Key Lime Coconut Cake (VIDEO)
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This key lime cake is the ultimate summer party cake. It’s pummeled with crunchy toasted coconut and boasts the juice from 5 limes. The punch of lime juice and zest is refreshing and so tasty. We loved the delicate, fluffy and moist cake layers. Plus it’s not overly sweet. This is a highly enjoyable cake! It also refrigerates and freezes well.
One of my readers, Lena shared this recipe with us using our 4-ingredient sponge cake as a base. She described it as “A bite of heaven. Super moist, airy, light and the sour cream really adds to the lightness and tartness of the cake.” I couldn’t agree more.
The frosting is brilliant! Lana, thank you so much for sharing this with us :). P.S. Lana shared that this cake works beautifully with gluten free flour for those with dietary restrictions, which is so great to know!
Watch How to make Key Lime Cake:
Grab a tiny bag of popcorn and enjoy this 4 minute video recipe!
Now go forth and make Key Lime Cake! I hope you enjoy these video recipes. We love making them for you! 🙂
Print The Key Lime Cake Recipe ↓↓↓
Key Lime Coconut Cake
1 Recipe for Sponge Cake (makes two 9-inch cakes)
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
Key Lime Syrup Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 3 medium limes
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water
Key Lime Frosting Ingredients:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 16 oz cold sour cream, full fat
- 3 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed (from 2 medium limes)
- 1 Tbsp lime zest, from 2 medium limes
- 2 cups 7 oz sweetened shredded coconut
How to Make Key Lime Cake:
Toast coconut at 350˚F in a small baking pan in oven, stirring a few times, especially towards the end, until golden and dry, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Make 4-Ingredient Sponge Cake and set aside to cool. Get the recipe on natashaskitchen.com and be sure to watch the video tutorial.
How to Make Key Lime Frosting:
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar on high speed 3 minutes until whipped, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Beat in 16 oz cold sour cream until smooth (1 min on high). Add lime zest and juice and beat to combine (1 minute on high). Refrigerate frosting if not using right away.
How to Make Key Lime Cake Syrup:
In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 3/4 cup warm water and 3 Tbsp sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
How to Assemble Key Lime Cake:
Slice cake layers in half with a serrated knife. Place the first layer, cut-side-up on a cake platter. Brush with 1/4 of the lime syrup. Top with a generous amount of cream. Repeat with remaining cake layers then cover the entire cake with remaining cream.
Cover the entire cake generously with toasted and cooled coconut flakes, using your hands to scoop coconut onto the sides, pressing gently to adhere. The coconut flakes are crispiest if served right away but it is easier to slice the cake once it's had a chance to set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Cake can be covered and refrigerated up to a week. I've also frozen portions of it then thawed with great results - I loved it still partially frozen.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
Great recipe. Love the flavor. my first attempt failed so tried a second time right away within an hour even with cold eggs. I found that i had to beat the egg batter until it turns white pale and thick and to fold the flour gently from the center to the side. If the egg batter is thick but not white pale, it will deflate. The second batter rose beautifully and light :).
Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Yen!
First tasted this cake at a Florida BBQ and was sold.
Came home to NZ and recreated it for my sisters birthday, it was divine and I got so many compliments! Zesty, moist, light and not too sweet.
Perfection, thank you!
It is a wonderful cake. So glad it was enjoyed. Thank you for the review.
It works well with lemon too – I added lots more zest into the icing and used just lemon juice and sugar in the syrup (no water).
Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
Done this few times now, once I used lime and lemons (didn’t have enough lime) and used a little less sugar (I always cut down for all recipes, even sponge) and my family liked it better. This week made using only lime and some said it was divine :D, so thank you for sharing it, its a great cake
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Dov!
I’m a Canadian and the fullest fat sour cream we have here is 14%. Do you think my frosting will be runny? Is there anything else I can add to the frosting to help thicken it?
Hi Nancy, Canadian sour cream has a different consistency typically than US sour cream and it is runnier. I suspect that type of sour cream will not work well in this frosting or it will be runny.
Fellow Canadian here. I found the full fat sour cream in the yellow no name container from Great Canadian Superstore is nice and thick and works well in recipes such as these.
You can buy Gay Lea Gold sour cream. It is high fat content and very thick.
As to your previous comment about using full fat to the previous commenter, I used full fat and as she said pancake batter. I also kept my bowl, utensils cold!!! Just not a good frosting.
Was wondering how to thicken my frosting. Used cream cheese, sour cream and sugar like recipe and it’s like pancake batter. Stuck in fridge even added corn starch and still nothing. I’ve never seen this happen.
Hi Mary, if you use a loose or low-fat sour cream, that can happen. The frosting isn’t overly thick (it’s not pipeable) but also should not be like pancake batter.
A party in my palette!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I LOVE your recipes!
I want to make this cake, what do you think if I add lemon extract to the frosting or the batter?
I’m so glad you enjoyed that, Mariya! I bet that could work! If you experiment, I would love to know how you like that.
