Coconut Key Lime Pie Cake


Jun 13

Layers of toasted graham cracker, coconut lime cake, coconut buttercream, key lime curd and toasted coconut.

First off, let me apologize for taking so long to get this recipe up! I wanted it to be the first post on my new website, which I thought would be ready to launch last week, but it took a little longer than expected to work out a few glitches.

Thanks for being patient!

The idea for this cake came from my stepdad who is the biggest fan of key lime pie I have ever met. For months now, he’s been begging me to do a key lime cake, but I keep putting it at the bottom of my cake list because the flavor didn’t really speak to me (probably because it’s a pie flavor and pie isn’t really my cup of tea, as you know).

But as I started to think about this flavor, I realized the reason I was hesitating to make this particular cake was because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted in it.

Then, just a few weeks ago I was at Porcupine Grill in Salt Lake with my mom and stepdad, and per usual, Garry ordered the key lime pie for dessert. I took a bite to see if his love of the dessert had rubbed off on me at all. And while I didn’t suddenly love key lime pie, this bite did turn a light bulb on in my head!

The cake itself didn’t need to be lime flavored like I was originally stuck on. This cake just needed a lime element to it. Something with a real lime flavor like you get from the custard in the pie. It also occurred to me that I definitely needed a graham cracker crust so it would better represent the pie. The one element of the pie I decided not to throw into the cake was the meringue topping. It’s too airy and flavorless for a cake, in my opinion.

So without the meringue element, I started to brainstorm other flavor combinations and quickly settled on coconut as the companion to the key lime. With coconut and graham cracker crust in the mix, I was ready to make this cake.

The graham cracker crust is the same one I use for my Ultimate S’mores Cake and bakes beautifully with the moist and tender coconut cream cake on top. I also did a coconut buttercream that I flavored with coconut emulsion for a soft, creamy coconut flavor. The tart key lime curd in between each layer provides a nice balance to all the sweetness in the buttercream and cake. I also decided to throw in some toasted coconut – simply because I love different textures in my cake.

Just take a look at all those scrumptious layers!

 

After finishing the cake, I was excited to get my hands on the scraps and create a sample piece for myself. I’ll be honest, I was hoping to at least like it, but didn’t expect to love it… but you guys, I seriously died over this cake! I couldn’t stop eating it and literally danced around my kitchen I was so excited about this cake!

 

The cake layers are moist, the curd is subtly tart, the buttercream is incredibly silky, and the graham cracker crust and toasted coconut are the perfect accents to this pie turned cake!

Enjoy!

And thank you to Trina Harris Photography for these amazing pictures.

 

Coconut Key Lime Pie Cake

Yield One 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Layers of toasted graham cracker, coconut lime cake, coconut buttercream, key lime curd and toasted coconut.

Ingredients

For the Lime Curd

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 large limes)
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest
  • 3 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons LorAnn key lime flavor
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 25 rectangular crackers (this is best done in a food processor or blender, but can be done by placing the graham crackers in a zip-lock bag and rolling over the crackers with a rolling pin)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Coconut Lime Cake

  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup cream of coconut (I use THIS brand)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons coconut emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 24 cubes

For the Coconut Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 4 teaspoons coconut emulsion
  • Pinch of salt

Toasted Coconut

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

For the Lime Curd

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, lime juice, and lime zest over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, stirring while you add them. Continue to stir while the mixture cooks for about 5 to 6 minutes. The mixture will thicken during this time. Remove it from the heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth.
  2. Run the curd through a fine mesh sieve. Once cooled, place plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are damped by the melted butter.
  3. Divide evenly between the three pans and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool while you make the coconut lime cake.

For the Coconut Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl or large measuring cup, add the whole egg, egg whites, coconut cream, coconut oil, coconut extract, and vanilla extract and beat with a fork until combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, lime zest and salt.
  4. Turn the mixer on medium-low speed and add the butter, one cube at a time, until the mixture looks like crumbs or no larger than the size of peas. (Will take about 2 to 3 minutes)
  5. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add half of the liquid mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute.
  6. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. With the mixer on medium-low, add the remaining liquid and beat for 30 seconds. Batter will be thick.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter over the graham cracker layers in the three pans and level with an offset spatula.
  9. Bake for about 25-28 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the edges of the cake start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Don't turn off your oven.
  10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Toasted Coconut

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the shredded coconut across the pan in one layer.
  2. Toast the coconut in the oven for about 10 minutes, checking and stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown all over.
  3. Let cool completely before use.

For the Coconut Buttercream

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and coconut cream. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, followed by the extracts and salt.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to stir out air bubbles.

Assembly

  1. Level each cake layer with a knife or cake leveler.
  2. Place your first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake plate or cake board. Cover the cake layer with frosting, allowing some of the frosting to go over the edge of the cake, and then pipe a rim around the cake to act as a barrier to the lime curd.
  3. Pour and spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of lime curd. Cover with toasted coconut.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for the second layer, and then place the final cake layer on top, top side down. Frost the entire cake with a thin coat of frosting to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the crumb coat for 10 minutes. 
  5. After the crumb coat is chilled, continue frosting the cake and decorate with toasted coconut and lime zest. 

7 thoughts on “Coconut Key Lime Pie Cake

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  1. I’m probably just missing something, but in the assembly stage, I’m not seeing where to put the graham layer? Thanks for you help.

  2. I just made the lime curd, but I didn’t see in the instructions when I was supposed to put the LorAnn key lime flavor in. I just put it in when I added the eggs. I hope that was ok! I can’t wait to finish this cake!