December 25, 2011

Santa's Little Green Balls

Every year on Jeff's birthday (I think some of you refer to this day as "Christmas"), I make him whatever cake he wants. For a few years, it was always cheesecake, but a couple years ago I made him a Key Lime cake. This year, he requested that cake again.

This cake, although called a key lime cake, doesn't actually call for any key limes, using regular limes instead. So, being somewhat of a lime purist (but who isn't?), I decided to step it up a notch and use real key limes.

This turned out to be a Very Bad Idea.

In case you aren't familiar with key limes, they are much smaller than their standard equivalent. They are little spheres, walnut-sized or smaller. They are perfect for, say, garnishing a margarita, but, as it turns out, not ideal for my purposes today.

This particular cake has a lime-sugar syrup that you pour on the cake. This step calls for a half cup of lime juice, which I was planning to squeeze by hand, requiring me to slice each lime in half. And, being that these little balls of joy are round, they roll. So, yes, I also sliced my finger.

It wasn't stitches-worthy, but had to be dealt with, and of course happened when Jeff was in the shower, and Jelly was "helping" me, which at that moment consisted of making handprints in the flour on the counter. She refused to leave the kitchen, so I had to carry her out with my non-bleeding hand, while still maintaining constant pressure on my finger, and holding it above my heart for good measure.

Bandage applied, I looked forward to the opportunity to get a lot of citrus juice in the cut, and returned to slicing the little green balls. When I thought I had enough limes, I started juicing what I now refer to as Satan's testicles.

I quickly learned that each little green nugget of joy gives out about one teaspoon of juice. I needed half a cup. I asked Siri and she told me that there are TWENTY FOUR teaspoons in a half cup. After juicing about twelve limes, I couldn't take it any more, and went out to pick a few regular limes off our tree and finish the job.

Hey, at least I didn't resort to juice from a bottle.

(I'm totally doing that next time.)

Limes juiced, syrup made, and cake in the oven, I embarked on the cream cheese frosting: cream cheese, margarine, powdered sugar, and one third of a cup of lime zest. Wait, what? How the hell am I supposed to zest these little f-ing limes, especially now that half of them are already juiced and squashed? 

Do you know how many key limes it takes to get a third of a cup of zest? Neither do I.

I did my best, got as much zest as I could, which turned out to be plenty because this recipe makes about a gallon of frosting, about a third of which I used.

Also, it does not take a genius to predict that I zested my knuckle.

In the end, the cake was delicious. And now I have a bag of unused key limes. Margaritas, anyone?


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