key coco lime

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.

baking, Uncategorized

earl cocoa tea

My darling buds Monisha and Max got hitched in an intimate and personal ceremony under the California sun. The best part of the day was the “it takes a village” spirit of family and friends building, decorating, cooking, and arranging to throw together a wedding picnic for the amazing couple. My job was to bring some cakes to serve with Max’s mom’s homemade fruit pies with gemlike berries culled from her own garden.

I needed an arrangement of cakes that were suitably festive, offered guests a variety of flavors, complemented the fresh fruit pies, and most importantly – could withstand that California sun for hours preceding serving. Phew! My brain calculated all the possibilities of a non-frosted but not-just-poundcake effort and came up with following: cakes that are festive by shape (Bundt) or topping (candied oranges), that are interesting with surprising flavor combinations, and that remained moist sitting outdoors. Shown together above, I think they were befitting of a casual, yet celebratory occasion. Part one: earl grey tea chocolate bundt cake.

Max (good man that he is) likes chocolate, so this one is for him. To me, the perfect chocolate cake has tons of gooey buttery frosting and that would not possibly withstand a day of sitting outdoors. So, instead I wanted to go in an unexpected direction with the routine chocolate cake and this recipe for Earl Grey tea/chocolate cake was a standout. The flavors are surprising but utterly smoothly melt together in your mouth. I found that adding semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (about 1/2 cup) really helped bring out the chocolate flavor and added bursts of texture. A dusting of powdered sugar is all the prettying up it needs, although a drizzle of melted chocolate would be welcome, too.

This cake is spongy with the fragrant bittersweet notes of black tea  complementing the light smooth flavor of chocolate, and yet it was not overly rich or sugary.  You have here a chocolate cake light enough for afternoon tea but sweet enough for a formal dinner dessert.