Not long ago, I belabored the point that when you’re making food for a special occasion (especially a dessert, which — when you think about it — is really just an edible science experiment), you should stick to what you know. Because the tart might not gel, the cookies might be rocks, and the bread pudding might be all bread and no pudding.
Last weekend, I ignored my better judgement and brought to a friend’s house for dessert a cake that I had never, ever made. Now, I would argue that cakes are the absolute scariest thing to bring to a dinner party, for the sheer fact that you can never really be 100% sure that it’s cooked all the way through (although I hear an instant-read thermometer can be useful in these situations). Also, you can’t taste the cake before you serve it, meaning that even if it is cooked, it could be disgusting. So I must have been feeling pretty gutsy when I decided to go ahead and make the Key Lime Coconut Cake touted as simply awesome on SK’s blog, even though neither I nor anyone I know has ever made it.
I didn’t have Key limes at my disposal, so I used regular, ol’ limes (the technical name) instead. Also, I had to toast my coconut twice, because it turned out that eight minutes in my oven gets the flakes a little too crispy (six minutes did the trick for me). But even with those set backs, this cake came out beautifully. It’s not exceptionally sweet on its own and is really enhanced (I think) with the confectioner’s sugar/rum/lime juice glaze (I used a scant teaspoon of rum instead of the full tablespoon — highly recommended). You can taste the lime and the coconut, although the lime is the more predominant flavor (you could always add more dried coconut to the batter to remedy this).
It makes for a wonderful after-dinner dessert or a breakfast cake with your tall cup o’ joe the next morning.