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Carlota de Limón, also known as postre de limón, is a refreshing and creamy Mexican icebox cake that is sure to please any dessert lover.
Along with mantecadas, this was my favorite dessert as a kid.
Made with key limes and layers of cookies, this easy dessert is made with a handful of ingredients and doesn’t require any baking.
This carlota dessert is made with Galletas Maria. Look for them in the Hispanic sections at the grocery stores or BUY ONLINE.
You can substitute them with butter cookies or graham crackers if you can’t find them.
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Some say it was an alternation of the “charlotte russe” invented by the French chef, Marie-Antoine Carême, who named it after the wife of Zar Nicolai I.
While others say it was named after Charlotte, the wife of King George III of England.
Whoever the real inventor is left us with a delicious recipe.
- To a blender, add sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and evaporated milk.
- Blend until smooth, and you achieve a creamy texture.
- Taste the milk mixture for good measure. It should taste like key lime pie.
I’m using the juice of about 10 key limes. If you are using regular limes, juice about 5-6. Be sure to remove any lime seeds that made it through the juicer holes.
Get a spoon and scrape out everything inside the can of sweetened condensed milk.
Along with the evaporated milk, that’s what gives this carlota de limón recipe its creamy consistency.
For a Creamier Texture:
You can also add cream cheese for a richer and creamier texture, but it’s not necessary.
- Next, get a large baking dish or casserole dish, and add about ¼ cup of the lime mixture, spreading it evenly using the back of a spoon.
- Then, add a layer of Maria cookies over the lime mixture, and pour a little bit more of the lime mixture on top, enough to cover the cookies.
- Continue layering the cookies and lime mixture until you run out of ingredients.
Mexican recipes don’t come any easier than this!
You might need to break the whole cookies to cover the entire surface of the baking dish.
Create layer after layer until there are no ingredients. I used almost 2 full sleeves.
- The top layer should be that of the lime mixture. That way, you can decorate the top.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours to allow the cookies to absorb the lime mixture.
I decorated the final layer with thin slices of lime and lime zest. Or, consider using a springform pan to show off the layers. Another way to show off the layers is to assemble it in a trifle dish.
Since you can make the “pastel carlota” ahead of time, consider making it for your next dinner party.
To serve, slice the cake into small squares. Serve cold. If you want to take it up a notch, serve with a drizzle of dulce de leche.
Very important! Do not take the Mexican lemon cake out of the fridge just ready to serve.
When storing, simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to five days.
More Mexican Desserts
Carlota de Limón is a classic Mexican dessert made with key limes and layers of cookies.
Easy to make, deliciously light and tangy, and can be made ahead of time. It’s a perfect dessert for any occasion.
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Carlota de Limón
- Juice the limes and set aside.
- To a blender, add the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice
- Blend until smooth.
- To a large Pyrex plate or decorative dish, add about ¼ cup of the lime mixture.
- Add a layer of Maria cookies.
- Break the cookies in half to cover the areas open areas.
- Add some of the lime mixtures. About ½ cup.
- With your spatula, spread evenly over the cookies.
- Add another layer of the Maria cookies.
- Add some of the lime mixtures. About ½ cup.
- Using your spatula, spread the lime mixture.
- Continue layering until there are no more ingredients left.
- Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours.
- Decorate with lime zest, slices of lime, or fruit.
This post was recently updated. You might remember the old pictures.
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.