Key Lime Cake Recipe

Key Lime Cake Recipe

What’s tart, sweet, and delectably refreshing? Key lime cake, that’s what! I have SO many go-to lime cake recipes whenever my craving hits. But right now, I’m drooling over this simple yet elegant dessert. Just the sight of it — all rich, fluffy, and crowned with whipped topping — will have you salivating already, believe me. Who can resist such a zesty treat, right? It’s the next best thing to a tropical paradise. Yup, this key lime cake is THAT good! And I’m more than glad to share with you my own take on this fruity dessert.

Professional baker or not, you can make key lime cake from scratch without a hitch! It’s incredibly easy and it only took me one hour to put everything together. It helps that my easy key lime cake recipe only calls for a short list of ingredients, too.

I prefer using a vanilla cake mix because, well, it’s quicker. If you want to intensify the citrusy flavor, make your key lime cake with lemon cake mix or key lime cake mix. To that you add your lime juice, lime zest, sour cream, oil, and eggs. Others even incorporate lemon or lime jello for the flavor, but I decided to make my version without gelatin.

I can confidently say that this is the best key lime cake recipe from scratch you’ll ever find. For one thing, I incorporated the lime flavor in three different components. I mixed freshly-squeezed lime juice and lime zest into the batter. I even covered the top of my cake with homemade lime syrup!. For the final touch, I topped my homemade key lime cake with whipped topping and slivers of lime zest.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile, blanket the top of your zesty cake with cream cheese frosting or with key lime frosting. Give it a little more pizzazz with sliced almonds, lime wedges, or graham crackers. All in all, it’s one of my favorite key lime desserts recipes, along with key lime pie cake and key lime pound cake!

How To Make Key Lime Cake Recipe

Bursting with fresh lime flavor, this super easy key lime cake is the perfect cake dessert. Top it with whipped cream (or any of your favorite cake toppings), slice, and serve!
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr



For Key Lime Cake:

  • 1 box cake mix, (vanilla, yellow, or white)
  • 3 eggs, large
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup oil
  • ⅓ cup lime juice, freshly-squeezed
  • 2 tbsp lime zest

For Lime Syrup:

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp sugar

For Toppings:

  • 2 cups whipped topping, (or whipped cream)
  • 2 tbsp lime zest
  • 3 tbsp almonds, sliced, optional


Key Lime Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 degrees F if using a glass pan).
  2. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, lime juice, and lime zest.
  4. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Then, bake for 27 to 32 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The cake should not wobble in the middle if you give the pan a gentle nudge.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.

Lime Syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the lime juice and sugar. Cook over low heat while gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Take a small pastry brush or a spoon and drizzle the syrup over the top of your cake.


  1. Spread the whipped topping over top of the cooled cake. Then, sprinkle with lime zest and sliced almonds.
  2. Cut into slices and serve!

Recipe Notes

  1. Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of your key lime cake.
  2. Let the wet ingredients sit at room temperature first for a few minutes before combining with the rest of the ingredients so the cake batter is easier to mix.
  3. For storage, place the cake in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
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