Key Lime Cake

March 17, 2012 • Alaska from Scratch, Cakes & Pies, Desserts, Holidays & Occasions, Recipes, Seasons, Spring, Summer

Key Lime Ombre Cake via Alaska from Scratch

Weather: 26 degrees, sunny
What I’m listening to:
The Cranberries

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you’re wearing your green today like this bright and fresh Key Lime Cake. 

There’s quite a story behind this cake. For several years, I have made cupcakes for all three of my kids’ birthdays. We all know that cupcakes have been “in” for a number of years now, but that’s not really why I made them. I made them because they’re easier than decorating a cake. I am not comfortable with my [non-existent] cake decorating skills. Cakes stress me out. Hello, intimidation. I haven’t had a lot of practice with them and the very last thing I ever wanted to do was try to make a cake for one of my children’s birthdays and have it fail miserably. There would be tears… and birthday pictures to prove it. Yikes.

Well, my oldest son turns nine this week and I was planning to make my go-to cupcakes (I had it all planned out down to the design and the flavor). To my surprise and utter dismay, he declared that he was getting bigger and therefore, it was time for a bigger cake. Gasp! It was time to muster up my courage and face my cake-decorating fears.

My son’s favorite color is green and his favorite flavor is lime, so I searched high and low for a Key Lime Cake recipe. I was surprised to find that almost every search result I turned up was a lime cake made with Jello and a boxed cake mix. Finally, I found a very yummy from scratch Key Lime Cupcake recipe that I adapted into a two-layer round cake. The result is a delicious, tender cake with a nice key lime flavor and color, and a cream cheese frosting that makes the whole thing truly taste like the famous key lime pie. The birthday boy is very pleased. And I’ve gotten a little more brave this week thanks to my 9-year-old son.

Key Lime Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit via [My Madison Bistro|]

Yields: 1 two-layer 9 inch round cake

  • For Cake:
  • 1-3/4c cake flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2c butter, lightly softened
  • 1-1/4c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/2T fresh key lime juice
  • 1T key lime zest
  • 1-3 drops green food coloring gel (I used Wilton Leaf Green)
  • 3/4c buttermilk
  • For Frosting:
  • 1/2c butter, lightly softened
  • 8oz cream cheese, lightly softened
  • 2-1/2-3c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1T key lime zest (optional depending on how you plan to decorate the cake and if you want flecks of green in your frosting)
  • green food coloring gel (optional depending on how you plan to decorate the cake)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat until fluffy, about four minutes. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lime juice, zest, and food coloring and beat until mixed. (The mixture will look curdled.)

Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix on low until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between two pans and spread flat with an offset spatula.

Bake 25 minutes. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese icing.

!For Frosting:

Beat the butter and cream together vigorously until combined and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar on a low speed until the consistency you desire is achieved. If using, fold in zest and food color.