Coconut Lime Mousse Cake

Coconut Lime cake with napkin and bowl of limes

So . . . this recipe for Coconut Lime Mousse Cake requires me to admit to you something I’ve been dreading since I started this blog.  I know, I know its only been like a hot minute but I’ve still been dreading it. Deep breath.
Here it is: I do not like whipped cream.  Yes, you read that right.  I. don’t. like. whipped. cream.  I also don’t like cream cheese.  Or marshmallow of any kind.  Pretty much anything white and fluffy I’m taking a pass on.  Sour cream?  Eww, no thank you.  Cottage cheese? Not if my life depended on it.
I dunno why.  I’ve always been this way.  I’ve tried to like these things.  I swear.  Well, except cottage cheese.  That shit’s not right.  But no matter what I do I’m just not into them.
Phew, I’m glad that’s off my chest.  I feel like I’ve been hiding something from you and it didn’t feel good.  A cooking lie by omission, maybe?  But now that it’s out in the open I feel much better.
What was I so worried about?  Not like you guys would consider me a freak because I don’t eat white and fluffy things.  Right? . . . . Right?!
But fear not, my friends and readers, this does not mean I will shy away from white and fluffy foods or ingredients because of my weirdo tastes.
After all, I cook for many people who love all things white and fluffy.  My husband?  Religiously starts his day with a bagel and cream cheese.  His favorite dessert is key lime pie with whipped cream.  He doesn’t even like chocolate desserts much.  You wanna talk about a freak . . .
And my oldest daughter?  Last year she demanded to take s’mores pie to school for her birthday.  I suggested pie wasn’t really a share at school kind of birthday treat but she was adamant.  So s’mores pie it was.   And she was right — all the kids loved it.  Remind me to post that recipe for you soon, will you?  It’s a crowd pleaser.  Plus, you can torch the top if you like and there’s something so satisfying about using a blow torch. . . .
Limes, lemons, toasted coconut and knife on wooden board
But back to the Coconut Lime Mousse Cake.  A friend of mine ran across this recipe and liked the sound of it. I’m never one to yuck someone else’s yum so here we are.  Coconut Lime Mousse Cake.  It’s a taste of the tropics in cake form.  The chiffon cake and mousse filling/topping keep it light while the lime gives it a nice tartness that cuts through the sweetness of the coconut and simple syrup.  Plus, even when the presentation is not perfect (and mine’s certainly, not as you can see) it still looks hella impressive (Nineties slang ftw. Again.).
Pot on stove being whisked
spring form pan inverted on cooling rake
Now look.  I won’t bs you.  The recipe seemed a bit more involved than I’d usually go in for.  But it’s not that bad. The secret to this cake is that it has several different parts which in themselves are pretty basic.  But once you assemble them?  Everyone you serve will be impressed with your mad baking skillz.  It’s one of those where you put it on the table and everyone “oohs and aahs” and asks repeatedly “you made this? you didn’t buy it? you made it?”  And nothing is better than impressing people with little effort.  That, to me, has gotta be a hallmark of close enough cooking . . .
slice of cake on blue plate

Coconut Lime Mousse Cake

  • Author: closeenoughcook
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: One 9-Inch Cake (10-12 servings) 1x


This dessert is a taste of the tropics in cake form.  Light coconut-lime chiffon cake are layered with a lime mousse and topped with fluffy whipped cream and a dusting of toasted coconut.  Make sure you save yourself a slice.  This is the kind of cake that doesn’t last long.

Adapted from Flavorful by Tish Boyle



For Chiffon Cake

1 cup cake flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs, room temperature and separated

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. lime zest

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

For Syrup

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar

Lime Mousse

2 tbsp water

1 tsp unflavored gelatin powder

8 large egg yolks

1 1//4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp salt

10 tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces

1 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream

For Topping

3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup heavy cream

3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


For Chiffon Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper and grease paper.
  3. Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. With a stand or handheld mixer beat egg yolks, oil, lime zest and juice, milk, and vanilla at medium speed until blended.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture slowly, mixing just until incorporated.
  6. In another bowl whisk egg whites and cream of tarter at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in remaining sugar then raise sped to high and beat until whites are stiff.
  7. Fold 1/4 of the whites into the cake batter with a spatula.
  8. Gently fold in remaining whites.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. Let cake cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.  Then invert pan on a cooling rack to cool completely.

For Syrup

  1. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use.

For Mousse

  1. Put water in heatproof measuring cup. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften
  2. Set cup in a pan of simmering water for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until gelatin is dissolved and mixture is clear.  Leave in hot water until ready to use.
  3. In a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks and sugar until blended.
  4. Stir in lime and lemon juices, salt, and butter and cook over medium heat whisking continuously until mixture thickens (approx. 7-10 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin water.
  6. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing it through with a spatula.
  7. Place bowl in ice bath (i.e., a large bowl 1/3 filled with ice and water) and stir frequently until slightly cooler than room temperature (approx. 10 minutes).
  8. Whisk cream until it forms medium-firm peaks.
  9. Fold a heaping spoonful into lime mixture.  Gently fold in remaining cream.

For Garnish

  1. Toast coconut in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until light golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Let toasted coconut cool completely.
  3. Whip heavy cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.
  4. Add sugar and vanilla and whip until medium-firm peaks form.

To Assemble Cake

  1. Reinvert cooled cake and remove the side of springform pan.
  2. Using large serrated knife cut cake into two layers.
  3. Place top layer, cut side up, back in bottom of reassembled springform pan.
  4. Using a pastry brush saturate cake layer with half of the simple syrup.
  5. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 2 cups of mousse evenly on top of layer.
  6. Top with other half of cake cut side up.
  7. Brush cake with remaining simple syrup.
  8. Top with even layer of remaining lime mousse.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours until mousse has set.
  10. Run a thin blade knife around sides of cake and remove side of springform pan.
  11. Clean up sides of cake if needed using a hot spatula.
  12. Top with toasted coconut and whipped cream.
  13. Serve cake immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

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