I may have hinted at this fact in previous posts but I’ll just come out and say it as directly as I know how: I worship at the altar of the Barefoot Contessa. I could be coy and pretend I’m overstating things but I’m really not. I don’t actually have a shrine dedicated to her Hey Arnold! style but I’m not opposed to it. I should really get on that. I actually love her.
Every day after I got home from high school, I would run through the door, sling off my gigantic backpack, make a bowl of buttered noodles (as you do) and sit down to watch her glorious show. I loved everything about that half hour of television. I loved to watch her sauntering around her gorgeous estate in the Hamptons planning seemingly impromptu yet effortlessly chic cocktail parties for her friends. I thought to myself–sad pasta in hand–that one day, I, too, would invite all my interesting friends over for a casual game of bridge while we sipped cosmopolitans and nibbled on gourmet finger food like roasted figs and shrimp cocktail. But good shrimp, obviously.
I’m not exactly sure what happened but I’m finding, as an adult in my twenties, that most of my social activities are centralized over a six-pack of Coor’s Light and maybe a pack or two of fruit snacks. I still have big plans to become the hostess of dreams but, hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. (How long did it actually take, though? I’d really like my own barn for entertaining now, please.)
For the moment I guess I will just have to continue to live vicariously through Ina. I really can’t put into words how much joy her cookbooks have given me over the years. They are always my first stop when I want to make something insanely delicious and impressive. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I frequently flip through them before bed as part of my nighttime, recipe-reading ritual. (I can’t be the only one that does this…)
This recipe is 100% inspired by, and adapted from, Ina’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake from the How Easy Is That? cookbook. I had been wanting to make an icebox cake because they are such a classic retro-y dessert. I decided to use hers as a starting point but make a summery version using bright flavors like lime and coconut. I use the same brand of cookies Ina uses in the original (Tate’s Bake Shop) which used to be hard to find but they’ve really expanded in the past couple years and now I see them everywhere.
Here’s a link to the original recipe if you’re interested: Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake
I’m really pleased with how this came out. It’s a great alternative to Key Lime Pie for the summer and the best part is that you don’t even have to turn the oven on. It really couldn’t be simpler. Enjoy!!
Key Lime & Coconut Icebox Cake
- 1/2 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
- 1/2 cup sugar
Mix lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely.
For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 12 ounces Mascarpone cheese
- 3/4 cup lime syrup
- 2 tablespoons lime zest (about 4 limes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 packages Tate’s Bake Shop Coconut Crisp Cookies
- 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish
- whipped cream and lime slices for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer (use whisk attachment), mix together heavy cream and mascarpone until combined. With mixer on low, slowly drizzle in lime syrup. Add lime zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar and continue whipping until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Arrange first layer of cookies in the bottom of a springform pan (I used a 10-inch but smaller is fine). Spread one-fifth of the frosting over the cookies. Continue layering cookies and frosting until there are 5 layers of cookie and 5 layers of frosting (end with frosting on top). Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread 1/2 cup of coconut evenly over a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until most of the coconut is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Make whipped cream (recipe below) and put into a piping bag (I used Ateco tip #865). Cut 8 thin slices of lime.
Run a small knife or frosting spatula around the rim of the cake and undo the sides of the pan. Smooth out the frosting on the sides with a spatula. Sprinkle toasted coconut over top of cake. Pipe 8 small dollops of whipped cream around the cake in a circle and top each with a slice of lime. Serve cold.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until the mixture forms stiff peaks.