basil, lime & coconut cake

mainpictureI tend to feel like baking on Mondays. Something about the flour on my nose and the butter in my fingernails makes me feel like the weekend is back again, if only for a couple of happy hours. Not that I ever end up with flour on my nose or butter in my fingernails. Oh no. The best part about Monday evening baking is figuring out what to make. It may involve flicking through a book, leafing through a magazine, or, as happens most Mondays, working it out on the fly and hoping for the very best. As for inspiration? Well that comes from all over. And on Monday, it came in the form of our herb plot.

The bugs had gotten to the basil again. And I wasn't going to allow them the pleasure of chomping down on the rest of the leaves. We had some shredded coconut in the fridge. And oh! The limes from my house cooling. From the cocktails that we never ended up drinking. So, all of them? In a cake? Sure, why not?

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shredded coconut in a pan

This cake is absolutely lovely. The sour lime glaze cuts through the rich butteriness of the cake and, when that's done, you're left with the lovely warmth of coconut and a subtle hint of basil on your tongue. Also, the cake, it looks a little green. And that's kinda cool.

basil, lime & coconut cake

ingredients for the cake:

1/4C shredded coconut
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
handful of vietnamese basil (about 2tbsp once chopped)
125g softened butter
3 eggs
1.5C self raising flour
1/2C white sugar
60ml milk

ingredients for the glaze:

50ml lime juice (about 1.5 limes)
rind of 1 lime
3/4C icing sugar

method:

1. The hardest thing about this cake is probably toasting the coconut. Which isn't hard at all. All you do is put your shredded coconut in a frying pan over a low heat. Stir it around a bit. Oh! The fragrance! And then *bam!* all of a sudden, it will start to go brown, and your kitchen will smell like the Bahamas. Bikinis optional.

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toasted coconut!

2. The second hardest bit about this cake is zesting and juicing the limes. Remember. Zest first, juice second. Do not do this the other way around. It's messy. Also sticky. And if you're anything like me, you will lick your fingers and pull a most awful face. Then you will look around to make sure noone you like saw you make that face.

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zest the limes & chop the basil

3. You will also need to chop the basil up finely. Shred it, if you will. With a knife please. You do not need to food processor such a small amount of greenery.

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everything straight in the bowl!

4. Now put all of the cake ingredients into the bowl of a cake mixer. You heard me. All of them. None of this fluffing around and separating this and pre-mixing that. Go go go. Then beat slowly (because otherwise you will end up with flour in your hair) and, as it comes together, beat a little quicker (like your heart, when he walks into a room) until it is smooth and creamy.

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whip it good, then into a tin

5. You've pre-buttered your pan, right? Probably best to line it with greaseproof paper as well. Springform tins are best because you don't have to pry the cake off the bottom of the tin. Lots of butter. Think sunscreen.

6. Now dump the cake mix (smooth and creamy) into the tin and smooth it out a bit. Doesn't have to be perfect. It will melt before it sets anyway. Because of all that butter. Do not think too hard about the butter lest you eat only a smidge of cake later.

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letting the cake cool

7. The cake will take about 50 minutes in a 150C oven. Such a low temperature? Yes. It helps with the not-rising-like-a-maniac-and-then-burning-at-the-top part. When it is done, let it sit for 5 mins then take it out of the pan (if springform) and let it cool down somewhere pretty. Here, you can sit and watch tv. Away from the cake. Lest you eat it all at once sans glaze.

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lime juice, rind & icing sugar

8. Wait until the cake is mostly cool (but not totally cool) and then zest & juice your limes for the glaze. Dump the icing sugar in and stir frantically until the lumps are gone. I use chopsticks as I don't have one of those cool little whisks. Also because I like chopsticks.

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pouring onto the cake

9. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let it sit and drip, then pour all the dripped off glaze onto the cake. Repeat a couple of times, with a couple of minutes between each coating. And Voila! Green, tasty, herby cake.

(note: a good vanilla ice cream mutes the sharpness of the lime nicely but may hide the flavour of the coconut & basil somewhat.)

13 bites more:

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Cakes with glaze are so heavenly. As if cake itself isn't fabulous enough as it is! I've never had flour on my nose. I'm convinced it only occurs in romantic comedies where the heroine is supposed to look adorable while cooking and the hero comes in and swipes it off adoringly. And that's probably why I don't really watch rom-coms :P

Simon said...

I love citrus sponge cakes so this one is right up my culinary alley.

Maybe a thin cream or warmed custard instead of the vanilla ice cream? Perhaps it's the cold of the ice cream that's the contributing factor. Perhaps not. Just a thought I had, that's all.

billy@ATFT said...

I like when you say "the hardest part is roasting coconut which isn't that hard at all"? WTF? LOL. We tried the basil granita at the Taste and is rather a strange feeling using basil as a sweet dessert, I am very curious how this cake will taste like.

Karen said...

Lime and coconut....what a heavenly combo. Yummo!

FFichiban said...

Oohh yuummmmmmm! Hahha I haven't baked in yoonnkkkss... now I feel like doing so but how do you have so much free timmmee!?!?
Mmmm craving coconut of any sort now

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

yum yum. this sounds amazing. i love the idea of using basil in a syrup cake. and booh to basil-chomping bugs, although at least it gives you the impetus to bake and that is maybe a good thing, no?

shez said...

Lorraine: i'd always thought similarly until i once forgot what i was doing and rubbed the itch on my nose whilst making scones. hrm. :)

Simon: very possible. it's a buttery cake so a custard may be a little strong, but i can see a poured cream working well with it.

Billy: well if the hardest part isn't very hard, then the whole thing is fairly easy. yes? i'm only just starting to love the whole herb-in-dessert thing. different, but so fragrant!

Karen: i've made these in a sponge cupcake (sans basil) before - they went like wildfire! the flavour is like summer in the tropics :)

FFichiban: i don't! but i get home from work on Mondays and go a little nuts then eat dinner & take showers while it's in the oven. hooray for Monday desserts!

Helen: a good thing it surely is. now about that mint that the bugs have moved on to...

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

I still haven't tried basil in a sweet, but it seems to be coming up a bit lately. I like the way it makes it greenish. It would be great for a theme for Halloween.

Belle said...

We made a lime and basil cake at Adrtiano Zumbo's cooking class last year that was very similar to yours. It tasted fantastic, from what I remember. And well done for baking on Monday, ie. not being knackered after a day at work!

Anita said...

Oh, I like the sound of that combo. I still haven't tried basil in a dessert (I've seen a couple recipes) and this one is very tempting.

shez said...

Arwen: neither had i - this is my first foray into the herbs-in-sweets realm. the Bean has dubbed this the "confetti cake" because of all the green flecks in it. maybe a subconscious st patrick's day recipe?

Belle: truly? how delicious! and really, it's not that difficult as long as i'm not icing anything :)

Anita: as had i, and thought there was no harm in experimenting. good thing it turned out ok!

BEAN said...

CONFETTI CAKE!!!!!

Y said...

Delicious looking cake! I adore that combination of flavours, and like you, love baking on Mondays. Or any other day of the week, really :)

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