not meant to make devotees out of us. My mother didn´t bake, at all, I don´t think even boxed cakes were a staple in my house, so we just had to embrace the awful dry coquitos, little towers of coconut and egg whites, or view those shredded white strands sprinkled over finished doughs as the decoration of fruits tarts and such, which gave the poor coconut a very bad rep.
It all changed when I got my paws on some English books and started baking coconut cakes, the real deal. I even managed to change the way everyone felt about coconut around me. At that time I was married and had quite a lot of stepkids, five of them, and shared my weekends with them and their friends. So I managed to convert a large audience.
Nowadays, coconut and dulce de leche bars are all the rage here since small artisanal pastry shops and cafes appeared. Even the infamous coquitos got a makeover at some places.
That said, this coconut lime cake is a real find, a great recipe that I will be making more than once. What sets it apart is the texture of the cake, which is dense and has a perfect balance of both main flavors, and the frosting. Oh, the frosting, sweet but with little bursts of lime every time you take another bite.
A lime is peeled, white pith and all, and then the wedges are cut out, all pulp. When you mix it into the powdered sugar frosting, some get crushed and others don´t. That´s the essence of this cake and what sets it apart. You can also juice the lime, but be sure to add the pulp also, the juicy flakes that stay all around the lime and get thrown into the trash. But cutting the lime in segments, or supreme, is the best way to do it. It´s not hard really.
Another interesting part of this cake is that the coconut used in the batter is first mixed with the lime juice and let to soak for a while. Now, there is a new trend, mixing citrus zest with salt or sugar, and I love it. But soaking the coconut in the juice is such a great idea. I think it does add a different flavor to the final cake. And you all know by now that a recipe that works is not a recipe you change.
Thank you, Paula, for this amazing coconut lime cake. You know I adore coconut in my desserts!
You can find Paula at Vintage Kitchen Notes.
barely adapted from Delia Smith, via The Best American Recipes 2001-2002 The coconut needs to soak in the lime juice for 1 hour, so plan accordingly. Makes 8 servings
Coconut Lime Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Ingredients (1 9-inch round cake)
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 ¼ cups self-rising flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup (170g) butter, at room temp
- 3 large eggs
- 1 lime
- 1 cup powdered sugar
One hour before starting the cake, grate the zest of both limes and reserve in a bowl wrapped in plastic. Juice both limes and add to a bowl with the coconut. Mix to moist evenly and let soak for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325º. Butter or spray a non-stick 9-inch cake or pie plate with high sides.
In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add sugar, butter, eggs, coconut with juice and lime zest.
Beat with an electric mixer for 3 or 4 minutes, until creamy.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out dry.
Transfer to wire rack, let cool for 5 minutes and unmold. Let cool completely before icing.
On a shallow plate of bowl, peel the lime, exposing the green part, and cut in segments, as shown here. Be sure to gather the pulp and the juice.
Mix the powdered sugar in a bowl with the lime juice only first. When that is mixed add half of the segments. Some will crush and some will remain whole.
When the cake is cool, drizzle the icing on top, letting it drip to the sides. Arrange the rest of the segments on top.