Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As featured in Bay Area Bites, September 16, 2009.

Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake

Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake

I once created a dessert inspired by a body lotion I fell in love with one summer. It was a creamy Coconut Lime Verbena lotion, and as I slathered it over my body, with the seductively warm coconut scent mingling with the sweet floral citrus notes of the lime verbena, my mind wandered to dessert.

Surely, such a match made in heaven could come together in flavor as well as aroma.

And indeed it could…in what I call my Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake. This decadent treat is like the tropical love child of a refreshing, tart, key lime pie and a rich cheesecake…with a coconut cream pie floozie thrown into the mix.

The citrus cuts through the richness, giving this dessert a surprisingly light feel to it. The addition of sour cream also gives it a sense of airiness, unlike some other cheesecakes that end up feeling like a brick in your stomach. I love adding nuts to my dessert crusts whenever possible, and this is no exception. I chose cashews here for their subtle, buttery flavor. And then there is the crowning shower of toasted coconut flakes. The coconut brings out the nuttiness of the crust, and the extra texture adds interest.

It takes some forethought to make, since it’s best served after chilling in the fridge overnight, but the wait is well worth it! Whip this up for your next BBQ or party and wait for the oohs and ahhs to rain down, you domestic goddess, you.

Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake

Makes: One (10 inch) cheesecake, serves 8-10

1 package graham crackers (approx. 1 cup)
1 cup cashews
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 (12 oz.) container sour cream
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
½ cup lime juice (if you can’t find key limes, substitute with regular limes)
¼ cup Malibu (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

½ cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
Slices of lime for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter or spray the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the outside of the pan in foil. Finely grind the graham crackers and cashews in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

3. Mix together the sour cream, cream cheese, and sugar. Blend in the lime zest, lime juice, Malibu, and vanilla. Add eggs in one at a time.

4. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Create a hot water bath by pouring enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour.

5. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. I just toast the coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t burn; it will toast up quickly. Garnish with lime slices.

6. Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold and firm, at least 8 hours (best overnight).

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Posted by Stephanie at 12:18 am

15 Responses to “Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake”

  1. Bob says:

    Oh wow, that looks awesome! Heh, I hate waiting for cheesecake to cool.

  2. Bano says:

    Great looking cheesecake! Does the optional Malibu replace 1/4 cup of the lime juice or is it in addition to the 1/2 cup of lime juice?

    • Stephanie says:

      thanks! good question — I pour in the Malibu in addition to the lime juice. If you don’t use it though, you could always add in a dash of coconut extract. I don’t think the difference in liquid would make a noticeable difference in the consistency of the cheesecake.

  3. Bano says:

    Thanks, Stephanie.

  4. Marc says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I really enjoyed meeting you last night. Dinner was such a great time and the FoodBuzz people are great. I loved the post so much I went out and bought Key Lime Cheesecake tonight (way to lazy to make my own). And the fact that it doubles as suntan lotion – who knew?


  5. I completely remember the Coconut Lime Verbena body lotion…Bath and Body Works right? I still wish they had it and I sigh a little when I think about the summer it came out. I am glad you are capturing its essence in this cheesecake. It doesn’t get better than food inspired by body lotion! :)

  6. Anecdote says:

    I lived in New York for ten years and love NY Cheesecake…This recipe is decadent beyond belief and right up my street! I love all things coconut so I cannot wait to try out this delight.

  7. ShyGuy says:

    Coconut Lime Verbena was the flavor (is that the right word, flavor?) Of air freshener that my friend Jennifer used in her car when we went on a road trip down the Oregon coast this summer. She chose it because it wasn’t too strong and wasn’t overly feminine. Not sure about that, but it did smell nice.

  8. Kristie says:

    I made this on Saturday and it came out beautifully. The key limes really did take over most of the flavor though, even with the toasted coconut topping (which added wonderful texture BTW). I wonder if replacing the Malibu run with coconut milk would correct that? I loved it as is, but I would like to know if you think a slight change would work.

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