Happy St. Patrick's Day! These cheerful flavors and bright colors are an enchanting way to sweep out the dreary days of winter and herald the brighter days of spring. It you love the magical combination of lime, ginger and coconut as much as I do, these little edible leprechauns will be some of the best things you ever put in your mouth...ever!
Your citrus meter couldn't be happier after just one bite of this light, bright cake, followed by a zinger kicker of ginger in both the cake and frosting. The coconut flavor is the low note, present in the cake, frosting and sprinkle, that ties all the wonderful alchemy together.
The beautiful color, scent and flavor is just so intoxicating...
Your zester will get a workout for this recipe...never a bad thing, right?
The cake is tasty plain, but so much more of an event with the frosting and coconut/lime sprinkle. I used some organic coconut flakes, which are dryer and larger than conventional flake, so I added a teaspoon or so of coconut milk after chopping to help provide some moisture and flavor. The lime zest is incorporated into the coconut during chopping, with a sprinkle of sugar, so that all the natural oils in the zest are spread throughout.
I've substituted unmelted coconut oil (in it's solid form) for the traditional butter used in a basic powdered sugar frosting recipe. If you want to save a few calories, you could top the cake with some Greek yogurt (above), but the frosting brings some special voodoo to this party that I really think is worth splurging on. The added hint of coconut flavor from the coconut oil is divine. I'm not usually a frosting kind of girl, so when I say 'go for the frosting' you should go for the frosting...
...which is made with powdered sugar, coconut oil, a drizzle of the ginger syrup and just a tad of Greek yogurt, to smooth everything out. Melted coconut oil is used in the cake batter, which provides another layer of coconutiness. Studies are finding oodles of good things about coconut oil, all the more reason (besides the dynamite flavor) to slip it into your recipes (such as my banana bread recipe here). The coconut oil and coconut milk, along with the citrus zest, ginger and spices, result in an intoxicatingly fragrant cake.
The ginger syrup is a simple syrup recipe of melted natural sugar and grated fresh ginger, brightened with fresh lime juice. It can be drizzled over the cake for an extra kick of flavor, like I did in the photo below. The syrup is a knock out and so delicious... it could be used in any number of wonderful ways...Moscow Mule anyone? Fresh ginger is full of health benefits, but I'd adore it just as much even if it wasn't. If you're not as big a fan, simply tone down the recommended amounts. I love this recipe, though, for what I think is the perfectly bewitching balance of the tart, bright lime, the floral and spicy ginger and the creamy, cool coconut.
Happy spring, happy new beginnings, happy St. Patrick's Day!
Lime Ginger Coconut Cake:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour or barley flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons lime zest (approximately the zest from one large lime)
juice from 1/2 large lime, freshly squeezed, to taste
2 large eggs, organic
3/4 cup natural sugar
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced (to steep in the coconut milk)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup coconut oil (not melted)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ginger syrup
1-2 teaspoons Greek yogurt (if necessary to smooth out/thin the frosting)
1/2 cup natural sugar
juice of one large lime
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, to taste
1-2 cups dried, organic coconut flakes (or conventional, sweetened coconut flakes, see below)
zest from two large limes
1 teaspoon natural sugar
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients and spices together into a large mixing bowl. Steep the ginger slices in the coconut milk until just warm (either in a small saucepan or in a bowl in the microwave), and set aside. In another bowl, combine the eggs, melted coconut oil, grated ginger, lime zest and juice, and coconut milk (remove the ginger slices first), and beat lightly. With the mixer on slow speed, slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently. Beat until smooth. The batter is very wet. Pour the batter into 12 cupcake liners or prepared cake pan of choice; fill 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes (longer for a larger cake pan), then remove from the pan and set on the rack to cool completely. Makes 12 cupcakes.
For the syrup: In a small saucepan combine the sugar, lime juice and grated ginger. Gently bring to the boil, boil for one minute or until the sugar crystals dissolve, then remove from the heat to cool.
For the frosting: In a mixing bowl combine the coconut oil (not melted), powdered sugar, a teaspoon or two of the ginger syrup, and beat on low until combined and smooth. Beat in a few teaspoons of Greek yogurt, if necessary, if the mixture is too stiff. Adjust the sugar, yogurt and syrup amounts as necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency.
For the coconut sprinkle: Combine the zest from two large limes with the coconut flakes, and chop the coconut flakes; sprinkle with a teaspoon of natural sugar and one teaspoon of the coconut milk, and mix to combine (if using the larger, natural dried coconut flakes). If using conventional, sweetened coconut flakes, simply rub in the lime zest and omit the added sugar and coconut milk.
To assemble, spread the tops of the cooled cakes with a thin layer of the frosting. Press the top of the cupcakes into the coconut sprinkle. Drizzle with ginger syrup. Garnish as desired with lime zest ribbons and/or an extra dollop of frosting.
Please note that although the cakes keep well, the lime zest will begin to fade and bleed into the frosting and syrup by the second day...everything still tastes great, but they'll be at their picture-perfect best on the first day.