I searched high and low for a key lime poke cake recipe but couldn't find anything I liked. So... I created my own. It's a tart, moist, light, and amazingly delicious key lime cake.


Recipe Summary

30 mins
40 mins
4 hrs 30 mins
5 hrs 40 mins
1 9x13-inch cake


Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Poke Filling:


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

  • Combine cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 24 to 29 minutes.

  • Dissolve gelatin mix in boiling water. Add key lime juice and mix well.

  • Use a fork to poke holes all over the cake. Spoon gelatin-key lime mixture all over cake. Refrigerate until completely cool and ready to use.

  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs and egg yolks together in a large glass bowl. Combine sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and cornstarch in a smaller heat-proof bowl.

  • Place bowl with the sugar mixture over a pot of simmering water. Stir frequently, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching, until mixture comes to boil, about 5 minutes.

  • Slowly whisk hot sugar mixture, little by little, into the beaten eggs. Place bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk until curd coats the back of a spoon, up to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in butter until melted.

  • Drop food coloring into the curd and mix to achieve your desired shade. Let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Cover surface directly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 hours.

  • Transfer 3/4 of the curd into another bowl. Add whipped topping and fold together until well combined. Spread frosting over the cake. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours more. Top with the plain curd.

Editor's Note:

The directions for making the cake are based on the particular brand mentioned. Follow instructions on the box if using a different brand.

Nutrition Facts

433 calories; protein 5.3g; carbohydrates 57.3g; fat 21.4g; cholesterol 113.2mg; sodium 328.9mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (6)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
The only change I may make is putting the curd on the cake before the whipped topping for better presentation. Would make it again. Read More
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
The only change I may make is putting the curd on the cake before the whipped topping for better presentation. Would make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this for Memorial Day barbecue at a friends house. I honestly couldn t wait to taste it. Well it was fantastic desert!! Moist and so flavorful. A big hit at the party. I would definitely make it again!!!!!!! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This cake is very good. My husband says it is the best cake he s ever eaten. I was a tad too tart for me. I followed the recipe except used fresh-squeezed regular lime juice. Key lime juice was not available. Next time I will cut down on the amount of lime zest. There was too much for me. The one thing I did add was I toasted some shredded coconut and sprinkled it on top of the cake. It added some sweetness and texture. The lime curd was very tart and the coconut helped to balance it out. I will definitely be making this cake again with those two minor changes. Oh and next time instead of a yellow cake mix I am going to use a white cake mix. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wonderful fresh limey flavor! It is quite simple to make, almost. The curd stage (to make for the frosting) turned out to be time-consuming and tedious. I suspect a double boiler would have worked better, since I tried 3 different bowls over a boiling pot of water and couldn't get the juice/sugar mix to boil. It got up to aboout 190 deg so I went to the next step, adding to the eggs. It came out fine, but next time I will probably use a different curd process (for instance see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHg2XlakQGE) . Otherwise the recipe worked very well. It's so worth it, a favorite. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I am a huge fan of Key Lime anything! so when I saw this recipe in my in box I had to try. I didn't change a thing! Its a delicious cake recipe. The frosting takes time to make but so worth it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Make it at my sister house and the family loved it Read More