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Coconut Lime Cake Recipe

Every time I read a food magazine, I find tons of new recipes I’d like to try.  But very rarely do I get around to making any of them.  Most of the recipes I read in magazines and books just get filed away in my head somewhere and when I’m in the kitchen, I pull bits and pieces of information and inspiration from that jumbled library I call a brain.  But every once in a while, I find a recipe like the Key Lime Coconut Cake in the latest issue of Gourmet that must be made immediately.

There were so many things about the cake recipe that appealed to me: the simplicity, the flavor combination, the similarity to my favorite lemon cake.  But the main reason I made the cake was to give to my friends Amanda and Tyler as a thank you for helping me survive the first week of my husband’s deployment to Iraq.  I’ve spent as much time at their house as my own lately and have taken advantage of their open dinner invitation more times in the past week than they might have expected.  And if you’ve ever visited either of their food sites, you know that dinner made by Amanda is a special treat!

So, knowing how much Amanda loves coconut cake, I decided that I would follow through and actually give this recipe a try.  I did make some substitutions, such as using regular limes instead of key limes, and cake flour and leavening rather than self-rising flour.  I also used buttermilk rather than whole milk.  The result was a moist, tender and buttery cake with a hint of coconut and a tart lime glaze that penetrates down through the top inch of the cake.  Delicious!

Whether you decide to try this version, or the original recipe at Gourmet.com, I know you won’t be disappointed with this simple and delicious cake!  And thanks again, Amanda and Tyler, I hope you enjoyed the cake as much as I did!

Coconut Lime Cake
(adapted from Gourmet’s Key Lime Coconut Cake recipe)

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, divided
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
5 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper then butter the parchment paper.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Measure out 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and process in a mini food processor until very finely chopped (you can also finely chop it with a knife). Stir the chopped coconut into the flour mixture and set aside.  Combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of lime juice; set aside.

3. Beat together butter, sugar, and lime zest with an electric mixer until very fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Turn mixer to low speed, add one third of the flour mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. Spoon batter into the buttered cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake in the center of a preheated 350 degree oven until golden and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Cool to warm, then turn out of pan and discard parchment.

5. Whisk together powdered sugar and the remaining three tablespoons of lime juice.  Poke top of cake all over with a fork then pour glaze over the cake.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of coconut.

Recipe notes: Although I toasted the coconut for the cake you see pictured, I decided that I would have preferred it not toasted for this cake, as the above recipe reflects. If you prefer toasted coconut, spread it out on a baking sheet and place in the 350 degree oven for a few minutes. Watch closely, it goes quickly from light brown to burnt!  I like to finely chop the coconut that goes into the cake because I think the cake ends up with a better texture.  Mini food processors do a great job, but you could also chop it up with a knife, or just skip that step entirely.

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