take the lime, add the coconut, make a fucking fantastic cake.

Remember when I mentioned a yet-to-be-blogged mystery cake? (I know you don’t. Play along.) This is it: smitten kitchen‘s key lime coconut cake. As with the smitten kitchen orange chocolate cake, I was excited to tackle the many wacky steps involved in bringing this cake to the table. Those steps included:

– Zesting and juicing limes (and fuck you if you don’t think this is wacky, seriously, just fuck your face)
– Toasting coconut (and we have seen how shit I am at that)
– Making my own goddamn flour
– Making lime syrup
– Also the slightly unconventional assembly.

Toasting coconut sucks. I blogged about it in my last post, but my truly spectacular coconut failure came not in making the brown butter coconut cookies but in making this cake. I burned probably a quarter of the cup called for, which led me to deduce the method I suggested for not burning a quarter of your coconut allotment, which btw I’m happy to report I tried with excellent success. You could probably up the intervals to three minutes (which I wound up doing), and either way you won’t get perfect uniformity, but when I followed my method I got far closer to uniform toastedness than I had previously, and nothing burned beyond usability.

Anyway. Key lime coconut cake. You don’t actually have to make your own goddamn flour for this cake. The recipe calls for self-rising flour, and Deb suggests you make your own because so few recipes call for self-rising flour and making your own is easy. I couldn’t find it at the store so I followed her instructions, and while it is in fact easy to whisk up, there’s definitely an element of insult-to-injury at play in making your own goddamn flour. When I walked into the living room with a mixing bowl and, upon questioning, divulged that I was making flour, my dad gave me a very strange look and asked if I had taken up grinding wheat recently. Which I hadn’t.

Now, the lime syrup. Deb seems to like syrups on her cakes – at least, I’ve cooked two in succession that call for the inclusion of syrups – and I’m not sure why. You may remember that in the orange chocolate cake I didn’t find the syrup adding any extra flavor, so I decided to change the delivery method in the future and pour the syrup over a warm cake whose surface I punctured with a fork. I tried that this time and didn’t like it any better, since the primary flavors imparted by the syrup were “cloying” and “tart” instead of “limey.” Maybe if I’d made the syrup as instructed instead of leaving out half the confectioner’s sugar it would have been better, but I feel like that would only have made it sweeter and changed the consistency rather than improving the flavor. So, I dunno. You need something to affix the coconut to the top of the cake, but I feel like that could be accomplished in a more delicious fashion (like sprinkling it on the surface right before it goes in the oven), and the moistness which I suspect is supposed to be achieved via the syrup could be accomplished with fresh lime juice. If anyone has any suggestions for either of these parts I’m all ears, as I did not love the syrup at all.

Notes and Verdicts
Key Lime Coconut Cake
by smitten kitchen
Notes: I stuck pretty closely to the recipe here. As mentioned, I left half a cup of confectioner’s sugar out of the syrup out of sheer self-preservation, and I also didn’t add rum. We didn’t have any, and also, I hate rum, so it was a happy coincidence. Finally, I obviously did not use Key limes, as I live in New Jersey and we do not exactly have an abundance of citrus trees littering the landscape.
Verdict: Tough call. The cake itself is pretty delicious, but it dries out kinda fast, and the cloying sweetness of the syrup really detracted from overall flavor (and in my opinion, messed with the texture). As-is I’d give it a B/B+, but with some syrup-related tweaks I think it could become a solid A.

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About Sara

I like to talk about media, food, and gender.
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One Response to take the lime, add the coconut, make a fucking fantastic cake.

  1. Pingback: thanksgiving dinner post mortem, part iii: in which i make pie crust for the first time. twice. | Ends and Leavings

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