Friday, March 20, 2015

Let's Cook! Key Lime Cake

I've always loved the atmosphere about the Keys, that string of islands cutting between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. A different atmosphere, a world unto itself and a place to kick back. No wonder Hemingway took to Key West specifically. 

Key West has the Cuban flair mixed with America. Being the Southernmost point, 90 miles from Cuba, it enjoys a singularly fabulous reputation. It feels like the Caribbean but you are still in the U.S. 

 The Hemingway House, brimming over with the polydactyl cats the island is known for. I understand there is a 6 year wait to adopt one of the 6 toed kitties. The tours are led by docents who know everything about Papa Hemingway. 

The Aquarium houses local sea creatures and a sanctuary for the wounded. I remember the blind pelican who just wanders everywhere, mostly in circles!

And how about the buried treasures from shipwrecks over the years. The air conditioned exhibit is so welcoming. 

Take a stroll down to Mallory Square at sundown and join everyone toasting the sun's settling down for the day. Or go down to Duval Street for the art and fun. Most of all, enjoy the unique culinary delights like a lobster rueben or conch chowder or fritters while sitting on the deck at the juncture of the two bodies of water. Yes, there's Sloppy Joe's with its touristy kitsch but there are other great places on this tiny island.

One of the favorite sweets here is Key Lime Pie. My best friend's son loves ANYTHING with that zesty flavor! In Paul's honor, I am posting this recipe for Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese frosting that I found online. Yummy!

Look for lines about golf ball sized. They are the best. They are not always the pale green color but sometimes all shades up to a beautiful yellow color. 

Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  •  4 sticks butter, that’s 1 pound, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, (I always keep a good number of those small, 5 ounce cans in my pantry.)
  • 4 teaspoons key lime zest, minced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.  Cover inside of 10 inch tube pan with non-stick spray.  My pan is 10  1/2″ and it’s just fine.  Set aside.
  2. Using a stand-up mixer or electric hand-held, beat the butter well until light in color and fluffy.  Add the sugar and again beat well for at least 5 minutes.  I use a stand up mixer and beat the mixture 10-15 minutes.  I don’t like a “grainy” cake.
  3. One at a time add the eggs and beat only until the yellow disappears.
  4. Now mixing by hand, gradually flour to the butter-egg mixture alternating with the key lime juice and milk.  Begin and end with flour.  Beat well but just enough to incorporate all ingredients.  You don’t want a tough pound cake!
  5. Pour evenly into the tube pan and tap pan on the counter to loosen any air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes in the pan then transfer from pan to cooling rack and allow to cool another hour or until completely cool.

The cake is far better the following day or 2 days later.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Using a hand mixer beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well mixed.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat well until completely smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add key lime juice, zest and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Ice cake.

This makes quite a bit of icing.  After icing the entire  pound cake I fill the middle hole with the excess icing.  When the cake is served icing can be taken from the middle and dolloped along the side the slice of cake.

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