Key Lime Pound Cake…one year later

Thanks architec TSP for making a lightweight whisk that produces a gorgeous, runny icing!
Thanks architec TSP for making a lightweight whisk that produces a gorgeous, creamy icing!

This cake.  One year later this cake is making a resurgence.  I never dreamed it would be so popular; it was viewed and shared by thousands all over the world.  I posted it as an applaud to my older sister, Cynthia, on her birthday.  The older we get the crazier I am about her.  We’ve both changed over the years; we’ve each had our triumphs and struggles but this cake need not change.  I baked it so many times…just yesterday for my life-long friend, Andrea, who had a rather important birthday to celebrate.  Our birthdays are a week and a half apart so we’re almost twins.  Our families lived one street away from each other, her brother and sisters went to school with my brother and sisters.  One of my earliest memories of Anj was when we were in 2nd or 3rd grade at East Side Elementary School.  Our teacher told us to take out our spelling books, a thin volume sporting a gray cover with stick people moving about happily and with purpose.  I clearly remember being pleased because spelling was one of my few strong suits.  The teacher droned on, “Class, please open your books to page…”, when all of a sudden, whoosh!  BLEAH!  From somewhere inside of me came an explosion of  vomit splattering all over my favorite text-book.  Banished to the infirmary I remember passing a woman from the janitorial staff in the hallway and feeling horrible that she had to clean up some little girl’s mess.  In the infirmary I lay on my bed, bored stiff and somewhat bothered, waiting for Mama to come pick me up.  I would be there quite a while as Mama was always notoriously late and it was so unnecessary as I felt fine.  Staring at the ceiling I let my thoughts drift when I realized there was a tapping sound being made.  More like a light knock and it was coming from the cubicle next to mine.  I whispered, “Who is it?”.  “It’s Andrea!”, she whispered back.  On tiptoe I excitedly stood up on the bed and peered over the metal divider wall.  There she was, scrawny ol’ Anj grinning right back up at me.  “What are ya doin’?”, I asked.  “Nothin’.”, she replied.  “Ya wanna jump on the beds?”, I asked.  With a twinkle in her eye she popped right up and answered, “YEAH!”.  And so we did.  Up and down we bounced and twirled, singing little songs and giggling until Mama came.  As we walked out I heard Andrea say to Miss Pickrell, the principal’s secretary, “I feel better now, Miss Pickrell, so I’m just gonna go back to class.”  “Okay, honey!” the secretary replied.  And that’s how it’s always been.  Andrea is a strong and golden ray of sunshine in my life.  Always has been, always will be.  I make her laugh, she makes me laugh.   We tell each other how beautiful and sexy we are and, really, we are.  We wear hats… and well.  We lunch regularly.  Together we live the words, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”  To my fellow Pisces, my sister mermaid, on this, your 60th birthday, I send you love, laughter and Key Lime Pound Cake.

Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  • Servings: one 10-inch cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  •  4 sticks butter, that’s 1 pound, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs plus two yolks, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons fresh key lime juice  If Key limes are not available, conventional limes are just fine.  Stay away from bottled Key lime juice unless you enjoy a distinct metallic aftertaste.
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, (I always keep a good number of those small, 5 ounce cans in my pantry.)
  • 1/4 cup grated Key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°.  Cover inside of 10 inch tube pan with non-stick spray.  My pan is 10  1/2″ and it’s just fine.  Set aside.
  2. Using a stand-up mixer or electric hand-held, beat the butter well until light in color and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add sugar and beat well for at least 5 minutes.
  4. One at a time add the eggs and beat only until the yellow disappears.
  5. Add lime zest to batter and mix to combine.
  6. Stir juice, milk, and vanilla together.
  7. Now mixing by hand, gradually flour to the butter-egg mixture alternating with the key lime juice and milk mixture.  Begin and end with flour.  Mix well but just enough to incorporate all ingredients.  You don’t want a tough pound cake!
  8. Pour evenly into the tube pan and tap pan on the counter to loosen any air bubbles.
  9. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs but not wet..
  10. Cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes in the pan then transfer from pan to cooling rack and allow to cool another hour or until completely cool.

The cake is far better the following day or 2 days later.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Key lime juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Using a hand mixer beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until well mixed.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat well until completely smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add key lime juice, zest and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Ice cake.

