I found a great recipe for key lime cake, but it seems to lack the key lime flavor I am looking for. It has lime zest and juice in it, still a great cake, but it seems not enough lime kick to it.

  • 5
    ...use more lime zest and juice?
    – Cerberus
    Apr 16, 2015 at 20:01
  • 3
    More zest will get more lime flavor (and you can use a fair bit; e.g., when making a key lime pie I zest most of the limes). More juice will mostly add sourness.
    – derobert
    Apr 16, 2015 at 20:15
  • 1
    And of course, there are always flavor extracts.
    – logophobe
    Apr 16, 2015 at 20:53
  • 4
    Is there any icing on it? If you're not using lime juice in it, you should be. But you might also want to consider a glaze, so the fat doesn't dull the flavors too much. And a lime curd in between layers when stacking the cake. (and although the site's generally against asking for recipes ... giving us the recipe so we know how to modify it would be a good thing)
    – Joe
    Apr 16, 2015 at 22:36
  • 1
    Be careful when adding acidic ingredients to anything that you want to rise. In extreme amounts acid can inhibit gluten formation enough to make your cake fall. That's why I like this answer! Apr 17, 2015 at 16:15

5 Answers 5


My daughter who loves lemon cake thought of a great idea a couple years ago to knock the lemon flavor out of the park. I'm sure it would work for lime too: make a lime syrup and pour it into the bottom of the cake after poking it all over with a thin skewer. The more lime you like, the more syrup you use. As a bonus, it also adds some moisture to the cake. Note that you may need to refrigerate the cake after this step (if it lasts more than a few hours).

  • I do this all the time, both with lemon/lime cakes as well as fruit cake. Works great.
    – LMAshton
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:03

Without seeing the recipe, it's difficult to know what can be improved. Here are some possibiliies:

  • Your easiest addition would be to add more lime zest -- it contains much of the flavor, and it won't significantly throw off the moisture or acid balance in the cake.

  • If you're going to be stacking the cake, instead of using frosting between the layers, you can make a lime curd, and use that to add extra lime flavor -- but be careful how much you spread on ... if you have too much, it'll function as a slip plane. (and the tops of the cake can slide off ... which makes for an interesting talking point, but not typically what you want when the cake layers look like they're throwing themselves off the cake).

  • If you're not stacking the cake, use a skewer to poke vertical holes all over the cake, and then pour a lime syrup over it, so it can soak into the cake. You may need to let it dry for a couple of hours or overnight before decorating.

  • If you're going to be decorating the cake, use lime zest and juice in the frosting. I'd actually recommend a royal icing over a whipped frosting. Start with half of the liquid called for as lime juice, mix it, and then add water to get it to the consistency you want. You can also mix in the lime zest if you're just covering the cake and not trying to pipe decorations.

  • If you're not going to be decorating the cake, make a glaze from lime juice, lime zest and and powdered sugar, and pour that over the cake.


I suggest adding more lime zest and use key lime juice (bottled juice would be okay for baking - Nellies makes a good product and it's widely available (usually sold with mixers)


make sure you are getting the most out of your limes with 5 Fabulous Lime Tips

remember Key limes are more tart than Tahitian limes (given the choice...)

if the recipe calls for salt-- reduce the amount (salt increases the sweetness, muting the tart & tang of the limes)

you might add a little concentrated lime juice (just a splash!)

Good luck with the cake :)

  • 1
    Salt does not increase sweetness. It actually mutes sweet, sour and bitter flavours slightly. Its effect on bitter flavour is well known. For sweet and sour I refer to an experiment I documented here: cooking.stackexchange.com/a/29905. Apr 17, 2015 at 0:11

You can add more lime zest, you can also add more juice, but when you increase the tartness of the cake, you need To increase the sugar to offset it.

You'll reach a point of diminishing returns however and you may be better off making a key lime pie rather than a cake.

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