One of the favorite ways my parents love to torture me is by telling me stories of their life in the Caribbean. You see, they lived there, met, fell in love, and lived there for a few more years, then decided to move to Ohio to get married and have me. Um…really, guys, you shouldn’t have.
I mean, I tell myself all the time how annoying it is to get sand in your swimsuit, how I’d get sick of eating mango and shrimp every day, and how I’d just hate not having a snow season. Then I look at myself real hard in the mirror because, clearly, I’ve gone insane.
But I’m not alone in missing a tropical paradise that almost was for this little Blue Lagoon family, and for his birthday my dad requested my mom make her Island Coconut Lime cake.
Why? Because, says my dad, if you smell the cake long enough you can almost feel the aquamarine water lapping against your feet. And if you eat an extra large piece of cake, you’ll start to get that perfect tan all your friends hate you for.
It may be time for my dad to have his own mirror session 😉
But in all seriousness, if you can’t find the time to jet to St. Thomas on a whim, the super light sponge, tart lime filling and whipped cream coconut frosting might just start your heart beating like a steel drum.
So happy birthday, Papa. May I one day be able to tell my kids how I left paradise to give them a better life, too 😉 [Dear lord, please let it be Fiji]
- Hand mixer
- 3 (9″) round pans
- 2 1/2 cups sifted before measuring flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbl. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 Tbl. lime juice
- 2 Tbl. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 Tbl. grated lemon peel
- 1 Tbl. grated lime peel
- Green food coloring (optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
- Large bag of flaked coconut
- 3 thin slices lime, halved
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the 3 pans. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. In large bowl, at high speed, beat butter and sugar until light in color. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until fluffy-2 min. At low speed, beat in flour mix (in fourths), alternating with milk (in thirds)-beginning and ending with flour mix. Add vanilla and beat until smooth-1 min. Pour into prepared pans and bake 25-30 min. or until surface springs back when gently pressed with finger. Cool in pans on wire racks, 10 min. Remove from pans and cool on racks.
Filling: In small saucepan, mix one cup sugar with cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in orange, lemon, lime juice and water. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Bring to boiling, stirring-boil 1 min. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon and lime peels and a few drops green coloring. Turn into a bowl and cool over ice water.
Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine/mix cream and confectioner’s sugar. Refrigerate 30 min. Beat until stiff. Measure 1 cup of the mixture, and, with whisk, fold into the filling. Place one cake layer, top side down, on cake plate. Spread with 1/2 of filling until almost to the outer edge. Repeat with 2nd layer and rest of filling. Place top layer right side-up and frost with the leftover (not mixed with filling) frosting. Top with coconut flakes and cut lime pieces.