freestyling-cake-2016_mg_0729-1400

Rich, buttery, and extremely easy to make, Jeni’s Lady Cake needs nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar and a fresh pile of fruit on the side. Its simplicity also makes it the perfect cake for dressing up — going elegant with a white chocolate glaze, or fresh with a smear of blackberry jam. Or capturing those island vibes with some bright and boozy frosting.

We’re inspired by the latter for today’s Freestylin’ venture. (Because it’s a single-digit degree day for us in the test kitchen, and, frankly, we could use a little Caribbean warmth!) The frosting inspiration: a coquito. The Puerto Rican cocktail is like eggnog, but totally different. It’s loaded with rum and spiked with coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, cinnamon, and cloves.

Start by making two layers of Jeni’s Lady Cake (recipe on page 100 of her second book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Desserts). For the coquito frosting, use the recipe below:

freestyling-cake-2016_mg_0673-1400freestyling-cake-2016_mg_0677-1400
freestyling-cake-2016_mg_0681-1400freestyling-cake-2016_mg_0691-1400

Coquito Frosting

1 pint heavy cream
½ cup sweetened coconut cream
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Toasted coconut flakes and Maldon sea salt to garnish

Whip the heavy cream and coconut cream together, until blended (but not completely whipped). Add the remaining ingredients (through sea salt) and finish whipping.
Build the layer cake. Finish with toasted coconut and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

What is Freestylin’?

We’re glad you asked. Jeni designed her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, like a mixing and matching game. Her idea: Master one base recipe (like an empanada dough, pie crust, or macaroon cake), and then swap out ingredients or combine them with other recipes to create an entirely new dish that’s uniquely you. This is how Jeni cooks at home. It’s what she calls cooking between the pages, or Freestylin’. Our Freestylin’ blog series is where we share riffs on Jeni’s recipes for even more inspiration.