Tuesday Treats & Titles: Hard Target Key Lime Cake

It’s really warm outside. And humid. No sea breeze here so I thought it would be fun to visit Key West and Barefoot Bay in Florida. That where the Hard Target teams has their HQ. Key West, I mean. But they make a quick rescue trip to Barefoot Bay in DOUBLE TROUBLE (Hard Target 1.5). And if we’re going down there, you know we have to have dessert made with Key limes, right? Right! My friend Karrie, who is an amazing cook and baker, shared the link for this recipe. CLICK HERE to get more tips and info.


Cake mix. Use vanilla, white or yellow cake mix, or for even more citrus flavor use lemon cake mix. Make sure NOT to use angel food cake mix.

Ingredients. Instead of the ingredients listed on the box – we’re using ½ oil, ¾ sour cream, 3 eggs, ⅓ cup fresh lime juice and 2 tablespoons lime zest. The sour cream makes the cake extra moist and using 3 eggs ensures that it’s really tender.



PREP. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 325°F if using a glass pan). Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

WHISK. Add the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, ½ c oil, lime juice and lime zest to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

BAKE. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 27-32 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and if you give the pan a gentle nudge the cake doesn’t wobble in the middle.

COOL. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.


HEAT. In a small saucepan over low heat add the lime juice and sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves while gently stirring.

BRUSH. When the cake is out of the oven, take a small pastry brush or a spoon and brush/drizzle the syrup over top.

HEAT. In a small saucepan over low heat add the lime juice and sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves while gently stirring.

BRUSH. When the cake is out of the oven, take a small pastry brush or a spoon and brush/drizzle the syrup over top.


TOP. Spread the whipped topping over top of the cooled cake. Then sprinkle with lime zest.

SERVE. Cut into slices and serve.

Other topping ideas:

  • Use whipped topping, or homemade whipped cream. Then decorate with a little lime zest.
  • If whipped cream is not your favorite cake topping, try cream cheese frosting. This would give it a sweeter and richer taste, but you could still add lime zest on top to bring in the citrus flavor.
  • Another topping idea is to add a dusting of powdered sugar to the top of the cake and then grate lime zest over the top.

Limes. 6-7 key limes should provide enough juice for the recipe since each lime gives 2-3 teaspoons.

Lime syrup. After the cake is baked, we brush a simple key lime syrup made from sugar and lime juice. If you prefer a more mild lime flavor, feel free to skip this step.

Green food coloring. If you would like to make the cake green like key limes, you can add a drop or two of food coloring. If you are worried about changing the taste or texture of the batter I would suggest gel food coloring because it requires very little to make the color appear.

Key limes are known for being grown in the Florida Keys, hence their name, but they grow all over Florida, in CA and in Mexico. Key limes are typically smaller and more yellow than regular limes. Key limes are also more tart which makes their flavor shine through the sweetness of many desserts. Fresh squeezed key lime juice can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

Seems pretty easy-peasy to me! And Peni, our intrepid heroine in DOUBLE TROUBLE (Hard Target 1.5), which is set in Roxanne St. Clair’s Barefoot Bay World and stars my Hard Target team and a couple of surprise cameos that will make sense once I get off my duff and finish the Boston Mafia book, is all about the easy peasy. As the mother of twins and true love of Nick Karras, she pretty much has her hands full. Being on the run from underworld criminals doesn’t leave much time for baking. 😉 It’s available in wide distribution so just click on the title, or any pic with the cover to head over to the Books2Read landing page to find your favorite on-line bookstore.


About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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