Hi Natasha, I tried making this and so far it looks fantastic! But my frosting is looking pretty runny and liquid-y. Is it supposed to be like that? Will it set if I refrigerate it for a while?
Hi Bea, the frosting is very soft, but should not be runny or liquid. I wonder if maybe you oversoftened the cream cheese. Also, make sure to use a regular thick sour cream. There are some varieties that can be runny like Canadian sour cream.
HI natasha … i love your recipes.. i really want to try this cake recipe. However, i seem to dont find any sour cream…can i use any other ingredients in place of sour cream?
Hi Jess, I honestly haven’t tried anything else but if I had to substitute, I would try a full fat, plain Greek yogurt first since it is similar in consistency and flavor. Again, I haven’t tested it but that would be my best guess.
Thanks natasha for your reply ..wll try it out thanks again
Could you please provide metric measurements (grams)? I would love to bake this beautiful cake.
Hi Kristina, We are currently working on adding metric measurements to all of our recipes but it is taking some time as we have to add them one at a time. Thank you so much for being patient! In the meantime, check out our post on measuring which should help
I made this cake yesterday. It’s divine! I made so many of your cakes, and they ALL turned out gorgeous and delicious! I’m so grateful to you. Thank you so much for your hard work!
Thank you for that wonderful compliment, Yelena!
Natasha, thanks for another wonderful recipe – came out perfect!!! I have a question though… do you think there’s a way to cut out some sugar without compromising the taste/texture too much? For instance, could i use less sugar in sponge cake recipe/syrup/frosting?
P.s. i also added some dark rum on layers, and it gave the cake a decadent flavor boost 🙂
Hi Jenya, Sugar allows the cake to retain moisture and aeration without going stale too quickly, altering that may affect the texture. That dark rum add on sounds tasty! Thanks for the awesome review!
Thank you Natasha! I made this cake 2 days ago for a birthday celebration and it was perfection! Light, moist and not too sweet! It was my first time making a biskvit, came out so well. Two days later it’s fresh and tasty, and I’m still getting compliments on the “most delicious cake”. Your recipes are always the best!
You’re welcome Tanya! I’m glad to hear how much you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for sharing your excellent review!
Can you please make the recepies also with gram indication? it never Comes out correct when I convert.
Hi Arthi, we have been working on adding the gram measurements in more recent recipes but with 800+ recipes, we honestly just haven’t found time to go through and convert every recipe in the archives. We may just need to hire someone to do that for us :).
This cake was amazing and very easy to make . I wish I could upload a picture. Thanks Natasha!
I’m happy to hear that Blair! I would love it if you joined our private Facebook group where you can share your yummy photos!!
Hey Natasha! I love your recipes! I wanted to make a 3 tiered cake for fathers day, how can I adjust the amount of batter? Thank you so much! 😘
Hi Mohi, you will have to estimate for various cake pan sizes. I have only experimented with this using a 9″ round cake pan or a 9×13 or a sheet pan.
Hi Natasha your recipes are amazing this key lime cake came out so well everybody loved it. can you please teach us how to make the best Red velvet cake.
Thank you for the suggestion! If I come up with something great, I will be sure to share it 🙂
I have used the filling recipe once before and found that the juice of 3 large limes
Can I use a regular key lime cake mix and if so could that be frozen too.
Hi Sharon, I’ve never tried freezing a cake from store-bought cake mix so I’m not sure how that would work. Also, the syrup would probably make a cake mix cake a little soggy. This sponge cake takes on moisture really well and doesn’t get soggy for days – we’ve had leftover slices refrigerated for up to 3 days and it was still enjoyable then 🙂
Natasha, have you tried this recipe with real key limes? Do you think it would be to tart?
Hi Lee, Hmmm… it might be with that much fresh lime juice..
can you turn this into a cupcake??
Can you post more cupcake recipes pretty please? 🙂
Hi Nadia, it would have to be a different batter recipe since this classic European sponge cake doesn’t work well in cake liners – I have tried and it sticks badly since there is no oil or butter in the cake. Have you seen all of our cupcake recipes? Find them all here 🙂
how many grams are in your cups ? your cakes look beautiful. Rooney
Daniel, 1 cup of sugar is 200 grams, 1 cup of flour is 128 grams, 3/4 cup water is 177 ml. Hope this helps.
Hi Daniel, thank you for that amazing compliment!! It is 130 grams in 1 cup.
I made this fantastic cake ,you are awesome
Thank you so much Martha! I’m glad to hear how much you enjoy the recipe!
I tried making this cake the other day and it didn’t rise very much. I wasn’t
even able to slice through each cake round to make 2 layers. I’m positive
I used baked powder and the 6 eggs plus flour that you called for in the recipe. Your thoughts. Thx,
Hi Pauline, have you had a chance to watch my sponge cake video? I have some great tips for success listed there. The primary reason why the classic European sponge cake won’t rise is if you don’t whip your eggs long enough at high speed. Watch this video and see if your batter looked the same. I hope that helps!
