(That means I really like pound cake)
I actually don't bake as much as I mean to. I cook all the time, so you would think that I would have a dessert prepared for every meal, or at least a couple of times a week. Heaven knows I've never turned down a sweet treat. I like cookies, I like cake, I like pie, I like ice cream, I like pastry, I like marshmallows, I like chocolate, I like candy... you get the picture. Anything with sugar.
The thing about baking, though, is that it requires alot more precision than cooking. My cooking style, as I'm sure you've gathered, is a little free-spirited. I don't like having to be glued to a recipe. I want to make things in whatever way sounds good to me.
With cakes and other things, I can't exactly do that, because I'm not well enough acquainted with the chemistry of baking. Certain proportions work, others don't. Once you get it down, it seems easy to make up your own recipes, but at this point, I need a little boost from someone knowledgeable.
Enter Thomas Keller.
(Sometimes, a bunch of coincidences surround me and seem to point me in the direction of something. That's happening right now. My mom sent me a book entitled "Service Included"; I made the Grapefruit Cake recipe found on Tracey's Culinary Adventures; and I heard of the famous Napa Valley restaurant French Laundry. What do they all have in common? Thomas Keller.)
I made a very successful loaf cake from Thomas Keller's recipe originally printed in Ad Hoc At Home. (Note to any family members or friends - this would make an excellent Birthday, Christmas, St Patrick's Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, or Easter gift.) I was a little suspicious about the glaring lack of butter in the recipe, but it ended up being fabulous in both taste and texture.
So I decided to make another cake, combining Thomas Keller's genius and experience with my tropical cravings. And Voila! The Lime-Coconut Pound Cake was born. It's a pretty standard loaf cake with a yummy syrup soaked in the top and is finally crowned with a sugar glaze. I love the syrup and highly recommend making it, but some may find the texture to be a bit soggy near the crust. It doesn't bother me at all - I love cakes soaked in sweet liquids (think Tres Leches), and the outer crust stays crisp.
(Sorry there's only a picture of one slice. I may or may not have already eaten over half of the cake before I finally drug out the camera)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
The zest of 1 lime
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature (I find that 2% works fine too)
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon Coconut Rum, such as Malibu
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Coconut Rum
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
A few teaspoons of leftover syrup
A few teaspoons of milk or water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9.25×5.25 inch loaf pan (or similar size).
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and the whisk leaves a trail. With the mixer running, add the milk, then the oil and finally the rum. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spray a small paring knife with nonstick cooking spray, then run the knife lengthwise down the center of the batter, about 1/2-inch deep. (This helps the cake develop an even crack down the center as it bakes.) Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. My oven is the worst, so I ended up baking for at least an hour and a half, but I doubt that most ovens would require that much time. You're looking for a very crunchy brown edge so it'll hold together once you add the syrup on top.
While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the lime juice, rum, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to simmer for 1 minute. *See note at bottom.
When you remove the cake from the oven, transfer to a wire rack (still in the loaf pan). Immediately use a skewer or toothpick to poke deep holes into the top of the cake. Spoon the syrup on slowly until it looks quite saturated. (I usually use about half of the syrup. The other half is great for making spritzers or cocktails!)
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after you’ve added the syrup, then turn it out onto the cooling rack. (I always lose a little bit of the top of the cake during this process - it sticks to the wire! Let me know if you have any genius solutions to this.) Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar, syrup, and milk together until the glaze is smooth – it should be thick but with a pourable consistency. Drizzle it on, baby. The directions say to let the glaze set before serving, but I never can wait that long :)
Serve with ice cold milk! As Colton says, there's nothing like milk when you want milk.
Well wrapped, the cake will keep for a few days. I keep mine in the fridge - I like my cakes cold enough to give me a headache :)
*The only coconut-y thing I had in the pantry was rum. It really did turn out yummy! Next time I make it, I'm going to try soaking the cake in a mixture of cream of coconut and lime juice - I think it'll be a little more like a tropical Tres Leches. And in either case, it'd be great to have some flaked or shredded coconut on top! I'll let you know if it turns out well whenever I try that :)