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Key Lime Cake – Sugar Spun Run

Constructed on all of the basic, favourite flavors of key lime pie, my key lime cake is enjoyable, refreshing, and brilliantly flavored! It’s made with three moist, candy vanilla cake layers, a tart key lime frosting, and (elective, however beneficial) sky-high dollops of whipped cream. Recipe features a how-to video tutorial!

Why You’ll Love This Key Lime Cake

  • Cake layers: the cake layers are subtly infused with key lime taste, however they nonetheless have a candy vanilla cake style, so the cake isn’t overpowered by tartness.
  • Frosting: to attain probably the most key lime taste within the frosting, we’ll stir in a home made lime curd. I first used this method in my lemon frosting (it is a sport changer for infusing taste into frostings!).
  • Ornament: a crown of stabilized whipped cream and miniskirt of graham cracker crumbs places issues excessive and offers every thing an genuine key lime pie style and really feel.
  • Method: from the reverse creaming methodology used to make the tender cake layers to the curd-infused frosting, each bit of labor you set into this cake can be properly definitely worth the reward.
Key lime cake that's been decorated with graham cracker crumbs and piped whipped cream swirls.Key lime cake that's been decorated with graham cracker crumbs and piped whipped cream swirls.Key lime cake that's been decorated with graham cracker crumbs and piped whipped cream swirls.

A Few Issues to Know

My present favourite cake, key lime cake isn’t simply spectacular to take a look at, it’s an absolute taste masterpiece (if I do say so myself)! With subtly key lime flavored cake layers, a easy and silky cream cheese key lime frosting, and beneficiant dollops of whipped cream frosting (elective, however so beneficial), it’s concurrently decadent and completely refreshing for summer season. A contact of graham cracker crumbs across the backside provides a pleasant contact of sweetness and texture too!

The tip result’s the proper steadiness of candy and tart.

I went by many, many trials and variations growing this recipe and at last nailed the tender, smooth, however barely extra dense crumb I used to be on the lookout for within the cake layers. For the frosting, one which began with a cream cheese frosting base was the winner with my style testers (and myself) each time.


Let’s chat about a couple of of the important thing elements within the cake itself, after which I’ll do the identical for the frosting.

  • Key lime juice. Key limes, not to mention good, juicy ones, will be troublesome to search out relying in your location and time of yr. You possibly can substitute “common” lime zest for the important thing lime zest, however for the juice I actually advocate utilizing a key lime juice. Should you can’t discover precise key limes, most shops carry the juice. Search for a model referred to as “Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice”, as that one works very properly right here (I’ve made the cake utilizing this juice a number of instances).
  • All-purpose flour. I discovered that common all-purpose flour (plain flour within the UK) labored greatest right here (quite than cake flour).
  • Butter & oil. Like so lots of my cake recipes, I’m utilizing a mix of oil and butter to create a moist, flavorful crumb on this key lime cake. Oil can be particularly useful for preserving moisture in desserts that want refrigerated, like this one.
  • Vanilla. Regardless that we’re flavoring the cake with lime juice and zest, a contact of vanilla continues to be acceptable right here. It’s refined, however softens the tartness of the limes a bit.

Frosting Components

  • Cream cheese. Similar to when making key lime cheesecake, you should use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese for this key lime frosting. The spreadable type offered in tubs (or the low-fat selection!) can be far too smooth and you should have a runny frosting.
  • Eggs. We’ll want simply the yolks (so be at liberty to save lots of the whites for coconut macaroons or meringues). This may type the bottom of our key lime curd, which we are going to beat into our frosting.
  • Key Lime Juice. See my be aware above; I usually can’t discover key limes after I need them, so I used bottled key lime juice (and whereas contemporary will at all times be my desire, bottled works properly right here!).
  • Graham cracker crumbs. These are elective, however for a key lime pie vibe, you may press some graham cracker crumbs up the edges after frosting. These add a pleasant texture too!

No vanilla right here, as this is able to dampen the contemporary lime taste.

SAM’S TIP: In contrast to many citrus fruits that attain their peak in the course of the winter, limes are in season in the course of the spring and summer season months. So that you may need to think about saving recipes like orange cookies and lemon cake for the winter, and make key lime cake when the climate is heat!

That is simply an outline of the elements I used and why. For the complete recipe please scroll all the way down to the underside of the put up!

