Put De Lime In De Coconut Cake

Have you ever seen a recipe and known in your heart of hearts that you must make it now?  That’s how I felt when I saw Pina Colada Cake by Chef Dennis earlier this year.

Normally, I follow a recipe to a “tee” the first time — out of respect for the Chef who created it, and because I hope you do the same with mine. :)  I can’t begin to count the number of fabulous meals that have graced our table as a result.  (I love food blog world… sigh.)

But, when I checked my pantry for pineapple, I was out.  (Drat!)

Sometimes ya gotta punt…

Racking my brain for a suitable substitute, I decided to compensate for the missing “pineapple moisture” with a smidge of lime juice.

(Bear in mind, it was strictly conjecture at that point… precise measurements to follow.)  Lime pairs well with coconut, yes?

Speaking of “pairs,” I spied some fresh pears on the counter… hmm.

A chopped pear would contribute “body” without adversely affecting the flavor.  Don’t ya just love food “science?”

Allow me to interject — I Googled straightaway to see if there were other lime & coconut cakes out and about — there were.  But, none of them included a pear or spelled it ala Harry Nilsson’s song. :)

After a few trials and tweaks (made it with a D’Anjou pear first, then tried a Bosc — all in the name of research, of course…), it was a keeper!  The cake was moist and dense, with a hint of lime and a tease of coconut.

After all was said and done, I frosted my “adaptation,” sprinkled toasted coconut over the top, and it was indeed over the top!

Prepare yourself for a taste of the tropics…

Put De Lime In De Coconut Cake

(adapted from Pina Colada Cake by Chef Dennis)

Cake:

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups coconut, divided

1/2 c. butter, plus additional for the pan

1/4 c. brown sugar (that’s all!)

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 ripe pear (D’anjou or Bosc), peeled, seeded, & diced

Zest of 1 medium lime

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice

15 oz. can Cream of Coconut, divided (I used Coco Lopez)

Coconut Lime Frosting (recipe follows)

Toasted Coconut, for garnish

Coconut Lime Frosting:

3/4 c. Mascarpone cheese (homemade or store-bought)

3/4 c. cream cheese, softened

1 Tbsp. butter, softened

2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1 to 2 Tbsp. Cream of Coconut, reserved from above

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan; set aside.

Spread 1 cup of coconut on an ungreased baking sheet.  Toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring several times until golden brown; immediately remove from baking sheet to cool; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup coconut (untoasted); set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; set aside.

Peel, core, and dice the pear.  Place the diced pear into a 2-cup measuring cup.  (It should yield 1 cup, loosely packed.)  Add lime zest and juice; toss to coat.

In the same measuring cup, pour 1 cup Cream of Coconut (approximately) over the diced pear mixture, until the total quantity measures 1-3/4 cups.  Reserve remaining Cream of Coconut for the frosting.

Add pear mixture to creamed mixture; beat well.  (Batter will look soupy and some of the pears will still be “chunky,” but that’s okay.)

Gradually add flour mixture in thirds — no need to create a dust storm! — and beat on low speed until just combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a sharp knife around inside edge of the pan, invert and remove the pan, then flip the cake back onto the cooling rack to cool completely.

(Note:  Cake may rise significantly above the pan — not to worry — just another reason to label it “over the top!”)

Trim edges of cake before frosting, if desired.

For the Frosting:

Prepare homemade Mascarpone cheese several hours in advance (I made it with lime juice instead of lemon juice); refrigerate until set.

Alternatively, use store-bought Mascarpone & get on with it. :)

Whip the cream cheese, Mascarpone, and butter until fluffy.

Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and lime juice; mix well.

Add enough of the reserved Cream of Coconut until frosting reaches “spreadable” consistency.

Frost top & sides of cooled cake.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Enjoying cake by de lake,

~ Kim