Lemon-Lime Poke Cake


Garnished with lemon and lime slices, this easy cake screams summer.

Lemon-Lime Poke Cake in a rectangle blue pan
Photo: Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
15 mins
Bake Time:
30 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins

If you're looking to add extra moisture and flavor to your sheet cake, allow us to introduce you to the poke cake. A poke cake is exactly what it sounds like—it uses the handy technique of quite literally poking holes all over the top of a baked cake, creating channels through which filling can seep down into the cake. In this recipe for Lemon-Lime Poke Cake, we use mixture of citrus-spiked sweetened condensed milk and buttermilk to add a double-dose of moisture to standard white cake. This custardy mixture bears resemblance to the filling you'll find in Key lime pie, but with both lemon and lime juices, it channels all of our favorite citrus flavors.

Lemon and lime zest mixed right into the cake batter bring a pop of citrus to the sponge. Buttermilk keeps this cake particularly moist, and thanks to a box of white cake mix, you don't have to fuss around with any preparation for the dry ingredients. This lemon lime cake is quick to prepare and makes use of ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.


  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 (15.25-oz.) pkg. white cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (from 1 lime)

  • 1 ⅓ cups whole buttermilk, divided

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)

  • 1 ½ (8-oz.) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed

  • Lemon and lime slices, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with baking spray.

  2. Beat cake mix, eggs, oil, lemon and lime zests, and 1 cup of the buttermilk in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan.

  3. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lemon and lime juices, and remaining ⅓ cup buttermilk until smooth. While the cake is still warm and using the round handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over top of cake, about 1 ½ inches apart. Pour condensed milk mixture over cake, spreading evenly over top with a spatula. Cool until room temperature, about 1 hour.

  5. Spread whipped topping over top. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Garnish with lemon and lime slices, if desired. Cake can be stored, covered, without whipped topping, in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Spread with whipped topping just before serving.

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