This Key Lime Pie Poke Cake is absolutely amazing! A moist and fluffy cake with a homemade lime curd filling and a graham cracker whipped cream frosting!
I am trying to bring you all the best springtime recipes even though for some of you, you’re buried under mounds of snow! Hopefully recipes like these will inspire you to get baking some light and festive spring fare despite your contradictory weather 🙂
But first: this CAKE! It is seriously dreamy and one of my new favorites for sure.
I first tried key lime pie in Miami and there’s really no better place to try it short of in Key West itself. Ever since then, I have lusted after the combination of tart and juicy key lime filling with that buttery and sweet graham cracker crust. The crowning jewel is that fresh whipped cream! This cake has all of those elements of the classic pie but in a moist and fluffy cake!
The cake starts with a cake mix that we doctor up a touch so it doesn’t taste like it came from a box. It has your usual suspects: oil, eggs, water, and a little bit of lime gelatin to drive home the lime flavor. Super easy. Just mix it up, bake it up in your greased pan, and let it cool. Once cooled, poke holes all over the top.
Most poke cakes have a sweetened condensed milk or a pudding base filling, but this has a homemade lime curd filling that totally takes this cake over the top! It is super simple to make and really gives this cake the bulk of that sweet, tart lime flavor. The filling consists of eggs, granulated sugar, lime zest, Key lime juice, and unsalted butter. I recommend using regular lime zest but Key lime juice. Why? Because Key limes have a sweeter flavor so we definitely want that juice and flavor – but Key limes are often hard to find in the store and are super teeny tiny for zesting. Regular limes work fine for zest. For the Key lime juice, Nellie and Joe’s works perfect and is in the juice or alcohol mixer aisle at the grocery store.
The topping may be my favorite part, and if you’ve been reading awhile, you know I am not a frosting person! It’s a mixture between cream cheese and whipped cream frosting with crushed, buttery graham cracker crumbs mixed in. It is SO delicious, creamy, light and fluffy and the combination with the tart and tangy Key lime curd filling is out of this world!
Whether or not the outside weather is cooperating, spring is coming, and this Key Lime Pie Poke Cake should be first to make on your list!
*adapted from Southern Cakes magazine
Key Lime Pie Poke Cake
For the Key Lime Filling:
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup Key lime juice like by Nellie and Joe's brand
- 3 tsp fresh lime zest from 2-3 medium limes
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
For the Cake:
- One (15.25 oz) box white cake mix
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup Key lime juice
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp lime gelatin powder
For the Topping:
- 8 ounces (One package) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- Sliced limes for garnish, optional
- First, make your filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lime zest and juice and butter together until combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened to a pudding/curd consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and discard any solids left behind. Cover the curd in the bowl with plastic wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Liberally grease a 9x13 light metal rectangular baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, Key lime juice, oil and lime gelatin until combined, about 1 minute. Pour the batter into the pan evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs, Cool about 30 minutes, then poke holes all over the surface of the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Finish cooling completely, then spread the curd filling evenly over the surface of the cake.
- For the topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until fluffy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add in the confectioners' sugar and heavy whipping cream and switch to the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved. Beat in the graham cracker crumbs.
- Spread the topping evenly over the cake. Garnish with fresh lime wheels if desired. Store any leftover cake covered in the fridge.
Cool, creamy, sweet and tart – this cake has everything!
Have a super sweet day!