Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

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Rich, bright, and fluffy, my Easy Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting has a tangy lime flavor with decadent cream cheese frosting. It’s great for spring and summer special occasions!

Easy Key Lime Cake

This cake is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The cake layers or tender and moist and absolutely a must-make recipe for your next celebration… or no special occasion at all. This is a refreshing cake that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser and guilty pleasure.

If you can find key limes use them if not use regular limes.

Plated slice of three layer key lime cake with key lime cream cheese frosting.

Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Citrus makes me think of Spring. This cake makes a great springtime dessert. St Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day would be the ideal time to enjoy this cake.

One of my favorite things to do is take an extensive recipe and make it easier to prepare. (You know how impatient I am!) I would love to spend hours in the kitchen baking and decorating cakes, prepping and preparing beautiful meals. But, the truth is, I just don’t have that kind of time. My boys have activities and need help with homework and such. I did implement a chore system for them to follow this summer, but they still need supervision. Therefore, for now, it’s simple, easy, and quick dishes!! (Mostly)

Tips and Method

This recipe was inspired by Trisha Yearwood’s Key Lime Cake, but I made it easier! I started with a cake mix with additions that make it taste homemade. The Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting is completely from scratch.

cake mix and gelatin in a mixing bowl.

Cake mix and gelatin.

adding oil to citrus cake batter.

Pour the oil into the mixing bowl.

adding eggs to a stand mixer.

Then add the eggs and mix on high speed to combine.

batter for key lime cake in a stand mixer bowl.

I got excited and didn’t take pix of adding the orange juice, lime juice, and vanilla extract.

green cake batter in a disposable pan.

Pour the batter into the pan, then bake until the cake sets. You’ll know it’s baked when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.

green cake baked in an aluminum pan.

I was planning to give the key lime cake away, so I baked it in a disposable aluminum pan.

bowl of frosting

When I originally made this lime cake for my site, I made at in a 9×13-inch aluminum pan. I made it again for a celebration and made three 8-inch round layers. For both cakes, I topped them with a Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe given below)!

How to frost a layer cake

Tip #1: Begin by ensuring your cakes are level; if they’ve domed during baking, trim the tops with a serrated knife or a cake leveler. If they’ve caved, no need to level them; simply fill the cavity with frosting.

Place the first cake on a cake board or plate using a cake lifter, then place the plate on a cake turntable. Add approximately 1/2 cup of frosting. Use an angled spatula to spread it evenly.

Tip #2: Evenly measure the frosting for each layer. Spread the frosting evenly over each layer, pushing any excess towards the edges.

Continue stacking the layers, ensuring equal portions of frosting between them. If it’s the final layer, place it with the flat side up and add about 1/2 cup of frosting on top. Smooth it evenly, and then apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the sides.

Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes to set the crumb coat. Afterward, spread another 1/2 cup of frosting on top and frost the sides with a thick coat. Use a cake knife to smooth the sides, and then apply the same technique to smooth the top.

Tip #3: For easier smoothing, frost the cake with a thick layer of frosting. Following these steps will give you a clean canvas for your cake decorating endeavors.

If you like this Key Lime Cake you’ll like my Key Lime Coconut Marbled Pound Cake (pin it) and my Key Lime Pound Cake (pin it).

Plated slice of key lime cake with cream cheese frosting.

Easy Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Rich, bright, and fluffy, my Easy Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting has a tangy lime flavor with decadent cream cheese frosting.
Author: Paula
4.84 from 99 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


For the cake

  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 3 ounces lime gelatin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice freshly squeezed, or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • ½ cup butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 and ½ cups confectioners sugar sifted before measuring
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice freshly squeezed, or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 – 8 inch round cakes pans or 1 – 9×13 cake pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix and gelatin. Add 1 cup oil and ¾ cup orange juice and beat on low. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add lime juice and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes on med hi, scraping sides. 
  • Pour into cake pans. Bake 8 inch layers 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Bake 9×13 inch cake 27- 30 minutes. Cool completely before icing with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • *For the stacked layered cake, I used three 8 inch pans and cooked them for 27 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the Frosting

  • Beat 1/2 cup butter and 8 ounces cream cheese until smooth, add confectioners sugar with a mixer on low. Add lime juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Frost cake. 


Recipe from Paula All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission that includes copying the ingredient list or entire recipe and posting in the comments on Pinterest for Facebook. If you want to share this recipe, please simply link back to this post for the recipe.


Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 366mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 467IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    I have the recipe saved as my favorite. I’ve baked this cake at least 30 times or more and each time it is a hit.

    Thank you

  2. I tried to double the recipe and then do two 9×9 round because I feared it wouldn’t be enough. Man this is a dense cake. It’s good but dense. Will say that it took nearly 45 minutes to cook at 350°F and I’m not at high altitude, I’m in Texas. It is good though… I used vodka instead of vanilla extract and I added green food coloring because I wanted it to have visual impact. But it’s very heavy eggy and not really fluffy. This is for a work potluck so I’m hoping it will be okay tomorrow.

    1. Did you double then put all the batter in only 2 pans? They should have been divided into 4 pans. For baking recipes, it’s best to make 2 batches of the recipe instead of doubling it.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this recipe and it turned out great so I’ll follow up by baking one for my auntie.
    Really appreciate you publishing this it’s fantastic.

  4. Can you make this a lemon cake and if so would I use orange juice or some other juice?

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