I have a friend who admittedly has a key lime tree for the sole purpose that “They fit perfectly inside a Corona bottle” and here in Arizona they produce limes for longer. Ha! That sounds like a good reason albeit, but I can think of many many more, like this cake. If you’re team cake vs. team pie, then this cake is for you. It’s perfect for potluck or family gathering. You can make it the day before even. This cake is loaded with lime flavor. There is the super moist cake bursting with plenty of lime flavor but then there is the lime cream cheese swirl (you can see it near the top of the slice) that is crazy delish, finished off with a sweet tangy key lime glaze. This is one of those cakes that actually tastes better the second day.
Key Lime Bundt Cake
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
3 Cups plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/3 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. key lime juice, divided (I used bottled Nellie & Joes)
5 large eggs, room temp, divided
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 Cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. (regular lime) zest; about 5 medium limes
2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs, plus a little more for garnish on top of cake
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 Cups buttermilk, room temp (or alternatively you can use 1 1/4 Cup milk mixed with 1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. white vinegar and allow to sit for 15 minutes).
Preheat oven to 325 F. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. of the flour, condensed milk, and 2 Tbsp. of the key lime juice on medium speed until smooth. Add in the egg and mix until combined. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe out the mixer bowl with a paper towel to clean.
In the clean mixer bowl beat the butter (no need to clean the paddle) along with 1 1/2 cups sugar, brown sugar, and lime zest on medium low speed until just combined. increase to medium speed and beat until fluffy and light; about 3-4 minutes. Add remaining 4 eggs one at a time and mix until combined. The mixture will look curdled, but it will come together once the flour is added. In a separate bowl whisk together the rest of the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk (or milk/vinegar) mixture starting and ending with the flour mixture; beating just until combined.
Spray a 15 cup bundt pan with baking spray that has flour in it. Spread 3 1/2 cups of the cake batter into the bundt pan and spread evenly. Tap pan on counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Add the cream cheese lime filling on top of the batter gently being careful to keep a 1/4 inch edge free border as much as possible. Drag a knife through gently in a snake motion to swirl the filling a bit. Repeat with gently layering the rest of the cake batter on top of the filling and smooth on top. Bake in the preheated oven 55-65 minutes or until a few moist crumbs return when poked with a wooden skewer. Cover the cake with tinfoil as needed partially through the baking time to avoid excess browning. Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes while you prepare the lime syrup.
Key Lime Syrup
Place wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. In a small cereal size bowl mix the remaining 1/3 cup key lime juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Remove and with a long wooden skewer poke the top of the cake while it is still in the pan all over and spoon over 1/2 of the lime syrup. Place a long strip of parchment paper over the top of the cake about 4 inches wide. This will help you flip over the cake onto the wire rack more easily. Carefully pull out the parchment paper and spoon the rest of the lime syrup over the cake while the cake is still warm. Allow the cake to cool before applying the glaze.
Key Lime Glaze
In a small bowl combine 1 1/2 Cups confectioners sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. warm water, and 2 tsp. of key lime juice and whisk to combine. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake and sprinkle some extra graham cracker crumbs over the glaze quickly before it sets.
Keep the cake covered at room temperature in either a cake dome or with plastic wrap to avoid drying out.
The cake keeps nicely and tastes even better the second day!