What to do with two limes on the verge of expiration? Seriously, they didn't even look like limes anymore, but more like deformed green balls of death. Not to worry—they still turned out to be exceptional in this Key Lime Coconut Cake from the March issue of Gourmet. Even with my decrepit, non-Key limes, the cake turned out great and was the family favorite among the four desserts I randomly baked one weekend.
I made a couple of additional changes to the recipe. Of course, I substituted 2 percent milk for whole milk like I nearly always do. I really don't think whole milk is necessary for any dish except maybe puddings and other dairy-heavy desserts. And who has whole milk in their house besides those with young children? Second, I found that just drizzling the glaze over the cake led to the glaze pooling in the center of the cake, throwing off the ratio of glaze to cake. Solution? Poke holes with a toothpick all over the cake so that the glaze can settle evenly. Third, this cake is supposed to serve eight people, but three of us devoured it over the weekend (you know; a slice here, a slice there). Be careful—this cake is dangerously addictive!
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
- 3/4 cup 2 percent milk
- 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice, divided
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a run of parchment paper.
Toast coconut in a small baking pan in oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool. Leave oven on.
Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir together flour and 1/2 cup coconut (reserve remainder for topping). Stir together milk and 2 tablespoons lime juice. At low speed, mix flour and milk mixtures into egg mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour.
Spoon batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to warm, then turn out of pan and discard parchment.