Yes I watched your video several times and watched it while making this sponge cake. I set my timer for 8 minutes to whip the eggs also just like you mentioned in the video.
Perhaps I will have better luck next time.
Hi Pauline, were your eggs at room temp and did you use regular granulated sugar? Also was it a high powered mixer?
Absolutely. I am a avid baker and usually I have great success with my baking.
The recipe doesn’t tell what temperature to cook the cake or how long to bake. Maybe I’m missing it, Please advise.
Hi Pamela, I have a couple of links to the sponge cake base above, but in chase you missed it, click here for those instructions. I use that sponge cake base for at least 15 different cake recipes so rather than post it over and over, I just made 1 sponge cake post. I hope you love it! 🙂
Thank you and I loved the video. I made the cake yesterday and it was awesome. I just shared your site with my sister and my niece. Look forward to trying more of your recipes.
You’re welcome Pamela! I am so glad to hear you enjoy the recipe! Thank you so much for sharing my blog 🙂
I made this cake last night just because I had all the ingredients already. Just had a piece of what cake and I loved it!! It is not your typical cake but nonetheless it was delicious. So moist!!!’ Thanks you for recipe.
Natasha, thank you for another great review 😁. I agree that it’s not a typical cake but sure tastes great!
Super yummy cake! Super moist and zesty lime flavors, with coconut crunch. Love it!
I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us!
Hi,Natasha. Can I make biskvit and freeze it,& when I need to just take it out & put cream and decorate it?
Olga, you can easily freeze this cake, just wrap each layer separately 😁.
No words to describe how good this cake is and how easy it is to make it! So moist, flavorful and not too sweet. Thanks so much for sharing!
Liya, thank you so much for that wonderful review 🙂
Liya, I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review!
One of my favorite cakes as of today! Love it, love it, love it!!!
Natalya, thank you for such a great review, your comment made me smile 😁.
Made this cake today and it is DELICIOUS!!! Thank you Natasha for all the recipes you do and sharing with everyone!
I’m so happy you liked it!!!! Thanks for sharing your great review 🙂
Hi Natasha. Can I use desiccated coconut for this recipe?
Hi Kim, I think that could work with the unsweetened coconut but I’m not sure if you would want to toast it and if you do, be careful not to over-toast since there is less moisture in desiccated coconut.
I’m drooling! This looks so delicious! Yum
Thank you so much Heidi 🙂
I made this cake for my dad’s birthday this weekend. I was worried because when I first baked the sponge cake it smelled really eggy. Once it all came together it was great! No eggy taste, the lime cream cheese topping was so delicious. I used Namaste flour to make this cake gluten free since one of my sisters is intolorent. I think it was just a tad denser because of the flour but it was still super yummy, everyone loved it. Will definitely make again! 😉
I’m so happy you enjoyed it!! The gal that shared the recipe with me also mentioned that it works well as a gluten free cake (which I totally forgot to mention in the post!! Updating that right now!). If it seemed eggy or dense at all, try beating the eggs minutes longer next time. Not all mixers work the same way and the way you are describing it sounds like it could have used just a little more time mixing :).
Thank you natasha i will definitely try this cake. Looks so delicous.
I hope you enjoy it! Thank you 🙂
This cake may be made with lemon juice and lemon zest and the coconut NOT toasted and then the cake is called a Lemon Coconut Snowball Cake. It has been a favorite of mine since it was created at the now closed, Lincoln Del in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The bakers have moved on to other locations and the cake is still sold. Your video is beautifully put together.
Hi Stu, that is brilliant!! I’m definitely trying that next time I make this cake! Do you use roughly the same amount of lemon juice and zest? Thanks for the awesome compliment 🙂
I have never made it, I buy a whole one for group get-togethers and single slices when it’s just for me! I love it. I would assume that you would use the same quantities of zest and juice. By the way, I enjoy reading your site and it warms my heart to read your story of coming to America and melding and blending and becoming a success and raising a fine family and still holding on to your roots. My roots are Eastern Europe and my cooking is so much like yours.
Thanks Stu! I will have to experiment :). I’m so glad to hear you enjoy and can relate to my site! It really is so nice to be able to share the foods that we grew up with 🙂
Simple but looks so delicious Natasha. Love it!
Thank you Valya, it was a fun cake to make 😀.
Hello Natasha, are there other good alternatives to coconut that you’d recommend? I’d love to make the cake, just have a few folks that hate coconut.
Hi Ella, you could try crushed toasted walnuts or pecans or sliced toasted almonds, just be sure the nuts are completely cooled before chopping and topping 🙂
Hi Natasha, this cake looks fabulous!!!!!can’t wait to make this recipe this month I know everyone will love it 😉
Thanks Nina! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Oh my, I have to try this cake! I recently discovered how good and different lime taste is, so been trying everything lime! Thank you Natasha for sharing this recipe with us!
I hope you LOVE it! Thanks Olya 😁.