Learn how to Make Key Lime Cake

Make the Cake Layers

  1. Whisk collectively the dry elements and sugar, then regularly stir within the butter one tablespoon at a time. Be sure you wait so as to add the following tablespoon of butter till the earlier tablespoon is totally mixed.
  2. Stir within the oil and lime zest till included. You’ll be left with a sandy, crumbly combination.
  3. Add your lime juice to a big glass measuring cup, then pour in milk till you attain a complete of 1 ½ cups of liquid. This may look like an odd measuring method, however for those who’ve ever made my buttermilk substitute, you’ll acknowledge it. By doing this, we are literally making a type of buttermilk substitute. The scant cup of milk give us the right quantity of liquid and chemical response for the last word texture and taste.
  4. Add the remaining moist elements to the milk combination, then slowly pour it into your batter till mixed. Scrape the edges and backside of the bowl as wanted and blend till you have got a easy, silky batter.
  1. Divide your batter between your cake pans and bake. I like to make use of the toothpick take a look at to examine for doneness; you need to see a couple of moist crumbs or a clear toothpick.
  2. Let the desserts cool for 10-Quarter-hour, then take away them from the pans and funky fully on a cooling rack.


  1. Make the important thing lime curd, then pour it by a superb mesh strainer right into a heatproof bowl. Let this cool fully earlier than including it to your frosting!
  2. Beat the butter and cream cheese till easy, then regularly add 4 cups of the powdered sugar till included.
  3. Progressively stir within the cooled key lime curd, working with one tablespoon at a time. Don’t do that too rapidly or add an excessive amount of, or you would break your frosting.
  4. Scrape the edges and backside of the bowl, then style take a look at. Add the extra sugar in case your frosting appears too smooth, tart, or about to interrupt.

Sure, making a home made key lime curd is extra time consuming than merely including a splash of juice into the frosting, however it actually nailed the flavour I used to be on the lookout for, whereas simply including lime juice merely does not do the trick. I promise, the additional work is properly value it!


  1. Degree and frost your first cake layer, then repeat with the second layer. Add your ultimate layer on high. If desired, do a crumb coat.
  2. End frosting your cake with a good layer across the exterior.
  3. Press graham cracker crumbs up the edges of the cake, if desired.
  4. Pipe whipped cream swirls across the high of the cake and enhance as desired. I prefer to sprinkle lime zest and graham cracker crumbs on the tops of the swirls.

SAM’S TIP: Let the curd cool fully and add it regularly, or your frosting might break. This may be exhausting to repair (I discuss a bit about this in my raspberry frosting put up), so prevention is greatest.

Slice of cake frosted with a key lime frosting missing a few bites.Slice of cake frosted with a key lime frosting missing a few bites.Slice of cake frosted with a key lime frosting missing a few bites.

Incessantly Requested Questions

Can I take advantage of common limes as an alternative of key limes?

Common lime zest will work superb for this key lime cake, however attempt your greatest to search out key lime juice. I discuss extra about this within the recipe card under; I can normally discover the juice within the fruit juice part of my grocery retailer.

Does key lime cake have to be refrigerated?

Sure it does. The frosting and whipped cream gained’t be steady at room temperature, so it is advisable to retailer this cake within the fridge. Notice that it is best to retailer this cake in an hermetic container to forestall it from drying out within the fridge.

Can I take advantage of a unique pan?

My key lime cake may also be made in a 9″ spherical pans, a 9×13″ pan, or as cupcakes. Simply be aware that your bake time can be totally different for every, so regulate your desserts as they bake.

This key lime cake is the proper summer season birthday cake! I can’t wait to listen to the way you prefer it.

Get pleasure from! And Should you’re having fun with these enjoyable and flavorful desserts, undoubtedly try my chocolate raspberry cake and new cannoli cake subsequent!

Let’s bake collectively! Subscribe to my e-newsletter to be notified of all the most recent recipes, and discover my free recipe tutorials on YouTube 💜

Key Lime Cake

Impressed by key lime pie, my key lime cake is so refreshing! It is made with three moist, candy vanilla cake layers, a tart key lime frosting, and dollops of whipped cream. Recipe features a how-to video!


Course: Cake, Dessert

Delicacies: American

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook dinner Time: 40 minutes

Complete Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Servings: 12 servings

Energy: 665kcal

Stop your display screen from going darkish



  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and totally grease and flour the edges of three 8” cake pans, tapping out any extra flour, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

  • In a big bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    2 ⅔ cups (333 g) all-purpose flour, 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon desk salt

  • With mixer on low velocity, add softened butter one Tablespoon at a time, permitting every Tablespoon to be totally included into the dry elements earlier than including the following. As soon as all butter is added, the combination can have a sandy, crumbly texture.

    ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter

  • Add oil and lime zest and stir till properly mixed. Put aside.

    ¼ cup (60 ml) avocado, 1 Tablespoon lime or key lime zest

  • Add the important thing lime juice to a big measuring cup (at the least 2-cup), then add the milk till it reaches the 1 ½ cup line and whisk to mix.

