Key Lime Cake

Key Lime Cake

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
762 Calories
36g Fat
107g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 762
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 47%
Saturated Fat 15g 74%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 327mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 107g 39%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 85g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 14mg 69%
Calcium 101mg 8%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 167mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 both 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, divided

  • 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

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this homemade rock candy is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation.

Make the Cake and Frosting

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

    Key Lime Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    combine dry ingredients for 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 cooling

    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.

    powdered sugar, the Key lime juice, and the sweetened condensed milk

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Assemble

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

    frosten first layer of Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    put second layer on and frosten for Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    add graham cracker crumbs to bottom and sides of Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    pipe the whipped cream on top of Key Lime Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    Garnish Key Lime Cake with zest and slices

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. 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.