You put the lime in the coconut...

Now that we all now the story of how the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting turned into something more, we can move on to the story of the sweet little girl who indulged her momma's deepest cake desires on the occasion of her 16th birthday.  What a good girl.  Not like the big meanie who was all about the chocolate. 
Like her momma, my little girls enjoy playing around with flavors and like to try things that are a little off the beaten path.  Ok, you got me.  Only one of them does, but a mother can daydream, can't she?

The conversation with this one went much better than the one with "He who only wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting" (Patooie).  There were no heart wrenching moments this time around.  No slumped shoulders.  No heart palipations.  Really, she was that easy... 

"Honey, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?"  "I don't know, pina colada?  Key Lime?"  "Oh, you are such a good girl..."  Momma pulls out her stacks of cookbooks.  Rummage, search, rummage.  AH, HA!  "How about coconut with lime?"  "Ok, mom, that sounds good."  Tears of joy.  Exhilaration.  And a cake that made the heavens open up and the angels sing was born.  (Hey - what's a little more hyperbole at this point?  I am so far over the edge I might as well just go for it). 

Hmmmmm.  How long is it to the next birthday?  Tick tock.  Tick tock. 

Coconut Cake with Lime Curd & Buttercream Frosting  (Dabbler Style!)

Coconut Cake with Lime Curd - Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

Lime Curd
Make things easier by preparing this ahead of time, since it needs refrigerator time...

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (I used Key Limes - great flavor, but it takes a lot of them to get to a half cup)
3 Tbs heavy cream
6 Tbs cold butter (unsalted) cut into Tbs size pieces
2 tsp freshly grated lime zest

Whisk together yolks, sugar, lime juice, cream & butter in a 2 qt heavy saucepan.  Cook over low heat - whisking constantly until curd has thickened enough to hold the marks of the whisk and a few bubbles appear on the surface (~7 minutes).  Don't let it boil.  Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl.  Stir in zest.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hrs or up to 24 hrs. 
Coconut Cake
 3 1/3 sifted cake flour (sifted first, then measured - don't use self-rising)
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk (hey, if you are making this cake you really want to use the full fat version to get the best flavor.)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp coconut extract
2 1/2 sticks (20 Tbs) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs

Place racks in middle & lower 1/3 of oven and pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease and line w/ parchment paper the bottom of three 9" cake pans.  Grease and flour pans. 
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Stir milk, water and extracts in a large measuring cup.  Set aside. 
Beat butter in large bowl or in stand mixer @ medium speed ~1 minute, then start adding sugar in a slow stream and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl.  Reduce to low and add flour and milk mixtures alternately in three stages.  Begin and end with flour mixture -- beat until just combined.  You don't want to overmix (tough cake...blech).
Divide batter among pans.  Smooth tops.  Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Alternate pans halfway through baking time.  When done, remove from oven.  Let cool in pans for five minutes.  Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cake.  Invert onto cooling rack.  Remove paper.  Cool completely. 
*Since I have a STRONG aversion to shredded coconut (something about the consistency reminds me of fingernail clippings - can't help it), I omitted it from all phases of this recipe.  If you like it - feel free to add (1/2 cup for each of the layers with the lime curd + 2 cups for decoration on the frosting).  Your cake, your rules and all that. 

Coconut-Lime Easy Buttercream - Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
1/2 cup butter - unsalted
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp coconut extract + 1/2 tsp lime oil flavor
1/2 cup heavy cream

Using either a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together shortening, butter and salt until fluffy (~5 minutes).  Add extracts and half of the cream and beat until fluffy. 
Mix sugar and cream in alternately until mixed in and beat until fluffy (scrape down bowl side as you go). 

Assembly - put one layer on a cake pedestal or plate.  Spread evenly with one half of cooled lime curd mixture.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to help set curd. Repeat process with second layer.  Top with second layer and refrigerate until ready to frost.  Frost cake when ready.  I used zest from a couple of Key Limes to garnish.  Bring to room temperature before serving - refrigerate leftovers. 

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