Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is back with a new summer cake recipe….
It must be all my daydreaming about tropical getaways that’s got me stuck with lime and coconut on the brain. White-sand beaches, salty sea breezes, and a luscious pina colada in hand….I’ll stop here before we all get carried away. If we can’t make it to paradise this summer, let me help bring the tropics to you.
I find that one of the easiest ways to bring far-away influences home in through food. Adding different spices and exotic flavors to dishes and desserts can instantly transport you to all corners of the world. So why not enjoy our favorite island flavors in our own kitchens? And better yet, in cake form!!
Like I mentioned before, I can’t stop thinking about creamy coconut, zesty lime, beach sunsets, sand between my toes….ahhhh. For this cake, I’ve combined a rich, buttery Coconut Cake with an unexpected, yet mouth-watering Lime- Coconut Ganache. Citrus and chocolate always make for a wonderful pair, and this version is no exception. The lime flavors are vibrant against the deep chocolate and the toasted coconut give a wonderful texture. This cake is finished off with a silky, smooth Italian Meringue Buttercream that compliments the rich flavors inside. Finish off the cake with a playful pinstripe and beautiful, fluffy coconut shavings.
Be sure to bring cake to room temperature before serving, or the ganache may give you trouble when trying to cut the cake. Run warm water over your knife to make slicing easier.”
COCONUT LIME CAKE
a recipe by Tessa Huff
For the Coconut Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canned coconut milk
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pans and set aside.
- Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat on medium-high until fluffy and pale in color.
- Turn the mixture down to medium-low and gradually add in the egg yolks and extracts.
- Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milks. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until done.
- Batter should make three 8″ round cakes. Bake for about 20 minutes.
For the Lime-Coconut Ganache:
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
4 ounces heavy cream
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
- Toast shredded coconut in a frying pan over medium heat. Toss to prevent from burning. Don’t skip this step, or the texture will be compromised.
- Place chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and set aside.
- Place cream and zest in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, until it begins to boil but careful not to burn.
- Pour over chopped chocolate. Let stand for about 30 seconds before mixing. Continue to stir ganache, while adding in the lime juice, until smooth. At the end, stir in the toasted coconut. Let mixture come to room temperature before using.
For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
6 ounces egg whites
6 sticks unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
**Note: do not use egg whites from the carton
Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and place on a stovetop. Stir slightly to combine. Heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil. Using a candy thermometer (this is a must), heat until the sugar syrup reaches 238 degrees, or softball stage.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer. Be sure that the bowl and whisk are completely dry and free from any moisture and oil. With a whisk attachment, beat the egg white on high until stiff peaks form. This should take about 7 minutes. If started just after the sugar mixture is placed on the stove, both steps should be ready at about the same time.
Once the sugar syrup reached 238 degrees, remove from heat. Let the syrup rest about 30 seconds to let the bubbles settle. (Deep breath here). While the mixer is still on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Continue mixing on high until the meringue comes to room temperature. The outside of the bowl will no longer be warm to the touch.
Switch the mixer off and remove the whisk attachment. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and replace with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium, gradually add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Pour in vanilla extract. At this point, the mixture might look soupy or separated. Don’t give up! Cross your fingers, and continue to mix on medium-high until the mixture comes together. This may take up to about 3-5 minutes until all of the ingredients are at the same temperature and the buttercream becomes smooth. Use immediately, flavor, or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.