food

'Put the Lime in the Coconut' Petit Fours

I'm excited to share a recipe today for some really scrumptious treats.  The idea for this recipe came from a little boutique bakery where I did a short stint years ago.  The ladies there made a key lime-coconut cake and I loved the sunny flavor combination.  The recipe I make today, though, is entirely my own.

It starts with a fluffy white cake batter boosted by coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes.  I have these great petit four pans that turn out little 2 inch rounds, but these can certainly be adapted to work with mini or standard cupcake pans.

After slicing the little cakes in half, they are brushed with a sour lime syrup, which keeps them moist and injects them with intense lime flavor.  A filling of creamy, deliciously tart lime curd comes next.

What follows is a topping of the most delectable brown butter-cream cheese frosting.  The marriage of nutty brown butter and tangy, lightly sweetened cream cheese with just a hint of vanilla creates the golden-flecked frosting of my dreams.

Tiny key lime slices make the perfect garnish, just as these cakes make the perfect addition to any potluck or summer party!

'Put the Lime in the Coconut' Cakes

makes 24 petit fours, 36 mini cupcakes, or 12 standard cupcakes

Cakes

  • 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 c coconut milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup toasted unsweetened coconut (I do this on a sheet pan at 350 for 5 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.  Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk together milks and egg whites in a liquid measuring pitcher.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients next and scrape down the bowl.  Repeat this process, then end with the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Add the cooled toasted coconut and fold in with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into greased petit four or cupcake pans.  Bake 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes, 15 minutes for petit fours, or 18-20 minutes for standard cupcakes.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3 minutes only, then pop them out to cool on the rack completely.

Lime Syrup

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Slice cakes in half horizontally and use a pastry brush to brush the syrup onto all cut surfaces.

Lime Curd Filling

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 T cold unsalted butter

Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Mix on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and light and makes a ribbon when dropped back into itself.  Stir in the lime juice.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter and lime zest.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and chill completely in the refrigerator.

Using a spoon or a pastry bag, place dollops of the filling on the cut sides of the bottom halves of the cakes.  Top with the top halves.

Brown Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • key limes for garnish

Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Melt over medium-low heat, then continue to cook until the butter begins to brown.  Do not let it burn.  Scrape the butter and all brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool to room temperature.  Add the cream cheese and cream together with the paddle attachment.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until combined and fluffy.

Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip or just a butter knife to top the cakes with frosting.  Garnish with key lime slices.

Cakes are best served the day they are made.  The syrup, curd, and frosting can all be made up to three days ahead and kept in the refrigerator.  Bring the syrup and frosting to room temperature before using.