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Key Lime Cake

From Chef David Carmichael's Oceana restaurant
/ Source: TODAY

Makes one 10-inch cake

INGREDIENTS

Buttercake

  • 2 1/2 cups butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, cake
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Graham cracker crunch

  • 2 cups graham crackers, ground                     
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Key lime filling

  • Zest of 8 limes
  • 1 cup key lime juice
  • Two 14-oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 8 gelatin sheets

Whipped cream filling

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 each vanilla beans  
  • 7 each gelatin sheets    

DIRECTIONS
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, and sift very well. Form a well in your dry ingredients and pour in the first amount of half and half, eggs, hot butter and vanilla extract; whisk until very smooth. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until just incorporated evenly. Pour onto a flat sheet tray and spread smooth. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 min. Remove and cool. Cut out three rounds and reserve.

For graham cracker crunchMix everything together well and form into small drops onto a sheettray lined with parchment paper and bake in 325 degree oven for five min..

For key lime fillingBegin by soaking the gelatin sheets in cold water. Combine half the milk with the yolks and whisk in a bowl over a double boiler until hot to the touch (approx. 160 degrees F).

Remove from heat, drain out the gelatin and combine all ingredients.  Mix until smooth, and reserve in a warm space.

For whipped cream fillingWhip 3 3/4 cup of the cream with sugar and just the seeds of the vanilla pods to a very soft peak. Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft.  Drain and then melt in the remaining cream just until dissolved; then fold into whipped cream until evenly mixed.

To assembleImmediately fill your cake ring alternating with the components. First, a round of buttercake' then one layer of keylime, sprinkle in graham cracker crunch and then the whipped cream. Continue until cake ring is full.  Let sit in refrigerator. Unmold by carefully warming the sides and lifting off the cake ring.  Decorate as desired.