Key Lime Poke Cake on a Plate

Key Lime Poke Cake

  • Author: Kate
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American


An intensely limey and luscious dessert that’s super easy to make! White boxed cake mix is filled with tangy Key lime filling and topped with whipped cream. 



  • 1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients listed on the box
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2/3 c. Key lime juice (bottled or fresh)
  • yellow and green food coloring (optional, see note)
  • 2 tsp. lime zest, plus more for garnish
  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • slices of lime (for garnish, optional)


1. Prepare the white cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan, as directed on the box. Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes.

2. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake about 1 inch apart. For best results, use a handle with a diameter of approximately 1/2 inch, going all the way down to the bottom of the cake. If the holes are too small, the filling won’t penetrate the cake and will just sit on top.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and lime zest. Add the Key lime juice and optional food coloring, whisk to combine. (The mixture will thicken immediately after the lime juice is added, don’t worry this is normal!)

4. Immediately pour the Key lime filling over the cake and, using a rubber spatula, spread the filling across the surface and down around the sides of the cake, making sure all the holes are filled. 

5. Loosely cover the cake with tin foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to 1 day. During this time, the filling will further soak into the cake and firm up. Once the filling has firmed up and is no longer wet on the surface of the cake, the whipped cream topping can be applied.

6. To make the whipped cream topping, add the heavy whipping cream and granulated sugar to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with hand beaters or the whip attachment of the stand mixer until whipped cream has formed stiff peaks (about 3 – 4 minutes on high speed).

7. Spread the whipped cream on the cake. Serve immediately, garnished with additional lime zest and slices of lime (optional).


  1. To get the green color you see in the blog photos, I used 5 drops yellow food coloring and 3 drops green. For a more “natural” look, reduce the amount of food coloring. And, it’s important to note that different brands of food coloring can have different results, so start small and add more if needed. Or, leave the food coloring out all together, the choice is yours!
  2. The cook time listed for the cake is an approximation to give an idea of how long the entire recipe will take to make start to finish. To bake the cake, please follow the directions on the box!
  3. Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

Keywords: Key lime poke cake, lime poke cake, Key lime cake, lime cake, box cake recipes, easy Key lime poke cake, St. Patrick's Day cake, St. Patrick's Day dessert