Key Lime Cake with Cream Cheese Lime Icing

Talk about a cake with some zing! This Key Lime Cake has all kinds of fresh tangy flavors—it feels like a party in your mouth!

One “key” to this fabulous key lime cake is to use fresh key limes. Another is to spread some of the zesty Cream Cheese Lime Icing between the layers and on the outside to send it over the top!

It’s perfect for birthdays and all kinds of other celebrations. The fresh, fruity flavors make it perfect for serving outdoors.

3 layers of green key lime cake with key lime icing with limes around the sides on a white cake stand outside on a table

Birthdays are always a really big deal in our home. We enjoy a week of fun with the birthday girl or boy picking out all the meals. Though we do have two kids with the same birthday (they love it, by the way), a birthday gives us an opportunity to throw a special celebration for one child.

Key Lime Birthday Cake

From the time they could talk, the kids were in charge of how we spent their birthday (within reason). That’s everything from the venue to what we ate, including the cake or dessert. Interestingly enough, the kids have rarely elected to have a huge birthday party. They usually settle for long hikes on our land with family and a nice birthday meal we can all enjoy together. I’ve been very thankful for that.

I like to enjoy their special day as much as they do, so it gives me a chance truly cherish the moment with my birthday child without having to be “in charge” of a production. Of course, we will do the “big” birthday thing every once in a while, but for the most part, we just enjoy each other and great food.

Milly eating key lime cake in a chair under the trees
My daughter Emilia (we call her Milly) enjoying a slice of her Key Lime Birthday Cake

This year, Emelia, my youngest, chose to go out on our land and ride 4-wheelers after a great meal of homemade hamburgers and twice fried fries! If you’re following my Facebook live broadcasts each Sunday, you know we don’t have water at our new property yet, so it was little more difficult, but it actually turned out quite nicely. We ate in the barn on picnic tables and enjoyed each having each other around! After that, we rode the ATVs and ate cake under the Hackberry trees behind the little cabin on the property.

Key lime pie with ATV riding in the background

A Cake for Any Occasion

I had never had a Lime Cake until my mother-in-law brought one over. Wow, was it fabulous! Using a lime jello packet gives this cake its zing, along with the fresh limes of course. It’s a relatively easy cake, and you won’t have leftovers! My mom doesn’t like cake, but she definitely loved this one. It’s tart with just enough sweetness to make this the perfect cake for just about any occasion.

Come to think of it, I think I’ll make it for St. Patrick’s Day next year.

Well, now I’m starting to realize that my kids are growing up way too fast! I’m trying to soak it all in.

key lime cake - one of my favorite Easter desserts

Key Lime Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

With its fresh, fruity flavors, this Key Lime Cake is perfect for serving outdoors.
5 from 2 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


Key Lime Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3-ounce package lime flavored gelatin
  • 5 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (about 2-3 key limes or 4 regular limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Lime Icing

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest


For the Key Lime Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and gelatin, and mix well.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix the eggs, oil, orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  • Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Lime Icing

  • In a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese. Add confectioner’s sugar, lime juice, vanilla, and food coloring, and mix until the icing is smooth and easy to spread. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with the lime zest.
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    1. Thank you so much!! I do love it for that reason.

  1. Hello, could I use butter instead of vegetable oil?

    1. Hi Cathy. You can use butter instead of oil but your cake may not be as moist. I do think it will work though. Let me know!

  2. Sonya Hollins says:

    5 stars
    delicious! I had tried this cake once before at my cousins house. Her mother in law had made it and dropped it by. That was around 20 years ago! I had never forgot the perfect citrus taste on a hot summer day! I had periodically searched for the recipe and had tried many, but when I ran across THIS recipe I knew I certainly had the right one finally!!! Thank you! my cake turned out well although I dropped the temp to 325 for dark nonstick cake pans that I have, I noticed they were browning too quickly at 350, otherwise perfect!

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