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!
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.
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.
Pour the oil into the mixing bowl.
Then add the eggs and mix on high speed to combine.
I got excited and didn’t take pix of adding the orange juice, lime juice, and vanilla extract.
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.
I was planning to give the key lime cake away, so I baked it in a disposable aluminum pan.
When I originally made this lime cake for my site, I made at in a 9×13-inch aluminum pan.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)!
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).
Easy Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
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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.
I look so forward to making this cake! Does the key lime juice cause the frosting to separate any? I am just wondering how the acid affects it. Thanks.
I didn’t have any trouble with it separating
Thank you so much!
I can’t have orange juice. Is it possible to replace the orange juice with lemon juice or lemonade?
Yes, you can.
We call this our Grinch cake and serve it on a red pedestal cake stand at Christmas. Everyone loves it
Linda Zucker says
I made I’m a Bundt pan and bakes for 35-40 minutes. Only used about half the icing in a pastry tube (ziploc bag works, too!) to frost. Dwlicious!
I’m working up a hybrid of this that is lighter on the dairy and adapted to my cake truffles recipe. I’m so excited to see one for key lime!! I will save this and re-post when I get to make them for my son who loves key lime pie. Thank you for creative baking tips!!
Mary Sanderson says
I made this again yesterday during hurricane Ian! This is so easy to make. I used a can of cream cheese frosting because I didn’t want to go out. I put some vanilla and key lime juice in it. It was runny but okay. I won’t do that again! It is so good. Next time I’m using yellow cake, just because I love yellow cake. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
I’m so happy you like it. If you want to bump up the flavor of canned frosting like that again, you can add a little powdered sugar to thicken it.
Betty blount says
How long can you refrigerate.
In an airtight container, 7 days.
Hello, may you please advise about frosting?. Cake come out perfect, frosting or not thick enough, I use a whole stick of blue bonnet margarine, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and one box of confectioner sugar, 8 oz of cream cheese. I refrigerate and it still not thick enough.
You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it.
It’s soooo good. I have to make double batches
Joan Nelson says
I loved this recipe and so did every one else! If I use a gluten free cake mix will this recipe work?
Hi Joan, yes, it should work with gluten-free cake mix.
Amy M says
A perfect easy, delicious and fun bright color cake to make in key lime season in Florida 💚🏖
This is such a great dessert! Thanks for sharing.
Shelby Stover says
This color is so awesome, kiddos thought it was great and I loved the subtle flavor!
Highly recommended! This tasted so amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing this super easy to make recipe! Fam really loves it! Will surely have this again!
Allison Gardner says
My husband and I tried this cake , in which a family friend prepared for my father’s repass and I’ve been baking it every since
What size cake mix is used in your recipe? I only see 15.25
Lisa Tucker says
My cake did not rise very much. Is this normal?
It should rise the same as any cake. How did it turn out and taste?
I made this and it came out perfect first time. I read some comments and got some tips on how to adjust to a 16.5 oz. cake mix, as I couldn’t find an 18 oz one. This has such a strong lime tartness we love it. I doubled the frosting recipe the second time around so I didn’t have to skimp on it. This is so delicious, my family requests it now.
My daughter and I made this cake for the fist time yesterday for Easter!!!! It was absolutely delicious!!!!! The cream cheese icing was the best too!!!! I was wondering instead of 1/13 oil could I do half oil and half butter???? Or just lest oil and more another liquid???? Mentally I have a thing with all that oil…
I used, oil, D Cake lemon or lime box flour, lime jello, orange juice. Can I substitute the oil??
If not again this cake is awesome!!!!!😄😃😀
You can do half oil and half butter. Or, if you want to reduce the fat overall you can use half oil and half applesauce. The cooking time should be the same using applesauce, but watch it the first time. Fat makes it moist so with less you def don’t want to overcook it. I’m happy you enjoyed it!
How big should the cake box be? Recipe does not specify and I have read comments about 2 different box sizes. I have the 15.25 oz size, I want to know if the amounts in this recipe are for the 15.25 cake box. If they are not what are the adjustments?
It’s for 15.25 ounce cake mix
This cake was Excellent! We loved that it actually tasted like a lime cake. I made it as a Bundt cake and baked it for 36 minutes. I didn’t use the amount recommended of confectioners sugar as it would have been too sweet but the frosting was wonderful. This recipe is a keeper.
