The College Housewife » Recipes » Key Lime Cake

Key Lime Cake

This easy key lime cake from scratch is fluffy, moist, and full of fresh key lime flavor! This sheet-pan cake is topped with a zesty lime citrus glaze and cream cheese lime frosting. Each bite will make your lips puckering for more.

Try this zesty summer dessert this season!

Sheet pan key lime cake on a marble pastry board topped with frosting and lime wheels.

There is something about a tarty key lime cake that makes for the most perfect, refreshing dessert. I grew up on family members bringing key lime pies to BBQs and summer get-togethers.

This key lime cake embodies all of the fresh flavors from key lime pie, made into a fluffy, moist cake. 

Why this key lime cake is SO GOOD!

  • This cake is super easy! I like making it into one sheet pan. That way I don’t have to fuss with frosting any layers and the top is ultra-rich with a thick layer of zesty lime cream cheese buttercream.
  • The key lime glaze really steps up the flavor! Before you frost the cake, layer on an even layer of key lime glaze. This will soak into the sponge cake and make each bite super flavorful and moist, just like a bakery!
  • Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting. I could eat this by the spoonful, it’s that good. Made with a combo of cream cheese and butter and just enough key lime juice to make your lips pucker in the best way!

Key limes in a pink bowl.Ingredients for key lime cake.

Ingredients for Key Lime Cake:

  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • flour
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • key lime zest
  • key lime juice
  • powdered sugar

Step by step process on how to make key lime cake batter.

How do you make Key Lime Cake from scratch?

  1. Juice your key limes! You’re going to need a total of about 3/4 cup of juice or 10 tablespoons. 
  2. Beat your cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract beat for an additional few minutes until pale and fluffy. This will make your cake nice and fluffy!
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. 
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda until it’s just incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, add in the key lime zest and key lime juice until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl. 
  6. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes and let cool until room temp. 

Step by step process on how to put a key lime cake together.

  1. Trim the sides of the cake and poke the top with a fork all around.
  2. Brush on the lime glaze to the top of the cake.
  3. Frost the top with an even layer of the key lime frosting and top with fresh key lime wheels for garnish.

Key lime cake cut into six servings.

Are key limes sweeter than regular limes?

No way! In fact, I think key limes are even tart-ier. They hold way more acid than a regular lime due to their smaller size. They also boast way more citrus scents than regular limes. 

How many Key Limes equals a regular lime?

It takes about 5 key limes to equal the juice of a regular lime. 

Can I use regular limes?

Yessss! Of course, you can. The tartiness might be a little weaker but you can totally use regular lime juice if key limes are out of season. 

Key Lime Cake Frosting 

The key lime cake frosting is probably my favorite part of the cake. This cream cheese frosting is super creamy with half butter and half cream cheese and the perfect balance of tarty and sweet with fresh key lime juice and powdered sugar. 

A piece of key lime cake served on a small pink plate with a gold fork.

Other Citrus Desserts to try: 

If you make this Key Lime Cake be sure to give it a 5-Star Review and tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community.

Print
A rectangle sheet pan key lime cake with frosting and key lime wheels.

Key Lime Cake

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10-12 slices 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy key lime cake from scratch is fluffy, moist, and full of fresh key lime flavor! This sheet-pan cake is topped with a zesty lime citrus glaze and cream cheese lime frosting. Each bite will make your lips puckering for more.

Try this zesty summer dessert this season!


Scale

Ingredients

For cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

4 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp freshly grated key lime zest

3 tbsp key lime juice

For glaze:

3 tbsp key lime juice

3 tbsp sugar

For Icing:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp

4 oz cream cheese, at room temp

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp fresh key lime juice

Lime slices


Instructions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease or spray with non-stick spray a 13×9 cake tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add butter and cream cheese and beat for 2-3 minutes on high. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs, one at a time on medium speed, mixing after each addition.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda until it’s just incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, add in the key lime zest and key lime juice until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Add cake batter to the greased cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  7. Cool cake for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling for at least another 30-45 minutes. 

For the glaze:

  1. In a small saucepan combine lime juice and sugar over medium heat. Heat mixture until all the sugar has been dissolved.
  2. Trim the edges of the cake and poke evenly with a fork. Brush the cooled glaze all over the cake top. 

For the frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and the cream cheese. Beat on high until fluffy and cream (3-4 minutes).
  2. Slowly add in in the powdered sugar on low in three increments, scraping down the sides after each increment.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract, and key lime juice until combined.
  4. Frost the top of the cake with a thick, even layer of frosting and garnish with lime wheels.

Notes

Key Limes: Key limes get significantly less juice squeezed out of them than regular limes, so you’ll need quite a bit. If you can’t find key limes you can certainly use regular freshly squeezed lime juice. 

Keywords: bake, key lime, dessert

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