    1 ½ Tablespoons key lime juice, 1 ½ (333 ml) scant cups complete milk

  • Add eggs and vanilla to the milk combination and whisk to mix.

    2 massive eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Flip mixer to low velocity and slowly add the milk combination into batter till totally mixed, pausing to scrape the edges and backside of the bowl as wanted. Batter must be uniform, silky and easy.

  • Evenly divide batter into ready pans (if weighing batter, every pan ought to have roughly 460 grams of batter) and bake within the middle rack of preheated 350F (175C) oven for 26-28 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted within the middle of every cake comes out clear or with a couple of moist crumbs.

  • Enable desserts to chill of their pans for 10-Quarter-hour, then run a knife alongside the sting of the pan to loosen from the perimeters and thoroughly invert onto a cooling rack to chill fully. Whereas desserts are cooling, put together your frosting.


  • In a small, non-reactive saucepan (see be aware) whisk collectively egg yolks, key lime juice, sugar, and salt.

    2 massive egg yolks, ⅓ cup (80 ml) key lime juice, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon desk salt

  • Add butter and cook dinner over medium/low warmth, whisking continuously till combination is thickened. This may take a number of minutes; as soon as it’s thickened the whisk ought to begin to go away trails by the curd, and it ought to coat the again of a spoon.

    2 Tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter

  • Pour curd by a superb mesh strainer right into a heatproof bowl. Enable to chill fully earlier than continuing (this can be positioned within the fridge to chill quicker).


  • In a big mixing bowl, use an electrical mixer to beat softened butter and cream cheese till easy and creamy.

    ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, 6 oz (170 g) cream cheese

  • Progressively add 4 cups (500g) of powdered sugar till fully included.

    4-5 cups (500-625 g) powdered sugar

  • Add the cooled curd, one Tablespoon at a time, till you’ve added 5-6 Tablespoons. Make sure you scrape the edges and backside of the bowl to make certain all elements are totally mixed. If the frosting appears too smooth, too tart, or on the verge of breaking add the remaining sugar as wanted.


  • As soon as desserts are cooled, degree the tops if obligatory.

  • Frost every layer evenly with the ready frosting. Evenly frost the skin of the cake with the remaining frosting.

  • Gently press graham cracker crumbs across the backside of cake, a few quarter of the way in which up.

    ¼ cup (28 g) graham cracker crumbs

  • Pipe, swirl, or dollop stabilized whipped cream frosting excessive of the cake, if utilizing. Enhance with further graham cracker crumbs or lime zest, if desired.

    ½ batch Stabilized whipped cream frosting

  • Enable to relax within the fridge for at the least half-hour earlier than slicing and serving. Get pleasure from!


Key limes

Key limes will be troublesome to search out throughout the US relying on location and time of yr. You possibly can substitute “common” lime zest for the important thing lime zest, however for the juice I actually advocate utilizing a key lime juice. Should you can’t discover precise key limes, most shops carry the juice. Search for a model referred to as “Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice”, that one works very properly right here (I’ve made the cake utilizing this juice myself a number of instances).

Saucepan for curd

Select a small one made from a non-reactive steel like chrome steel or an enameled ceramic pot. Keep away from reactive metals (like forged iron or aluminum) that might react with the acidity of the lime juice and make your frosting style metallic.

Lime Curd

Curd could also be ready as much as 3 days prematurely of creating the frosting. This recipe ought to yield roughly 6 Tablespoons of a really tart key lime curd. When you can substitute an equal quantity of store-bought curd, it might alter the specified style a bit and home made/as-written is greatest.

Adorning: Whipped Cream Topping

To present this cake an actual key lime pie really feel, a whipped cream topping actually provides a pleasant however elective contact. You possibly can skip this completely or for those who desire, however I like to recommend making a half-batch of my stabilized whipped cream frosting and piping this excessive of the cake (this may be performed prematurely and can maintain its form for days, in contrast to basic home made whipped cream). I used my Ateco 848 piping tip to embellish the cake as seen in photos and the video.


Retailer in hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 4 days. Cake may additionally be tightly wrapped and frozen for as much as 3 months. I like to recommend thawing in a single day within the fridge earlier than serving.


Serving: 1serving | Energy: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 6g | Fats: 28g | Saturated Fats: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fats: 1g | Monounsaturated Fats: 8g | Trans Fats: 1g | Ldl cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 387mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 76g | Vitamin A: 932IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Dietary data is predicated on third-party calculations and must be thought of an estimate solely. Precise dietary content material will fluctuate primarily based upon manufacturers used, measuring strategies, cooking methodology, portion sizes, and extra.

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