For the Cake Batter
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/ 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/ 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 lime, zested
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/ 2 cups coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/ 2 cups coconut milk, cream stirred in
To Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 325ºF and set the racks in the middle third of the oven. Prepare your cake pans. Spray each one with a liberal amount of cooking spray, line each pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit, and spray the parchment paper again. In a large metal mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
In the bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, lime zest and vanilla extract. Begin whipping this on high speed until it has almost doubled in size, reaches “ribbon stage” and is an opaque, pale yellow.
With the mixer running, SLOWLY stream in the oil, in three additions, allowing each addition to fully emulsify before adding more.
Once all the oil is incorporated turn the speed down to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing to combine. Stop the mixer and with a rubber spatula scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is getting incorporated. Turn the mixer back on at low speed, add all the coconut milk and allow to fully incorporate. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Turn off the mixer and working quickly, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure no lumps remain. If it needs a little more mixing, do so by hand, but don’t overdo it! Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and immediately transfer to the oven, one on the top rack and one on the bottom.
Set a timer for 15 minutes, bake and then rotate the cakes a 180 degree turn and switch their racks, moving the one on top to the bottom rack and vice versa. Set a timer for another 15 minutes, bake and then poke the center of one cake with a toothpick or cake tester. If it comes out clean, they’re done. If it comes out a little gooey, set a timer for another 5 minutes or so and check them again. Remove them from the oven and set the pans on resting racks to cool.
For the Lime Curd
- 1/ 2 cup lime juice
- 1/ 2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cubed
To Make the Lime Curd
While the cakes cool, fill a medium pot with about 3” of water. You want the heatproof glass bowl to sit on top without it touching the water; creating a double boiler. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.
In the heatproof glass bowl, combine the lime juice, sugar, whole eggs and yolks, and whisk to combine. Place the bowl on top of the simmering water and whisk frequently to prevent scrambling, until the curd begins to thicken, for about 20 minutes. To test, it should coat the back of a spoon.
When thickened, quickly whisk in the butter, several cubes at a time, until fully melted and incorporated. Carefully remove the bowl from the pot, using towels or potholders.
Have a fine strainer set over a clean bowl and pour the hot curd through, using a spatula to pass it through. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the hot curd so a “skin” doesn’t form and allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. The curd can be made ahead will keep up to 5 days in the fridge or can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Fully thaw overnight in the fridge before proceeding.
For the Fluff and Coconut
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/ 3 cup egg whites
- pinch salt
- 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 lime, zested
To Make the Fluff
While the curd cools, fill a small pot with about 3” of water and bring to a simmer. In the bowl of your mixer combine sugar and egg whites, making sure no sugar is stuck to the sides of the bowl. Using a whisk, mix to combine the sugar and whites.
Place the bowl over the simmering water and, with a spatula, stir constantly to dissolve the sugar, while preventing the whites from scrambling. This process takes about 6 minutes and is done when frothy and the sugar is fully dissolved. To test, rub a little bit between your fingers. If it feels completely smooth, it’s done.
Attach the bowl of whites to the mixer with the whisk attachment, and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form and the meringue cools, approximately 5 minutes. While whipping, add a pinch of salt. To test the consistency, you can stop the mixer and check the peaks. Cover until you assemble the cake. Can be made an hour ahead of time.
Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the rim of each cake and then gently invert the first sheet onto a large platter- whatever you want to present the cake on. Peel off the parchment paper. Cut the cake layer widthwise to create two rectangles and center it on your platter. With a small offset spatula, spread a layer of lime curd all over the bottom cake layer. Gently place the second cake layer on top, lining up the edges with the bottom layer for an even stack. Repeat with the next sheet of cake so you have 4 cake layers, with curd between each layer. Chill the assembled cake for 30 minutes.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with the meringue, using a small offset to create swooshes and tufts as you go.
Using your hands, gently cover the meringue with the coconut flakes, sprinkling an even layer over the top and gently pressing it onto the sides. Finish it all off with some fresh lime zest right before serving.
This cake can be assembled up to 6 hours in advance and topped with the fresh zest right before serving. Cut into squares for a crowd, or whatever size you prefer.