Key Lime Poke Cake

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Key Lime Poke Cake is filled with refreshing lime zest, fresh raspberries and key lime juice to make it tangy and pucker worthy! It’s the perfect cake for spring picnics, summer barbecues, and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

cake in a baking dish with green towel wrapped around the side.
Key Lime Poke Cake ready to slice!
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Key Lime Poke Cake will remind you of warm days and summer breezes. It’s simple to make, plus it’s light and moist, so I won’t tell if you eat more than one slice! If you love key lime desserts, you might also try my No Bake Key Lime Pie recipe.

Poke cakes take me back to the days when I used to jab holes in Granny Tag’s Prune Cake. It’s still one of my favorite things to do. Since this recipe uses a cake mix, the preparation is super easy and comes together in minutes.

full view of cake decorated with icing on edge.

Ingredients

For the batter, you’ll need a yellow cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, fresh raspberries and a lime.

The filling is made with sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, key lime juice (ad) and lime zest. Make sure you purchase condensed milk and not evaporated.

Top the cake with homemade whipped cream made with heavy cream, powdered sugar, cream cheese and lime zest. If desired, garnish Key Lime Poke Cake with fresh lime slices, lime zest and raspberries.

zesting limes into the cream cheese mixture.
Adding fresh lime zest makes a difference.

Instructions

To make the batter, blend cake mix with oil, milk and eggs on medium speed. Stir in the raspberries and lime zest. Pour batter into a 13 x 9 inch dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, lime juice and lime zest together to make the filling.

Whip heavy cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar, then spoon whipped cream into a separate bowl. Whip cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add whipped cream to cream cheese and blend well with mixer. Refrigerate topping until ready to serve.

Poking the Cake

Once the cake has baked, poke lots of holes in it with the end of a wooden spoon or other round object. Don’t be afraid to really get in there and push the end of the spoon down into the bottom.

Pour filling on top of warm cake. Push filling into holes with a spatula. Not all the filling will go into the cake. It’s okay if some stays on top. Cover cake and refrigerate overnight in the refrigerator. The filling will set after refrigeration.

The next day, spread whipped topping over cake and garnish as desired with lime slices, lime zest and raspberries. (optional)

Recipe FAQs

What is a poke cake?

A poke cake gets its name from poking holes in it after baking. This allows the filling or icing to seep into the cake, creating a moist and flavorful crumb.

Can I substitute whipped topping?

To save time, use Cool Whip instead of making homemade whipped cream for the topping. I prefer the taste of homemade whipped cream.

Can this cake be made ahead?

Yes, that’s one of the best features of this cake! It can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Add the garnishes right before serving.

Can I use regular lime juice?

Sure! It won’t have the same taste, but it will still be delicious. I have used Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice (ad) for years in my pies and margaritas! It’s a great juice for this cake.

cake with a server and limes on the right side.
Decorate with fresh lime slices and raspberries.

Top Tips

  • The filling is thick, so not all of it will seep into the holes. Don’t be afraid to poke a bunch of holes with the end of a wooden spoon or something else that is 1/2 inch round. A fork or knife won’t work.
  • Refrigerating the cake overnight is necessary to help the filling ease into the cake. If you skip this step, the cake may not be as moist.
  • Don’t stress about the decorations. You can simply spread the whipped cream on top and add a little lime zest. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can pipe topping around the edges and add lime slices with raspberries as a garnish.
slice of cake on a green plate with a lime on top.

Key Lime Poke Cake is a versatile dessert that is perfect for any occasion! If you love this recipe, try my other sweet treats…

Recipe Card

key lime poke cake with lime spices and raspberries on top.

Key Lime Poke Cake

Key Lime Poke Cake is filled with refreshing lime zest, fresh raspberries and key lime juice to make it tangy and pucker worthy!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 498kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 15.25 oz moist yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 lime zested

FILLING

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup key lime juice ad
  • 1 lime zested

TOPPING

  • 16 oz. carton heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese
  • 1 lime zested

GARNISH

  • fresh limes and raspberries

Instructions

CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • With a mixer, blend cake mix with oil, milk and eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Fold in raspberries and zest of 1 lime. 
  • Pour batter into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean in the middle.

FILLING

  • In a separate bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, lime juice and lime zest together by hand. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.

TOPPING

  • Whip cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form. 
  • Add powdered sugar, then spoon whipped cream into a separate bowl.
  • Whip cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.
  • Add whipped cream to cream cheese and blend well with mixer.
  • Refrigerate topping until ready to serve.

ASSEMBLY

  • After cake is baked, poke a bunch of holes in it with the end of a wooden spoon. The more holes, the better.
  • Pour filling on top of warm cake. Push filling into holes with a spatula. Not all the filling will go into the cake. It's okay if some stays on top.
  • Cover cake and refrigerate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • The next day, spread whipped topping over cake and garnish as desired with lime slices, lime zest and raspberries. 

Notes

  • The filling is thick, so not all of it will seep into the holes.
  • Don't be afraid to poke a bunch of holes with the end of a wooden spoon or something else that is 1/2 inch round. A fork or knife won't let the filling go through.
  • Refrigerating the cake overnight is necessary to help the filling ease into the cake. If you skip this step, the cake may not be as moist.

Nutrition

Calories: 498kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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View this recipe on Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday.

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! This cake is gorgeous! I used to make poke cakes with my grandma. This brought back lots of memories. Can’t wait to try the key lime version.

  2. I would give this 10 stars if possible. The flavors and texture makes your recipe scrumptious! Moist, easy, delightful. My husband and I loved it!!

  3. My husband LOVES key lime desserts, so I will have to give this poke cake a try for sure! Thank you for sharing, I’m pinning it too 🙂

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