Lime and coconut cake, the power of green

The 17 March is the feast of St. Patrick (Please don’t call it Paddy’s Day), the patron saint of Ireland (even though he was Welsh). Legend has it that he banished snakes from Ireland, but based on the weather today I can’t imagine they needed much persuading.

St. Patricks day is celebrated around the world with many millions claiming Irish heritage which we welcome with open arms. People line the streets in numerous world cities as parades full of marching bands, dancers and floats amble down the streets to music, applause, happiness and pride. Ireland can have as many as 100 parades in different locations ranging from the large parades in Dublin, Cork and Galway to more rural parades filled with local people, the odd tractor and the best of artistry from the local community.

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Instead of attending the parade today we are planning to take a walk in the wilds of Ireland be it the Dublin and Wicklow mountains or along the grand canal in Co. Kildare. The weather is still dry so a perfect day for exploring.

On previous days I would have made a cake, buns or biscuits dyed green in honour of St. Patrick but the vibrant green is not as attractive on sweet goods as it is in dark leafy vegetables. On a tour of the GPO yesterday I found out that green is not the traditional Irish colour and that blue was the colour usually used including the current Presidents’ flag. However I think blue cakes are even less appetising than green, so hence the idea for a lime and coconut cake came to light.

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I’ve previously made this cake as a sandwich filled with a lime butter cream but today I chose to make it as a single layer with a lime glace icing. Some butter-creams can be sickly but the tart lime juice mixed with the powdery icing sugar is a perfect finish for this cake.

Lime and coconut are a match made in heaven and transport me to islands far away in warmer climates where coconuts and limes are native. I can never resist limes while shopping as they great in making Thai food, salad dressing, sweet baked goods and gin and tonics. Desiccated coconut is a larder staple and wonderful in Indian curries, with chocolate and lightly toasted in shortbread biscuits.

What I am listening to: When my husband found out the cake I was making he started singing “Put the lime in the coconut” by Harry Nilsson, a song I’ve never heard of but I recommend it as company for baking this cake.

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Here’s the recipe and try it today or this weekend.

Recipe
8 oz plain flour
8 oz caster sugar
8 oz butter
4 eggs
1 tsp
zest of 2/3 limes (depending on size and preference)
1 oz coconut
60 ml milk
300g icing sugar

Preparation
Grease and line and the base of 10 inch springform tin
Preheat the oven to 160 C fan oven or 180 C conventional oven.

Method
– Soak the coconut in the milk until ready to use.
– Cream the butter, sugar and lime zest together until light and fluffy.
– Beat 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of flour into the butter and sugar mixture.
– Beat in the remaining eggs one at a time until mixture is light and fluffy.
– Sieve the remaining flour and fold through the whipped mixture.
– Add the juice of 1/2 limes and the coconut and milk mixture and fold through, gently.
– Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40/45 minutes
depending on your oven.
– Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
– Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add the juice of the remaining limes. Add cold water     until you get a smooth paste.
– Take one spoon of the icing paste and colour with green food colouring.
– Move the cake to your plate of choice and cover with the white glace icing.
– Put the coloured icing in the piping bag and draw stripes of green icing on the white
about 2cm apart.

Tip: You can use a small plastic bag with the corner cut-off if you don’t have a piping bag.

– Drag a cocktail stick in alternative directions on top of the cake to ‘feather’the icing.
– Allow icing to set before eating.

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So the walk was cold and wet but good to get out and time now to sit down for coffee and cake. Happy St. Patrick’s to everyone and happy baking in green.

Until next time……………………

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