Decadent Key Lime Pound Cake

There are so many quintessential summer desserts:  pies, cobblers, and crisps filled with berries, peaches, or cherries; ice creams and sorbets; brownies and cakes; and of course the classics like strawberry shortcake and s’mores.  So, when it comes to choosing a dessert to make, it can be hard to pick just one! So far this summer I’ve made a peach cobbler, a pineapple upside down cake, Banana Pudding Cupcakes, Cannoli Dip with pizzellas, Peanut Butter Pie, and a Cherry Tart.  Typing all that out makes me realize that’s really a bit excessive; wow!

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We had some friends over for dinner last weekend, and I decided I wanted a Key Lime Pound Cake. I thought about doing another peach cobbler, but really that is best served warm out of the oven, and I didn’t want to have to prepare it while the guests were here.  The pound cake came together in the morning, and was cooled and iced before the guests arrived later in the afternoon.  This is a semi-homemade recipe, which makes it even easier, and the lime flavor is nice – not overpowering at all.  The cream cheese icing is decadent and really adds a nice creamy sweetness to the slightly tart flavor of the cake. The recipe is adapted from the recipe for Key Lime Pie Bundt Cake from Chef in Training.

The great thing about pound cakes (besides the fact that there are thousands of variations and flavors) is that it is so easy to serve – put it in the middle of the table as your centerpiece, and easily slice pieces to pass around.

Key Lime Pound Cake

1 Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box Jell-o Instant Vanilla Pudding
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup oil
¾ cup key lime juice (I use Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)

Icing
12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
Lime zest
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake mix, instant pudding, and sugar.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, oil and lime juice then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing on low for 30-45 seconds. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla, then mix on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the green food coloring if you wish and mix in (don’t add too much or it will look very “fake,” just a couple drops to give it a subtle, light green shade).

Grease and flour a 10 cup bundt cake pan and bake on the center rack of your oven for 45 minutes. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for five minutes before carefully turning it out onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before frosting it.

Make the icing:

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and vanilla on high until fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate it into the cream cheese.  Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, add the lime juice and beat on high for 3 minutes, until it is nice and creamy. The icing is very thick, so it’s easier to pipe it onto the cake, rather than spreading it with a spatula (doing so runs the risk of breaking the cake).  Sprinkle lime zest over the top of the cake, and serve.  You can keep this at room temperature for up to three days.

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