Key Lime Pound Cake Recipe

Key lime pound cake

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Cooling TIme: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 bundt cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
432 Calories
20g Fat
60g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 254mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 39g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 84mg 2%
*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.)

Pound cake is a crowd-pleasing dessert. Buttery and vanilla-scented, it's delicious on its own or paired with berries and cream. This key lime pound cake recipe upgrades the classic with fresh juice and zest, giving it a bright, citrusy flavor with a nice tang. Sour cream makes it extra moist, and a simple glaze adds fresh lime flavor and a little pizazz.

The cake is easy to make—you'll just need a stand mixer or handheld mixer to properly cream the butter. Make sure you start with room temperature butter, eggs, and sour cream, and sift the dry ingredients for the best crumb. You can make this key lime pound cake in a Bundt pan or a tube pan as long as it is well greased and floured.

Key lime pie might be the go-to dessert for showcasing the tiny citrus fruit, but this lovely pound cake is equally up for the job. It's impressive enough for a bake sale, brunch, pot luck, or family dinner. For an extra-special treat, serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

“This cake is truly irresistible! It’s super-soft, moist (thanks to using sour cream), and full of flavor. I also love how the glaze adds some extra sweetness to balance the tangy lime juice. I recommend using butter flavored shortening to grease the pan. It works like a charm and adds more flavor to your cake!” —Bahareh Niati

Key Lime Pound Cake Recipe /Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Pound Cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, more for the pan

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2/3 cup sour cream, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup key lime juice, fresh or bottled

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice, fresh or bottled

  • Key lime zest or slices, for garnish, optional

  • Coconut flakes, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325F.

    Ingredients to make key lime pound cake

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Grease and flour a 10 cup Bundt pan, or a 9 to 10-inch tube pan.

    A greased and buttered bundt pan

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. To make the cake, add 1 cup butter and the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternatively, use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    Butter and sugar in the bowl of a standmixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the lime zest and vanilla, then beat again until well combined.

    Eggs, zest, and vanilla added to the stand mixer bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a separate bowl.

    A bowl of sifted dry ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated. Add the sour cream and beat to combine.

    Sour cream added to the cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the lime juice and beat until just combined.

    lime juice added to the cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. Put the cake batter in the prepared Bundt or tube pan, spreading the top level. Bake until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester or thin skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

    Baked cake in a bundt pan

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  9. Let the cake cool in the pan, about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

    A bundt cake cooling on a rack

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  10. To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the key lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. The glaze should be pourable. If the glaze is too thick, add 1 teaspoon at a time to reach the correct consistency.

    A bowl of key lime glaze

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  11. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, covering the top and letting it run down the sides a bit. Garnish with key lime zest or slices, and coconut flakes, if desired. Slice and serve.

    A glazed key lime pie pound cake, topped with lime zest and coconut

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  • To ensure your cake doesn't stick to the tube or Bundt pan, use a pastry brush to paint softened butter or shortening into every nook and cranny of the pan (don't forget the center cone!). Once you have a thin, consistent coating, dust the entire surface with flour, tapping out the excess. The entire interior should be the same powdery white—if it's not, you missed a few spots.
  • For a lighter, fluffier pound cake, separate the eggs. Beat the yolks into the butter mixture and proceed with the recipe as written. After assembling the batter, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the whites into the batter, then bake.
  • The best way to test a pound cake for doneness is to use a cake tester or a thin wooden skewer. Start checking the cake 5 to 10 minutes before the called-for bake time, sticking the tester, straight up and down, into the center of one side of the Bundt cake all the way to the bottom. Pull it straight up and out. If there is any wet batter clinging to it, bake the cake for 5 more minutes and test again. Once the tester emerges clean or with just one or two small crumbs attached, the cake is done.

Recipe Variations

  • To make this key lime pound cake more decorative, sprinkle coconut flakes or graham cracker crumbs onto the wet glaze. Or arrange a few fresh key lime slices on top.
  • While key limes are preferred for the best flavor, this pound cake also tastes excellent with regular lime juice and zest or even lemons.
  • For a more decadent experience, swap the glaze for cream cheese frosting. Spread over the top in a thick layer.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store any leftover key lime pound cake in an airtight container or tightly wrapped at room temperature. It will last for about four days.
  • You can also freeze it—just leave off the glaze. Tightly wrap sections or pieces of cake in plastic wrap, then wrap again in aluminum foil or place in a zip-top bag. Freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge or on the counter before serving.

What’s the Difference Between Key Lime and Lime?

Key limes are a type of citrus fruit that are smaller, rounder, and tarter than standard grocery store limes (Persian limes). They have a thinner rind and a distinctly zesty, tart flavor. Key limes are closely associated with Key West, Florida, and are frequently used to make key lime pie.

What's the Difference Between Pound Cake and Bundt Cake?

Bundt cakes are cakes that are baked inside of a Bundt pan, a circular pan with a hole in the center. Pound cakes can be baked in a Bundt pan or in loaf pans. Some pound cakes are Bundt cakes, but not all—it all depends on what kind of pan they are baked in.

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