If you bake the cake the day before, do you need to refrigerate overnight because of the fresh lime juice?
I would. I almost always make and refrigerate layer cakes the day before. Cold cakes are much easier to frost. (in my opinion)
ABSOLUTELY delicious and moist my guess rave about it the entire evening😊
I’m wondering if I can just use a butter cream icing in place of the cream cheese icing and add the lime juice for flavoring? Has anyone tried this?
I think that would be great!
Does the cake it’s self have a key lime flavor?
It has a faint lime flavor.
I am making this Key Lime cake for the 3rd time since Christmas. So delicious and so easy!!!
Hey do you follow the recipe to a T? I need to make a key lime cake..First time I will ever be doing so. Thank you.
Yes follow to the T and it will be delicious
Kay Russell says
Hello, What size cake mix? I’m only finding 15.25😊 Thanks
Darlene Peacock says
firstname.lastname@example.org could you please send me the recipe for the key lime cake
I made this beautiful cake for my daughter in laws birthday. It was such a hit. Everyone was asking for the recipe. Its a real keeper!
Kellie Courtney says
HI! This turned out really well for me. I just wanted to let you know that the print version of your recipe doesn’t have the cream cheese in the instructions for the frosting.
Thank you to alerting me to that!
Can make cupcakes instead of the cake
I want to bake this key lime cake in a half sheet sheet pan for my son’s birthday. I’m going to double the recepie. How long do I bake it?
I was wondering if I should adjust the liquid amounts since cake mixes aren’t 18.25 ounces anymore, they are around 15. I’ve made it before with great results, but it seems to sink now. Thoughts?
My local Walmart has had the larger size cake mixes again, but def lower liquid amounts if the box is 15.25 oz.
You can add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar to the mix and that with make it hold the liquids called for.
I put 1 and 1/3 cup of oil. I use Lemon cake mix and I don’t put the lime juice in the cake because you use the lime jello. I also put pecans in my icing.
Just wondering the orange juice in the recipe, is it talking bout freshly squeezed orange juice or bottled orange juice? thanks
I used bottled orange juice, like Simply Orange brand.
Dianna Reid says
Hi Paula. Just wondering why orange juice rather than lime, or even lemon? Do you taste the orange flavour? Can’t wait to try this as I love all things lime! Thank you fir sharing your recipe. It looks amazing!
You can’t taste the orange juice it just brightens it. Lemon and lime were too tart, I tested with all 3 diff flavors.
Vicki Georgieanna says
Love this cake! I had watched a cooking program on the Food Channel that had 2 guys on it, that were, of all things….Pizza makers with several Pizza restaurants that they own in New York and California! They were in Florida just for a Key Lime Cake recipe! Well, I’m horrible at “scratch” cakes, so when I saw the recipe these guys had on their show…it was way to complicated for me, but it just looked so delicious to say the least!!!
I thought there has to be a simpler way to make this cake and I searched the good ‘old Internet and found this one! OMG!!! I made this heavenly cake and wonder of wonders, my husband “actually” loved it! In fact, he said it was not only the best cake I had ever made, he loved the taste and here’s the biggie….he’s asked me to make it again and again! You could have knocked me over with a feather! He’s never commented me on my cakes let alone asked for a repeat performance!!!! Especially since he really doesn’t care for Lime flavor!!!
I’ve made this 4 times since I found this recipe since 2016. But out if necessity I had to change it a tiny little bit…. I ran out of Orange Juice and used 1/2 cup of the OJ with 1/4 cup of Key Lime Juice! It was great! I found this great Key Lime Juice….right next to the Real Lime & Lemon Juice in the grocery! It’s called, ” Nellie and Joes Famous Key Lime Juice”! It’s a little pricey but so well worth it! I also use thus Juice in any recipe that calls for Lime or Lemon Juice! It’s not to tart and not to sweet! (It’s also great in a Corona beer too) So! To make me long story short….this is my families most favorite cake recipe and my friends love it too, any ime of the year!!!!
Vicki, you have just made my day!! Thank you so much for telling me your story. I am so happy you like the cake. I enjoy baking but sometimes I just want an simple recipe too.
I accidentally picked up yellow cake mix instead of white cake mix. Does it matter?
