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Best Key Lime Cake Recipe For A Zesty Summer Treat

Sep 01, 2023 By Fabian Forte

Key Lime Cake is a delightful summertime dessert with a refreshing citrus flavor. This Florida favorite gets its signature tangy taste from key lime juice, which packs a more potent punch than regular Persian limes.

Key Lime Cake is perfect for summer entertaining or anytime you need a refreshing, vibrant dessert.

Here, we will discuss the whole lime cake recipe that produces a light yet rich, creamy lime-infused cake layered with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Continue reading to discover the recipe.

Ingredients Needed

  • All-purpose flour - forms the structure of the cake
  • Granulated sugar - sweetens the cake
  • Baking powder and baking soda - help the cake rise
  • Salt - enhances the flavors
  • Eggs - bind the ingredients together
  • Vegetable oil - adds moisture to the crumb
  • Key lime juice - provides a bright, tart citrus flavor
  • Sour cream - keeps the cake tender and moist
  • Butter - gives richness to the frosting
  • Cream cheese - gives tang and body to the frosting
  • Vanilla - rounds out the flavors
  • Lime zest - fresh garnish with lime essence
  • Use freshly squeezed key lime juice, if available, for the best lime flavor. Bottle key lime juice can be substituted.

Step-By-Step Key Lime Cake Recipe

Step 1: Preheat The Oven And Prepare The Cake Pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. This will help the cake seamlessly release from the pan after baking.

Step 2: Whisk Dry Ingredients

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. These dry ingredients will give the cake structure and help it rise properly in the oven.

Step 3: Whisk Wet Ingredients

In any large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, whisk the eggs individually, followed by the key lime juice and zest. The lime juice gives a tangy flavor, while the zest provides a lime aroma.

Step 4: Fold In Dry Ingredients

Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients. Gently fold together using a spatula just until combined. It's important not to overmix, as this would make the cake tough.

Step 5: Bake The Cake

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. This tests doneness.

Step 6: Cool And Frost Cake

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before frosting. Once cool, spread the desired frosting over the cake. Lime curd or cream cheese frosting are delicious options.

Fluffy Key Lime Frosting

Step 1: Soften Cream Cheese And Butter

Allow an 8oz block of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of butter to come to room temperature. This allows them to blend smoothly.

Step 2: Beat Cream Cheese And Butter

In a large bowl, using any stand or hand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until completely creamy and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Add Lime Juice And Zest

Add in 2 tablespoons of key lime juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest. The lime juice will provide a bright, tangy flavor, while the zest gives it a fresh lime aroma.

Step 4: Mix In Powdered Sugar

With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth. Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin.

Step 5: Whip On High Speed

Increase mixer speed to high and whip frosting for 1 minute. This aerates the frosting, making it light and fluffy in texture.

Step 6: Frost Cake And Garnish

Frost the top and sides of the cooled key lime cake with the frosting. Garnish with lime slices or extra lime zest. Refrigerate the frosted cake before serving.

Decorating And Garnishing The Key Lime Cake

For the perfect finishing touch, decorate the frosted cake with rosettes or dollops of sweetened whipped cream.

Grate fresh lime zest over the whipped cream to highlight the bright citrus essence. Other pretty garnishes are lime slices or lime wheels placed around the top.

Storing The Lime Cake

Proper storage is important for maintaining this cake's optimal texture and flavor. Store the finished, frosted Key Lime Cake in the refrigerator. The cold environment helps lock in moisture and freshness. Tightly wrap leftover cake, which will keep well refrigerated for 5-7 days.

Serving The Cake

Allow the decorated whole lime cake to chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. This gives time for the whipped cream and cake layers to set up. When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to neatly cut the cake into wedges. Leftover cake stays fresh for 3-4 days if kept at room temperature.

Serving Suggestions

Fresh berries make a lovely accompaniment to the vibrant Key Lime Cake. The sweet-tart flavor of raspberries or blueberries balances the lime beautifully. Scatter some berries over individual cake slices for a pop of color and flavor contrast.

For added texture, toast some coconut flakes in the oven or stovetop until lightly browned. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on the frosted cake or press it along the sides. The coconut provides a nutty crunch that works well with the citrus cake.

Garnishing the cake with lime slices or wedges ties in the key lime theme. Place lime garnishes between berries or along the outer edge of the cake for decoration. The bright green rind makes for an attractive presentation.

Tips For Better Results

Here are some tips to achieve the best from the key lime cake recipe.

  • Use fresh key lime juice, if possible, for the most authentic, bright flavor. Bottled juice can be substituted if fresh is unavailable.
  • Make sure to zest the limes before juicing to get the aromatic oils from the lime rind.
  • When mixing the batter, avoid over-mixing, which can cause the cake to be dense or tough. Gently fold wet and dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Grease cake pans and dust with flour to prevent sticking. Parchment paper liners also work well.
  • Check for doneness early to prevent overbaking. The cake is made when a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.

Final Words

Transport your tastebuds to the Florida Keys with this delightful Key Lime Cake recipe. Each soft, tender layer mingles with creamy lime-infused frosting for an irresistible citrus delight.

Follow the simple instructions to make it at your home. This Key Lime Cake recipe produces a beautiful bakery-style dessert with vibrant lime essence in every bite.

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