The sweet, tart hit of citrus in this Key Lime Pound Cake makes it a perfect after-dinner treat! Dense and delicious, it’s impossible to resist! My friends kept slicing off more and more samples while doling out compliments!

Cakes baked in a tube pan or Bundt pan are the perfect way to feed dessert to a crowd. One pan, no layers, and a refreshing drizzle of icing make an Easy Pound Cake Recipe ideal for both the baker and the taste testers!

A close up of key lime pound cake on a white serving plate garnished with limes and a raspberry.

 Why You Must Make

When St. Patrick’s Day was approaching, I wanted to bake up a green-ish dessert. Since I adore Key Lime Pie, the bag of Key limes at the market brought my thoughts to a Key lime dessert, a Key lime pound cake to be precise.

  • It’s a killer dessert when Key limes are in season and for St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Regular limes can be substituted so you can enjoy this scrumptious lime pound cake any time of year.
  • With some lime zest in the cake batter, Key lime juice in the batter, and icing, this tight crumbed, this citrus-laden cake is a heavenly, very pale green (if you use your imagination!) dessert.

Reader Endorsement:

From Kristin via Pinterest: This is by far the best pound cake I’ve ever made. It was so moist. Don’t skip the icing, it perfectly balances out the flavors.

A sliced key lime pound cake on a white serving plate.

Expert Tips

The name itself, Pound Cake, gives the first clue this is no light and airy dessert. But the name itself goes back to the inception of this dessert, when a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of flour were the main ingredients in a pound cake.

  • There are numerous variations on this basic formula. For example, in this Key lime pound cake, half the butter was swapped out for shortening, and lime zest and juice were added for flavor.
  • PRO-Tip: If you want a picture-perfect pound cake, you must prep your tube or Bundt cake properly. Grease with shortening, then dust with flour. Tap out any excess flour into the sink or garbage can.
  • Read through the instructions before you start. Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and get out the butter and eggs to allow them to come to room temperature.
  • Use a stand mixer, if you have one, to beat the butter (and shortening in this recipe) until creamy. Be patient.
  • Use brand-name ingredients for the best results. Off-brand butter, for example, often has more water than name brands. And measure accurately.
  • PRO-Tip: Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each egg is mixed in before adding the next. But be careful not to overbeat. Once the last egg is incorporated, move on to the next step.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven. Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done.
  • Let the cake cool for 15 minutes on a rack, then carefully invert and remove from the baking pan. Allow to cool to room temperature on the rack, then drizzle with icing before serving.
Overhead view of key lime pound cake on a white serving plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Standard Persian Limes and Key Limes?

The first difference is obvious, as Persian limes are much larger than Key limes. That’s why this recipe doesn’t call for the zest of Key limes, just the juice. Those suckers would be hard to zest!

Persian limes are tarter due to higher acidity, though they have fewer seeds.

Can You Substitute Standard Limes for Key Limes in This Recipe?

PRO-Tip: In a pinch, you can substitute Persian lime juice for Key lime juice, but avoid bottled lime juice. Bottled juice cannot replace the taste of freshly squeezed lime juice.

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Key Lime Pound Cake featured image

Key Lime Pound Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield 16 servings

A perfectly dense, fine crumb pound cake flavored with lime zest and Key lime juice



  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup fresh Key lime juice


  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh Key lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy.
  3. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  6. Stir in vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice.
  7. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch solid tube pan.
  8. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.
  9. Whisk together powdered sugar, Key lime juice, water, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  10. Scrape the frosting into a quart Ziploc bag, seal, and snip the tip off one corner. Drizzle back and forth over the top of the cake.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Make sure your baking powder is fresh and active. It isn't used as much as baking soda and will need to be replaced if near the expiration date or your cake may not rise properly.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 471Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 162mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 5g


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