Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Key Lime & Coconut Cake: Practice Makes Perfect.... sort of....

I am nearly through with my finals!  Hurray!  Last Monday, as previously written, was my practical final in Intro to Cakes.  Earlier in the semester, we had to submit a cake, filling, and icing recipe with the intentions to make it for our practical.

I've been practicing and practicing and tweaking and tweaking my Key Lime and Coconut cake..... in all, I've tested the filling 4 times, the cake 3 times, and the whole assembly twice.....  {and I am so sick of key lime right about now!!}

For our exam, we had to make one 10" cake, but I've only got two 8" pans at home..... so my practice cakes were always smaller (but taller) and then included some cupcakes with the leftover batter. I left the cupcakes in the community area of my apartment complex, so I hope they were well enjoyed!

Despite all my practicing, I'm not going to lie, I was still pretty nervous for the actual exam!  So many people all doing projects at the same time.... Baking with different equipment than usual..... The worry that something catastrophic would happen!  Murphys Law does like to follow me!  So, I decided to try to cheat murphy by bringing some of my own equipment to class (my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, my scale, my turntable) and some extra ingredients (just in case!)  I camped out, with my plethora of stuff and bundle of nerves, in a corner of the classroom and went to work!

Chef talking about some of the finished cakes. 

And, amazingly everything went well!  The coconut cake baked as usual.  The curd was a little less firm than usual, but not terribly. The Chantilly cream wasn't over worked (as it was a tish in my last practice version).  I didn't make a mess of my Toasted Coconut Garnish.  Best of all, Chef had good things to say about it.  Honestly, I believe it's the best work I've done all semester!  I guess practicing does pay off.

 Chef had to cut into everyone's cake to taste them and so the cakes couldn't be sold, as our cakes usually are.  So we were allowed to take them home.  I certainly didn't want any coming home with me because I still had the whole practice cake in my fridge.  I offered to give my classmates slices to take home because I also didn't want to just throw away my beautiful creation.

Then, disaster struck.....  It was one of those slow motion moments, as I was cutting pieces, I watched my cake slide off the turn table and land *SPLAT* on the floor.  Guess my cake had decided to become a Key Lime & Coconut UPSIDE DOWN cake instead.

Honestly, all I could do was laugh!  I've been afraid of dropping a cake all semester!  And here it was the final, right after grading, and my fear happened.  All I could do was laugh!  Honestly, I really did not care at all. Had it happened before grading, I'd have gotten a zero on the final and my emotions would have been much different.  I was just thankful.


makes 1 ten-inch cake (cut into 4 layers) or 2 eight-inch cakes (assembled into 4 layers) plus 9 or so cupcakes

227 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
460 g cake flour, sifted, plus more for the pans
14 g baking powder
2 g salt
238 g canned unsweetened coconut milk
48 g milk
386 g granulated sugar (divided into 374 g & 12 g)
6 g pure vanilla extract
12 g coconut extract
267 g egg whites at room temperature (approximately 8 large)

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare cake ring and place on parchment lined sheet pan

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside. Stir the milks together and set aside. Put the butter and 374 g of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment;  cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, abut 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and coconut extracts.

3.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 4 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. set aside.

4.  Switch to a whisk attachment; beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium high speed, gradually add the remaining 12 g of sugar. Beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff and glossy, about 30 seconds.

5.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula. Scale into prepared cake ring, or cake pans lined with parchment. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Tap the pan on a work surface to release any air bubbles.

6.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes are golden and firm to the touch (some where around 40 minutes). Let cool before unmolding.

200 g granulated sugar
200 g water
50 g shredded sweetened coconut (angel flake variety)
coconut extract to taste, if desired

1. Combine sugar, water and coconut in a sauce pan.
2. Bring to a boil
3. Cool over an ice bath and strain out coconut pieces, if desired.

158 g egg yolks
253 g granulated sugar
153 g key lime juice (such as Nellie & Joe’s brand)
50 g lime juice
52 g heavy cream
131 g unsalted butter, chilled & cut into small pieces

1. In a heavy saucepan whisk together yolks, sugar, lime juice, cream, and butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes, or until mixture just reaches a boil (do not let boil).
2.  Strain curd through a fine sieve into a bowl.
3.  Cool curd its surface covered with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

906 g heavy cream
85 g confectioner’s sugar
Coconut extract to taste.

1.Whip heavy cream with sugar to a medium peak.
2. Add coconut extract.
3.  Continue whipping to a most stiff consistency (may do final whipping by hand)

90 g Let’s Do®...Organic®  Unsweetened Organic Coconut Flakes
100 g shredded sweetened coconut (angel flake variety)

1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil
2. Toss coconut varieties on sheet pan
3. Toast approximately 18 minutes, stirring often
4. Cool
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1 comment:

  1. I've been searching for a good Lime/Coconut cake, and I'd have to say, this recipe looks to be the most vetted so far. I'm sure your cake would've been delicious. Thanks!