In honor of the last weekend of the summer season and the bright, fresh flavors that come with it, we decided to remix a classic summer pie to create our August recipe, Key Lime Cake. The cake starts with a graham cracker-laced batter that’s buttery and rich like your favorite graham cracker crust but bakes into a gorgeously fluffy, tender crumb. Baked in the Nordic Ware Charlotte Cake Pan, which features an indent in the top perfect for fillings and frostings, the cake gets topped with swirled, silky-smooth Key Lime Custard. Both tangy and sweet, the citrusy custard is then embellished with a piped border of Swiss Meringue. A quick pass of a kitchen torch over the meringue is the finishing touch that provides a slight toasted marshmallow flavor along with a gorgeous contrasting golden color to offset the light yellow hue of the cake and custard. Though these flavors may be familiar, this cake is sure to wow.
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- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (32 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- Key Lime Custard (recipe follows)
- Swiss Meringue (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
- Spray a Nordic Ware 6-Cup Charlotte Cake Pan with baking spray with flour. Using a pastry brush, spread any excess spray in pan, blotting brush with a paper towel as needed. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on a kitchen towel-lined counter several times to settle batter and release any air bubbles.
- Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.
- Transfer cake to a serving plate. Fill with Key Lime Custard, spreading with an offset spatula.
- Place Swiss Meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch open star piping tip (Ateco #825). Pipe meringue as desired. Using a handheld kitchen torch, carefully brown meringue as desired. Serve immediately.
- 4 large egg yolks (74 grams)
- 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) cornstarch
- 1 cup (306 grams) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) packed lime zest
- 6 tablespoons (90 grams) Key lime juice (from bottle)
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk and lime zest and juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites (60 grams)
- In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together sugar and egg whites by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking frequently, until sugar completely dissolves and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).
- Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until stiff peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Constructing Your Cake
We show you the finishing touches in creating a Key Lime Cake that’s sure to impress
1. Transfer cake to a serving plate. Fill with Key Lime Custard, spreading with an offset spatula.
2. Place Swiss Meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch open star piping tip (Ateco #825). Pipe meringue as desired. Using a handheld kitchen torch, carefully brown meringue as desired. Serve immediately.
No lime in the lime cake?
The cake itself is meant to mimic the graham cracker crust of a Key lime pie, so the cake layer doesn’t contain lime. However, the Key Lime Custard packs a powerful, zesty punch with both Key lime juice and lime zest. So, the cake contains all the classic components of a Key lime pie with plenty of lime flavor. If you’d like to incorporate lime into your cake, you can add some lime zest for extra flavor.
Hope this helps, and happy baking!