It will taste the same, the color may be a little different but it’ll still be good
I made this cake ,it was so good,I couldn’t stop eating and the frosting is so good,it makes me think I can really bake,it,s addictive.Thanks for that great “made easy” recipe.I,ll try the strawberry cake next ,but for now I’m hooked on keylime.
Lauren Ebner says
Just made this for a St. Patrick’s Day get together. It was a huge hit! It is a delicious cake. I used fresh lime juice in the icing it’s amazing. Thanks!
I made this for my sisters birthday and it turned out so goooood! But I made it all from scratch since I didn’t have a cake mix on hand. I combined a white cake with this one and luckily it turned out so yummy and moist 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!
My husband and I love key Lime pie. When I saw this for cake. I told him. We both agreed to make and try for Thanksgiving. Very very yummie! Can’t wait to make it for family when we return home.
Julie S says
I have this cake in the oven now. Smells wonderful, however two 8 inch round pans are taking much longer than the 25 minutes it says. Make sure you allow more baking time.
Definitely if u just used 2 – 8 inch pans it will take longer. I used 3 -8 inch pans.
DELICIOUS!!!!! What I also did in effort to lighten it up, I used 2 small sugar free lime gelatin boxes and instead of cream cheese frosting I put on a dollop of SF Cool Whip!!!! Light and refreshing !!!! Thanks for the recipie!
Very good! May add a touch more of lime to the icing but it is very yum just like it is!!! Thanks 🙂
Me and the kids tried baking this cake. The icing came out great but the cake not so great.. I greased my 9 by 13 baking aluminum cake pan, but I ended up burning the cake, I don’t know what happened 🙁
Awe, I’m so sorry. Have you calibrated your oven. A lot of time the oven temp can be way off from what it’s set at, this sounds like what may have happened. You can get an oven thermometer from Walmart and test it. set the oven to 350 and when the oven says it’s at that temp check to see what the thermometer says, the themometer will be correct.
Thanks I will defiantly purchase one and retry.
I cant get the lime gelatine here, in my country.
Is there any subtitute for this?
I don’t know of a substitute, it’s the made ingredient that gives it the lime flavor
Rebecca - FoodFlav says
Yummo! Thanks for the recipe.
Jeanette Whitfield says
This cake is so deliciously moist! I have added 7-Up instead of orange juice. When I make the icing, I squeeze the limes to get extra pulp in there. It gives it an added tangy-ness! One of our favorite cakes!
Just finished making this, whipped up super fast, tastes heavenly! Used juice of one orange mixed with fresh lime juice to make up the 3/4 cup of orange juice called for. Also added lime zest to the frosting. Thanks for sharing, going in the ‘keeper’ file!
Awesome! I’m so glad you like it and I love your changes!
Cynthia Morgan says
A couple of things. I use 9 inch pans and my cakes sink in the middle. How can I adjust the recipe for this size pan? Please help. Thanking you in advance.
It sounds like they weren’t cooked long enough. First calibrate your oven to make sure it’s cooking at the temperature it’s reading/set to. Or get a cake thermometer like this > https://amzn.to/3dVV6QU. It should read 210 when the cake is done. test the center of the cake and don’t touch the pan itself
Emily Walsh says
This cake tastes amazing!
I made this cake for my dad’s birthday and everyone in my family loved it.
I would suggest making this.
Thank you so much for letting me know Emily!!! I’m so glad your family loved it!
I’d like to make key lime cake pops. The only coating I can find is vanilla to dip the cake in. Any ideas to enhance the cake lime flavor without using the frosting? Thank you!
You could add lime extract to white melting chocolate> https://amzn.to/2VBGfFn and/or sprinkle lemon ‘powder’ on top of the coating https://amzn.to/2UInBva
This is a good article on adding flavoring to chocolate https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-flavor-chocolate-521578
Carrie Groneman says
Stopping by from Cast Party and these looks so yummy!
Dawn Vessels says
I’ve made this twice. Once with your frosting (delicious) and once with just a whipped fluffy white frosting. Both ways are yummy! Thanks for a great recipe, I’ve shared it with so many!
@ A Place for Pictures and Memories
The Better Baker says
This looks and sounds sooo appealing! Thanks so much for sharing at Weekend Potluck. Love your awesome recipes.