This makes quite a bit of icing.  After icing the entire  pound cake I fill the middle hole with the excess icing.  When the cake is served, icing can be taken from the middle and dolloped along the side the slice of cake.  Or, as in the photos, the leftover icing can be served on the side in a pretty, little bowl.


  1. Victoria Carter

    I did this Key Lime Pound Cake last year and loved it!!! I used the small bag of key limes from Publix which was wrong, but the cake was still delicious. Looking forward to baking it again. Just looked at limes yesterday and was reminded of this recipe.

    1. Alicia

      Victoria, when I just now made this cake again I had to get my Key limes at Publix. My source’s tree was barren this year.:( But I used one of those hand-held lemon juicers that you squeeze together and I was able to juice the Key limes in no time at all. It also helped that I had several pale green limes in the bag!

  2. Missy Manning

    The cake is in the oven baking as I write. Can’t wait for the finished product. I licked the batters clean!!!!! Thank you!

  3. Gail Wood

    I have tried to print this recipe from this page. Didn’t work. Went to your url at bottom of page. Printed out 18 pages, most having nothing to do with the recipe. You may want to make it easier for people to print your recipes.

    Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2016 22:41:32 +0000

    1. Alicia

      Thanks, Gail! I have that same problem as well. Unfortunately the problem lies with the WordPress layout. So to get around that I either enter the specific page number I want to print or I pull up the recipe I want I my cell and screen shot it. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. Wish I could change it. Argh!

    1. Alicia

      Yes, it does, although I’ve safely had it out on the counter for a few hours, serving the cake after icing. When you bring the cake out of the refrigerator prior to serving, bring the slices of cake to room temp rather than the whole cake. Easier and quicker that way. It’s a big, dense cake and it would take a while to lose the chill. Hope that helps!

      1. Sandy

        It says that if you have no access to Key Limes, it’s okay to use 2/3 fresh lime juice and 1/3 fresh lemon juice which is a full cup.
        Are you suppose to combine the two? The recipe originally calls for 1/2 cup (key lime juice) for the cake and 1/4 for the icing.
        I’m not sure I follow.

        Thank you,

    1. Alicia

      Good question. Original pound cakes didn’t call for leavening agents. The long beating of the sugar and butter plus the serious mixing of the eggs makes it rise all it needs to. It’s a pound cake so it’s dense and heavy. If you’re concerned that it won’t rise to your liking add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the dry flour and continue with the recipe from there. If you research pound cakes you’ll find many call for leavenings and many don’t. Happy Fourth of July!

    1. Alicia

      Hey, Terry! I’m pretty sure you could use two loaf pans, evenly divided, same temp of 325, but keep an on them so they don’t over bake. The second the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, or even sooner, I’d check for doneness. Hope that helps!

  4. Yo Th

    Hi there. I just found this recipe, circulating on Facebook March 2018 snd I can’t wait to try it—I love key limes. Not sure if I’ll find them in New York City this time of year but I’m going to look or either ask one of my Floridian friends to send me some. In this post, the icing is a lot thicker than the original post. You mentioned and placed a whisk next to the cake. I would love the thicker icing. How did you use the whisk as opposed to the blender to make the icing in your follow up post?

    1. Alicia

      Hey, there! First, if you can’t get your hands on Key limes, regular Persian limes are fine. Whatever is is the grocery store that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. To use a whisk make certain the cream cheese has softened to room temperature, then gently break it up with the whisk, loosening it and then add the rest of the ingredients. To make the icing thicker, add less lime juice. Start with one tablespoon and add from there to the thickness you desire. Hope that helps!

  5. Rebecca

    I pinned your original recipe and have made it a few times to great reviews. Over the last few years, I haven’t made it due to various life interruption reasons. Today I clicked on it to make for a friends’ gathering and it was GONE!!! I was mortified! While searching frantically, I happened on this post–thank God! This really is one of the best cakes I’ve ever had! I did vaguely recall something another commenter posted about combining lemon juice with lime juice if Key Limes aren’t available, but it is not in this post. I actually have lemons and limes in my freezer for this very reason! Do you remember what you recommended for this? Thanks again for reposting this fabulous recipe!

    1. Rebecca

      I just found the original, updated post on your site after searching. My old link just wasn’t working. The original comments were still there and I found what I was looking for down in the comment section: “Use regular limes but also regular lemons. Maybe 2/3 lime juice to 1/3 lemon juice. That’ll cut cut some of the sharpness of the limes, more like Key Limes.” Once again, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! ❤

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