Key Lime Cake

Key Lime Cake

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 12 slices
Yield: 1 cake

This luxurious key lime cake mimics the classic Key lime pie both in flavor and presentation. It's the perfect dessert for anyone who loves to find more ways to enjoy Key limes. There is Key lime zest and juice in the cake batter, and then a bit of sweetened condensed milk is incorporated into the frosting to further mimic the beloved tart-and-creamy pie's flavor profile.

For garnish, crushed graham cracker crumbs are pressed at the base and slightly up the sides of the cake as a nod to the crust in the original version. As a final flourish, dollops of whipped cream adorn the top of the cake. Then freshly grated key lime zest is sprinkled all over the surface. Sit a halved slice of fresh key lime atop each whipped cream dollop and this elegant cake is ready to slice and serve.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons key lime zest
  • 2/3 cup key lime juice
  • For the Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • For the Garnish:
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Whipped cream
  • Key lime zest
  • Key lime slices

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs, vegetable oil, Key lime zest, and Key lime juice until smooth.

    Key Lime Cake wet ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth.

    Wet and dry ingredients for Key lime cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    Key Lime Cake batter in two pans

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely.

    Two baked Key lime cakes

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

    Butter and cream cheese for Key lime cake frosting

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Add half of the powdered sugar, the Key lime juice, and the sweetened condensed milk. Beat until smooth.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Add the remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the desired spreading consistency is achieved.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  10. Place the first cake layer on the serving platter. Top with some of the Key lime frosting.

    Key Lime Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  11. Place the second cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

    Key Lime Cake with frosting

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  12. Press the graham cracker crumbs around the base of the cake, about 1-inch high.

    Key Lime Cake with graham cracker crumbs

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  13. Pipe the whipped cream in a circle around the top of the cake.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  14. Garnish with key lime zest and key lime slices.

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  15. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

    Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Tip

Use extra caution when zesting key limes. They are much smaller than typical limes and it is important you keep your fingers safe from the sharp blades.