The second cake I made for Monisha and Max’s wedding picnic was a play on this super-delish margarita cake that we all enjoyed. For Max I chose a refined chocolate cake with warm and soothing flavors, so for Monisha I wanted to make something more tropical that was vibrant and bright. Part 2: Key lime coconut bundt cake. (Read part 1 here.)
I went to my trusted source, Gourmet, for this stellar Key lime coconut cake recipe. The zesty acidity of the limes are in perfect contrast to the toasty crunch of coconut, yielding a cake that is somehow quite refreshing. This cake is wonderfully moist from the Key lime simple syrup and has a delicate crumb, with bits of chewy coconut throughout.
I tried the cake with only regular Persian limes as well, and let me tell you: fresh Key limes really make this cake sing – the result is less sour and more aromatic, especially if you use slightly yellower (sweeter) Key limes. If they’re not in season, you could use bottled key lime juice or alternately the more common Persian limes.
I tried the syrup/glaze two different ways. Above, I soaked the warm cake in syrup and added the coconut on top (as called for in the original recipe). I also tried mixing the coconut straight into the glaze, which will then set more into a formed topping that you can see below. My preference was for the glaze in the cake with coconut added separately as the fresh lime permeates every crumb of cake rather than be concentrated (and for me, overpowering) in the topping. However, by mixing the coconut into the glaze it definitely sticks to the cake better, so I’d consider adding a bit less lime to the glaze if you go this way.
For the moistest, most flavor-packed cake: use half of the glaze on the bottom of the cake while it is still cooling in the pan by poking holes with a skewer or toothpick. After 5 minutes, turn out of the pan and add the rest of the glaze to the top (poke some more holes on the top, too). The result: a really tender cake with sweet toasty coconut and tangy, aromatic Key lime that actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld over time.