Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Put the Lime in the Coconut

...and drink it all up.  Or so the song goes.  I didn't put the lime in the coconut, but I did put in on top.  I've had coconut and lime on the brain lately.  Originally, I was planning on baking coconut-lime cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream and flaked coconut.  Then I thought maybe a drop cookie, but neither panned out.  I was still thinking about those flavours and started thinking about a cake.  I really like single layer cakes.  They're not overwhelming like a layer cake, for making or eating.  With a layer cake, you're obligated to make it a spectacle.  On the other hand, you bake a single layer and plate it.  Sure you can frost it, but there's no shame in simply dusting it with powdered sugar, or even a slip of a glaze.  This cake, though, got special treatment.

Before Christmas I bought a package of ladyfingers (savoiardi, if you speak Italian), that I had yet to open.   The cake was just the reason to open them.  Good thing I waited too, they are so good that they probably wouldn't have lasted this long if I had tried them over the holidays.  The cookies turned into a crumb topping for the cake, generously laced with lime zest.  The cake itself was a basic yellow cake recipe from King Arthur Flour, with a few additions and subtractions along the way.

You might think it would be a tropical cake, but it's not.  I used organic, unsweetened, finely shredded coconut in the cake batter.  With almost a cup of sugar in the recipe itself, the cake didn't need more sweetening (though I did glaze the top of the cake before adding the crumb topping).  The shredded coconut lends a subtle crunch to the cake, which was perfect with coffee, and would no doubt be great with tea.

Coconut Cake with Lime Crumb Topping
Makes one 9-inch round cake
(adapted from King Arthur Flour's Classic Yellow Cake recipe)


6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut


1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk


8 ladyfingers
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons lime zest

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with greased parchment.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until mixed in, then add extra yolk.  Fold in flour gradually, alternating with milk, until incorporated.  Add coconut and mix well.  Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove.

While oven is still warm, put zest in to warm and slightly dry it.  Make glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk.  Crumble ladyfingers in bowl and cut in butter with pastry cutter.  Add zest and work ingredients together until you have a crumbly mix.  Brush glaze on top of cake and sprinkle crumb topping in a thin layer.  Drizzle more glaze on top of crumb, then add more topping.

You know you want to sing along...


  1. There is something about a crumb topping and a single layer cake that screams DEEEELICIOUS!

  2. Oh, that looks great. AND, I do love some Harry Nilsson.

    I say wooo, ooo!