Thank you so much, I truly love to bake. Wish my family could live off desserts! 🙂
I like to add milk to make cake mixes for extra moisture. Do you think I could use milk instead of the orange juice?I’m looking so forward to trying this as lime is one of my favourite flavours!
Milk would prob be ok, but it won’t have as strong citrus flavor using the milk.
I LOVE anything key lime! This cake would make a great St. Pat’s cake too. So fun! BTW, I host a link party every Wednesday night and would love if you stopped by sometime. Have a great rest of the week!
Thanks so much, Ginger, for stopping by and the invitation. I’ll put your party on my list!
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above says
This looks delicious.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
Thank you! I really like it.
I adore key lime, Paula….it reminds me of my honeymoon! This cake looks incredible and I love your photos of it. Thanks so much for sharing at Saturday Night Fever!!
i love the color. this is great for st. patty’s day. i also love lime!
I thought it would be a fun St Patty’s day dessert too! I love lemon and lime desserts, makes me think of Spring.
Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama says
This cake is gorgeous, Paula! 🙂 LOVE the updated photos! I am willing warmer weather to get here fast with this cake!
Dear Paula, This sounds wonderful. I love Key Lime Pie, so I know I would enjoy this cake. Blessings, Catherine
Thank you,Catherine. It’s really good, I like anything with cream cheese frosting! 🙂 I actually like this cake better than a pie. Thanks for stopping by.
This looks and sound delish; not to mention extremely easy!
So easy, sometimes, I just want a simple dessert 🙂 do you ever feel that way?
Joan Demshock says
I think I would substitute out the orange juice as would rather have a pure lime flavor. Wondering if I could just use water with possible addition of True Lime packets (crystalized real lime juice)? That is what I always use to replace lemon, lime, and orange juice. Only buy them when I need rind.
I’m not familiar with those lime packets, but if you’ve used them in the past they’ll probably work. I can’t get a handle on the all lime, but I’m sure it would work.
I made the Easy Key Lime cake and it was scrumptious!!
It was my first PMc recipe to make and it surely won’t be the last..
Can hardly wait to try others!! Hotty toddy!
Yayy!! oh, that’s one of my favorite, that one and the Easy Strawberry Cake. I’m so glad you liked it. Hotty Toddy… just 45(or so) more days! 🙂
April @ The 21st Century Housewife says
Looks so delicious! I love the vibrant colour – so pretty 🙂
Diana - FreeStyleMama says
Love key lime! Looks yummy!!!!!!!
Heidi Fowler says
I just came by to pin this recipe, and ended up browsing and pinning tons more! You have an awesome site. I hope you’ll visit “One Creative Weekend” on OneCreativeMommy.com (open Fri-Wed)and link up some of your great recipes!
New GFC follower.
mmmmmm- I love key lime and pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting. Thanks for sharing on Whatcha Whipped Up
Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says
I love Key Lime – I can't wait to try this! Pinned it 🙂 Thank you for sharing at All my Bloggy Friends this week! I hope to see you again Tuesday! 🙂
Yum!!! I love how bright the green is! Looks delicious!
Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!
The Mandatory Mooch says
Thanks for linking up to Tasty Thursdays at The Mandatory Mooch.
I have seen so many pictures of Trisha's cake! But you've made this so simple and it looks so tasty! I have to tyr this for my husband. He loves key lime!
Slice of Southern says
I've seen Trisha's key lime cake and your's look delishhh and easy! Thanks for sharing on Southern Sundays!
A Lived in Home says
I love key lime pie, so I need to try this. Would be great for St. Pattys Day! My Get Social Sunday link party is live. Would love to have you come link up your homepage and promote your blog!
Christine@ Projects Around the House says
Oh yum! I need to make one of these. It looks amazing!
Mandatory Mooch says
This looks so delicious!! I would love for you to link up to my linky party at The Mandatory Mooch. Still open for another day!!
Wonderful and unique-color looking cake 🙂
Now this looks delicious! I want a piece right now! Thanks for sharing at Heavenly Treats Sunday!
This looks fantastic! I will have to make this very soon! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following you back from What's Cooking in the Burbs. Have a great weekend!
Your Key Lime Cake looks delicious and so simple! I bet the cream cheese frosting tastes super yummy with lime juice added to it.