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Key Lime Cake

5 from 5 votes

posted: 04/30/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Key Lime Cake is a delicious layer cake with the perfect taste of key lime. If a key lime pie and a cake had a baby it would taste like this amazing cake recipe.

a piece of key lime cake on a small plate

A few years ago we were fortunate to be on a cruise that made a stop in Key West. And I ate everything key lime that I could get my hands on. I’ve been a lover of Key Lime pie and Key Lime Martinis forever!

Now, you can have the delicious taste of key lime, in cake form! This great Key Lime Cake recipe has the perfect taste of key lime in each moist cake layer plus in it’s amazing homemade frosting.

How to Make Key Lime Cake

  1. Sift the dry ingredients. This is an important step, please do not skip it. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.
  2. Beat the eggs. In either a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and then add in the oil and evaporated milk.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in the lime juice and lime zest.
  5. Evenly divide the batter to three cake pans. Now bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
close up of a white cake that is covered in lime zest

Sifting the Dry Ingredients

As mentioned above, sifting the dry ingredients is really important. Do not skip this step. I do my sifting with a mesh metal strainer. In this recipe, the sifting of the dry ingredients makes the cake much lighter and fluffier.

Cake Flour

Cake flour is lower in protein than all purpose flour and more finely ground. Because of this, it behaves differently than all purpose in baking recipes and you cannot swap one for the other.

While you will get the best results following the recipe and using cake flour, if you truly cannot find any, you can remove 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour from the 3 cups and replace it with 6 tablespoons of corn starch.

a whole key lime cake recipe on a cake stand with a piece missing

Frosting Key Lime Cake

The Key Lime Frosting used in this cake is made using a combination of vegetable shortening and room temperature butter. We then add in powdered sugar, and key lime juice. The end result is a delicious frosting that has the perfect taste of key lime while also being ideal for piping.

If you are looking for the best tutorial on frosting cakes, look no further than my friend Lindsay from Life, Love, and Sugar. She is a master cake maker, and her tutorial on How to Frost a Cake has been a life saver for me. This frosting recipe makes enough to follow Lindsay’s instructions.

side view of a piece of homemade key lime cake


This cake can be stored at room temperature. Cover any exposed areas of the cake with plastic wrap. This cake is best enjoyed within 4 days of making it.


To freeze left overs cut the cake into individual pieces. Freeze the pieces on a tray covered in wax or parchment paper for two hours. Then transfer the cake to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months.


Where can I find key lime juice?

Key lime juice can be found with the lemon and lime juice in your grocery store. If you can’t find it in your store, it can be purchased on Amazon.

What’s key lime juice?

Key lime juice is literally the juice of key limes.

What is the difference between key lime and lime?

Both key limes and limes are citrus fruits, but they do have a different taste to them. Key limes are much smaller than regular limes and have a thinner skin. Though they have a difference in taste, when baked into desserts the difference is very subtle.

Do I have to use cake flour?

Yes, this recipe won’t work with all purpose flour. In a pinch, you can make your own cake flour by removing 2 tablespoons of flour for every 1 cup and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. In this recipe, you would need to remove six tablespoons of flour and replace it with 6 tablespoons of corn starch.

front on picture of a piece of key lime cake on a white plate standing up

Other Delicious Cakes

I hope you love this Key Lime Cake recipe! If you make it please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

a piece of key lime cake on a small plate
5 from 5 votes

Key Lime Cake

Serves: 10 pieces
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Key Lime Cake is a delicious layer cake with the perfect taste of key lime. If a key lime pie and a cake had a baby it would taste like this amazing cake recipe.


Key Lime Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

Key Lime Frosting

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons key lime juice


Key Lime Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9 inch cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing the sides of the pan with butter.
  • In a large bowl, sift the cake flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside. Do not skip this step.
  • In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg. Then add in the oil and then the evaporated milk.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat together on medium speed, for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the lime juice and zest so that the zest is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the three cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 2 minutes before removing them from the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Key Lime Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the shortening and butter. Add in the powdered sugar, salt, and key lime juice and beat until light and fluffy.
  • To frost add 1/4 cup of frosting and spread it evenly over the top. Add the second cake and frost with another 1/4 cup of frosting. Top with the remaining cake and then frost the top and sides with a thin crum coat. Once the crumb coat has set frost the cake with the remaining frosting. There will be excess frosting if you wish to pipe decorations onto the tops or sides. Top with more lime zest for decoration.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
a piece of key lime cake on a small plate

did you make this

Key Lime Cake

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Nicole Krause says

    Can this be made in a 9X13 pan?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that, but I am sure it would work. You would just need to lengthen the baking time and watch it closely.

  2. Renda J Caraway says

    can this be made in a Bundt pan?

    • Lisa Longley says

      In my experience, cakes can’t easily be transformed into bundt cakes unless they were developed for it. I would have to play with this to know the size of the pan and the time it would take to bake.

  3. Karen says

    Prefer not to use shortening . Can is use all butter instead of the shortening?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes, an all butter frosting will be fine.

  4. Carl Pirro says

    Key lime cake sounds yummy, Lisa, many thanks for the recipe.

  5. Jodi says

    Recipe calls for baking soda but it’s not listed in the instructions

    • Lisa Longley says

      You are right! Thank you for pointing this out. I updated the recipe to reflect that it is used in step 2.

  6. Krista Holland says

    I made 2 of these for friends and followed the directions exactly. One said the cake was dry & almost hard, like it was stale. When I mentioned it to my other friend she said, well I didn’t want to say anything but it was dry. Would added sour cream make it more moist? The icing is fabulous!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Krista! If I had to guess, I would say that it is possible that the cake was baked too long. This recipe went through a lot of rigorous testing, so I feel confident in it, and I wouldn’t recommend tweaking the ingredients.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners