Key Lime Bundt Cake with Margarita Icing

This cake was inspired by a recipe on Barbara’s blog, Traveling Aprons. Barbara had posted a key lime pound cake recipe which she credited to a magazine called “Celebrate Spring”. That cake had very similar proportions to one of my favorites, but included lime zest and a good amount of lime juice as well.

I scaled the recipe down a bit and ended up with an excellent cake. It’s softer than most pound cakes, but has a tight crumb and a great lime flavor. Just for fun, and since I could really use one this week, I added a “margarita” theme by adding a little Triple Sec and Jose Cuervo to the icing. Now I’m thinking I should have put cornmeal in the cake for a corn chips & margarita theme, but I’ll save that for another day.


Key Lime Bundt Cake with Margarita Icing

2 cups sifted cake flour (215 grams)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar (divided use) (14 oz)
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (70 grams) shortening
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/3 cup Key lime juice (bottled) or fresh lime juice
2/3 cup sour cream (160 ml)
Garnish: confectioners’ sugar and fresh strawberries

Margarita Icing
1 1/2 oz cream cheese (42 grams)
1/2 oz (1 T) unsalted butter (14 grams)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (70 grams)
1/2 tablespoon tequila
1/2 tablespoon Triple sec
1/2 tablespoon lime juice (more or less to taste & consistency)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with flour-added cooking spray.

Sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Separate the eggs. Put yolks in one bowl and put whites in another, preferably metal and big enough to use as a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the whites until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and continue beating until mixture is thick and glossy. Set that mixture aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter & shortening with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 cup of sugar and beat for a good 4-5 minutes. Beat in the lime zest. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with lime juice and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fold the beaten egg whites/sugar mixture into the batter. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Make frosting.

Beat together the softened cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add booze and beat until smooth. Taste and make sure it’s lime-y or tequila-y enough and adjust until you get what you want.

Spoon it over the cake and let it set. You can throw it in the refrigerator to speed the setting of the icing.

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  1. Qte says

    this sounds amazing. i love the lime taste in cakes and will try this next. thanks. love, Qte.

  2. says

    I love your blog and I’ve passed down the Honest Scrap Award down to you. Check out my blog to see what it is and to accept it. I can’t wait to see your future postings.

  3. says

    Hi Zen,

    Thanks so much for the award! I don’t usually collect or distribute awards, but I am truly grateful for the recognition and am looking forward to checking out your blog.

    JB, cake flour has less protein and will give you a more tender cake. Also, it measures differently than all purpose so if you decide to use the all purpose anyway, you’d need to adjust your measurements accordingly. The usual cake flour substitution is 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cornstarch for every 2 cups cake flour. In this recipe, the cake flour is measured after sifting so you’d mix your flour and cornstarch as written above, then sift to make it light, then measure. After you measure, you should have a little left over which you can throw out.

    If you have a scale, you can just mix your 1 3/4 cup all purpose with 1/4 cup cornstarch, sift, then weigh out 215 grams/7.6 oz and toss out the rest. I think that would work. Now hopefully you have cornstarch!

  4. CPB says

    Yummy! Now I know what to make for Mother’s Day. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    I recently made a coconut lime cake that was really good. Love the lime flavor in it. Your bundt looks so good.

  6. says

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe! It sounds great! We are getting ready to do a roundup of Margarita related recipes on our blog. I was already going to include your fantastic Margarita Pie that you did recently, and this one will definitely be on our list, too!

  7. says

    Thanks for all the nice comments. LilSis, I hope you try this one and feel that it is a good addition to your margarita repertoire :).

  8. C L (Rancher'sWife) says

    I’ve been on the hunt for a summertime cake because DH and I are hosting a BBQ soon and this sounds like it might hit the spot for everyone. “Margarita” should get their attention! LOL 😉 Would freshly churned margarita-flavored sherbert or sorbet served alongside be overkill? 🙂

  9. says

    CL, I think sherbert or sorbet would be great! The booze is only in the icing so the margarita flavor, while detectable, is fairly subtle. A margarita sorbet would be fabulous.

    Speaking of which, could you share that margarita sorbet recipe?

    My teenage cousin turned Fuzz on to Baskin Robbins’ Daiquiri ice (which tastes more like margarita, if you ask me) and she loves it. Unfortunately, every time we’ve gone to Baskin Robbins they’ve told us to wait because it was a summer item.

  10. Louise says

    So Fuzz is getting a taste for virgin Daiquiris. She has a long wait for the alcoholic type. 😉

  11. C L (Rancher'sWife) says

    Fuzz has developed a discerning palate! Daiquiri Ice is one of the best flavors. If it isn’t in the BR stores now, it will be soon soon, I hope. 🙂

    Regarding the margarita sherbert, I admit my husband doesn’t use an actual recipe…we have a 1.5 quart electric ice cream maker, and he just pours some bottled margarita mix into the canister, adds a bit of ice-cold evaporated milk and/or ice water and keeps adding the bottled mix and the milk or water until the liquid reaches the fill line and, as he says, “it looks right”. He’ll taste it now and then, sometimes add a dribble of honey if the mix is too tart. Then he turns the noisy “monster” on to do its work, and put the canister in the freezer to firm up the mixture when it is done churning, unless you prefer soft serve. 🙂 This isn’t much help but that’s how he does it. No measuring or anything, just goes by taste and how the mixture looks. Basically it is a giant virgin margarita, although bottled daiquiri mix might work too. 🙂 Tends to be icy and melts quickly but it tastes pretty good. My sweetheart can create magic with fresh fruit puree or some juice and just a little bit of milk. 🙂

  12. says

    Don’t worry, Louise. It’s not the Tequila Fuzz likes so much as the sharp citrus flavors. She likes flavors like orange, lime, lemon-lime and even passion fruit.

    CL, I have the same kind of ice cream maker so I can actually try that! Todd would like this too.

  13. says


    This is the first comment I’ve left for you but I follow your blog pretty much every day. I’m not even sure how I came across it but now I’m addicted. I have a bag of limes that I bought from Trader Joes sitting on my kitchen counter just waiting to be used! This cake will be perfect and sounds delicious. Thank you for posting it. I will report back with my result.

    I just started my own baking blog about a month ago and would like to share it with you.
    Please check it out. Let me know what you think. I don’t quite know everything I’m doing yet but I’m trying to make it visually appealing as well as giving good information. Thanks Anna!

  14. CPB says

    I made this last weekend and it was wonderful! Very delicious and extremely pretty, too.

  15. Debby says

    I made this cake today, but I “bathed” it in a lime glaze/bath and then made lime cream cheese frosting…no booze. The cake is absolutely to die for, an excellent recipe, but I must admit, it’s a lot of work.

  16. Linda says

    Could you make this with just butter? I dom’t like using shortening since it’s hydrogenated. Or I guess I could run out and get organic shortening.
    Thanks! Looks delicious.

  17. says

    Mmmm, this sounds really good! Margarita is just about the ONLY drink with alcohol that I have been able to tolerate…probably all the sugar. 🙂 Might do this without the tequila, though.

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