Monday, March 12, 2012

Make Magic: Read a book, bake a cake

If you are looking for a green St. Patrick's Day dessert, try this cake that you can make with children while also sharing this book with them. It is rich and flavorful and you could just as easily omit the food coloring.

But the sweetest part is the story. The recipe appears in the back of a children's book, "Micah & The Magic Helmet" by Kat Parrish. Kat's daughter used to wear an angel food cake pan around the house as a helmet that helped her be courageous and strong! Kat and her daughter made up the story together!

The book is available for sale on and can be ordered from any bookstore or direct from its publisher,

A note about ingredients: I couldn't find key limes or key lime juice at any of the major grocery stores where I live (not even the ritzy Giant Eagle in Morgantown, WV.) I ordered a bottle of juice from

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
2 teaspoons key lime zest
2 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Green and yellow liquid food coloring

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon fresh key lime juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
dash salt
yellow and green sugar crystals
lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously coat the inside, bottom, and center tube of a 10-inch angel food cake pan. This cake can also be made in a 9-by-13-inch pan or 2 8- or 9-inch round pans for 35-45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

In a large bowl, cream the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light in color and fluffy (about 6 minutes.) Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Zest the limes and chop the zest into small pieces. (The easiest way is to put the zest into a measuring cup and snip it with the tips of kitchen scissors.) Add the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, re-sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in thirds, alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just long enough to incorporate the ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add 3 drops green food coloring and 1 drop yellow food coloring. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Cake is done when tester inserted in the middle (between outer edge and center tube) comes out clean. The cake will be a golden brown and slightly loosened from the sides. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove the outer ring. Cool completely then remove the center tube and transfer to a serving plate. Top with glaze.

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add lime juice. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Thin slightly with water or milk, if needed, to the consistency of pudding. Spoon glaze over cooled cake. Sprinkle green and yellow sugar lightly over top. Sprinkle with lime zest.

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