Key Lime Sheet Cake


A sheet cake is the answer when you are looking for the ideal dessert that is easy to make, easy to transport, and feeds a crowd. Even if you are a fan of the tall and stately layer cake, you will find a variation of your favorite recipe reimagined as a one-layer bake-and-take sheet cake. Many sheet cakes are made strictly from scratch but, for this tangy, creamy, colorful lime-flavored treat, we start with a box cake mix and add in other old-school convenience products such as lime-flavored gelatin and frozen whipped topping. Don't skimp and buy bottled lime juice, however. Fresh juice is so much better, so take the extra time to juice your limes. Poke the cake to help the gelatin absorb into the cake; this also produces colorful green streaks that are revealed when the cake is cut. Spread the silky whipped topping across the entire cake, or leave a slight border around the edges, for looks. Garnish with thin lime slices and mint.

Key Lime Sheet Cake
Photo: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Dickey, Prop Styling: Kay E Clarke
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 10 mins
Serves 24 (serving size: 1 piece)


  • 1 (16 1/4-oz.) package super moist white cake mix (such as Betty Crocker)

  • 1 cup cold water

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large eggs

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 (3-oz.) package lime-flavored gelatin

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

  • 3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk (from 2 [14-oz.] cans)

  • 2 tablespoons lime zest, plus 2/3 cup fresh juice (from 6 large limes), divided

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 (8-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

  • 1 medium lime, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat together cake mix, cold water, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour batter into a 17- x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet coated with baking spray; spread batter evenly. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Place on a wire rack; using a fork, liberally prick holes all over top of warm cake.

  2. Whisk together gelatin and hot water in a small heatproof bowl until gelatin is dissolved. Pour mixture over surface of warm cake, letting it soak into cake. Let cake cool 30 minutes.

  3. Process cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the lime zest in a food processor until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour mixture over cooled cake; spread into an even layer. Chill until top is set, about 8 hours or overnight.

  4. Spread cake with whipped topping; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon lime zest, and decorate with lime slices. Slice and serve.

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