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key lime poke cake on 3 plates with limes on the side

Key Lime Poke Cake

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

1. Prepare the white cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan, as directed on the box. Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes (for make ahead instructions, see note 1).

2. Using the handle of a wooden spoon that’s approximately 1/2 inch in diameter, poke holes in the cake about 1 inch apart. (The large diameter holes are important – if the holes are too small the filling won’t penetrate the cake and will just sit on top.) Also, make sure to poke the handle all the way down to the bottom of the cake and twist before pulling back up

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).


Notes

  1.   You can make the white cake 2 – 3 days ahead of time and keep it tightly covered at room temperature. When you are ready to prepare the cake, first place it in the oven on the warm setting for 5 – 10 minutes before poking the holes and adding the filling. Make sure the cake is only slightly warm, not hot, before adding the filling.
  2.   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!
  3.   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!
  4.   Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

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

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