Friday, April 11, 2008

Coconut Cake With Lime Curd And Coconut Frosting

Some of the best cakes at my house are the ones I never intended to bake. This one sprang from the bag of very cheap limes I brought home and immediately turned into lime curd. There's only so much lime curd one can spread on crusty bread. Since I was baking a white cake to go with the curd, I decided on coconut. Then, I just got completely carried away with the frosting. We really didn't need this cake (I still have last week's pound cake in the freezer), but the power of lime curd and a tin of coconut milk are pretty hard to resist. Bake at your own risk.

You Will Need:

For The Curd:

3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
¾ cup caster sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest, grated
1 stick cold butter cut into tablespoons
Optional food colouring
In a small saucepan, whisk together the eggs and yolks. Whisk in the sugar, then the juice and zest. Over medium low heat, whisk constantly and add the butter a small bit at a time. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens but do not permit it to boil. Remove from heat, add food colouring if desired. Strain curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic directly on the curd. Cut a few holes to vent and chill a few hours or overnight before using. Leftover curd lasts about a week (it will never last that long, trust me).

For The Cake:

1 cup coconut milk, well mixed (save the rest of the tin for the frosting)
6 egg whites at room temperature
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and line bottom with parchment. Grease the parchment as well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the coconut milk, egg white and vanilla together. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until it is a fine meal. Remove ½ cup of the milk/egg mixture and reserve. Add the rest to the flour mixture and beat at medium speed for about a minute. Add the rest and beat another minute.

Pour into pans and bake 30-35 minutes until cakes test done. Cool in pans first twenty minutes, then on racks.

For The Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
Food colouring if desired
Enough coconut milk to make frosting light (about ½ cup)

Beat together the butter and shortening until light. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but spreadable paste. Add the extract and food colouring. At this point, begin adding the coconut milk until you get a very light, fluffy frosting. Keep beating, you want this very light and if you find you added too much milk, sift in a bit of extra sugar and keep going. This frosting is very forgiving, but you need to keep whipping.

Assemble Cake:

Trim cooled cakes and spread centre with lime curd. Apply a crumb coat of frosting to cake and chill 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and continue frosting sides and top. Sprinkle top with coconut and garnish with lime slices. Inhale deeply and pretend you are in the tropics instead of the central plains where it is snowing today-mid April!

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