The drink that made New England famous – it’s a piece of cake.

Ever heard of a lime rickey?


Then you’ve missed one of summer’s most refreshing drinks.

At its simplest, the lime rickey is a mixture of carbonated water (seltzer), lime juice, and simple syrup (sugar). In elevated form, it includes alcohol; the mojito is its kissing cousin.

And if you’re talking strictly ice cream fountain fare, the lime rickey is often enhanced with other flavored syrups – most often raspberry, if you live in New England.

Which I do. And have, for over 50 years.

I’ve actually lived in all 6 New England states – how’s that for embracing a region? Childhood was spent in Connecticut, and teenage years in Massachusetts. I went to college in Rhode Island, spent 14 years of young adulthood in Maine, and touched down very briefly in Vermont while house-hunting in New Hampshire – where I’ve been for the past 20 years.

Right now, with warm weather upon us and school about to let out for the summer, I’m thinking Massachusetts. And remembering hot summer days riding my bike miles and miles through the coastal towns south of Boston, where I knew every bakery, candy store, and ice cream shop.

Which, if you’re talking ice cream in Massachusetts, means, Friendly’s, or Brigham’s.

Oh sure, Dairy Queen has its outposts in the Bay State; heck, my 17-year-old niece is slinging Buster Bars in the Abington DQ right now. But for REAL Massachusetts ice cream, it has to be Mass. natives Friendly’s (Springfield, 1935), or Brigham’s (Boston, 1924).

Friendly’s lays claim to my favorite-ever ice cream: the chocolate-marshmallow they offered back in the ’70s, regrettably long gone. Deep-chocolate ice cream, laced with sticky swirls of white marshmallow (could it have been Fluff, another New England favorite?).

Sure, Friendly’s Banana Royale sundae was awesome; and their Jim Dandy, with its 5 scoops of ice cream, would feed four of us after field hockey practice (and RIGHT before dinner; who cared about calories back then?). But a bowl of chocolate-marshmallow topped with crunchy salted almonds was, simply… heaven

And Brigham’s – where else are you going to get frozen pudding ice cream? Or rum raisin (sadly, no longer a featured flavor)?

Or Raspberry Lime Rickey Sherbet?

It’s true – Brigham’s, long the best resource for an ice-cold raspberry lime rickey on a sultry day, has taken that concept and put it in the freezer case. I’m thinking a raspberry lime rickey float with you-know-what-kind of ice cream.

Not planning a trip to New England? This lime cake, with its raspberry topping, is a tribute to Brigham’s favorite summertime drink.

Here’s a wonderful ingredient, if you love lime: lime oil, perfect for beefing up lime flavor in cake, cookies, muffins, icing, pie…

Let’s make the raspberry sauce first. You’ll need 3 1/2 to 4 cups raspberries; frozen are fine.

Mix the berries with 1 tablespoon Pie Filling Enhancer, for thickening; and 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste. The Pie Filling Enhancer will keep the raspberries from separating into liquid juice and berries.

Stir to combine.

The enhancer works instantly, thickening the berries as you stir.

On the left, berries with enhancer; on the right, without enhancer. See the difference?

Set the sauce aside while you make the cake. There’s no need to refrigerate it unless you don’t plan on serving the cake till hours and hours later, or the next day.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.

Put 1 cup room-temperature unsalted butter, 2 cups sugar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a mixing bowl.

Beat till smooth.

Next, add 4 large eggs. Get them out and set them on the counter, so you don’t reach into the carton and lose track of how many you’ve added.

Don’t you love how these eggs are standing at attention, unable to roll around (and fall on the floor)? It’s a little trick I learned recently at our Baking Education Center. Hold an egg with its fat (wide) part towards the bottom, and give it a gentle tap on the counter. It’ll just barely crack, at the same time forming a flat base for itself. No rockin’ – no rollin’!

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

The batter will be fluffy, and a bit grainy; that’s OK.

Stir in 2 teaspoons baking powder.

Add 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour alternately with 1 cup milk.

Try to get all of the flour into the bowl, as I’m NOT doing here. Just one of those photo-snapping instances when 3 hands and 2 pairs of eyes would have been useful…

Flour, then milk; flour, then milk… ending with flour.

NOW you have a nice, thick, fluffy batter!

Grate the rind from 2 limes. A Microplane grater/zester works swell.

Stir the zest into the batter. If you’re using lime oil instead of zest, now’s the time to add it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Use a spatula to smooth it into the corners.

Like this.

Bake the cake for 25 to 33 minutes, or until the top is starting to brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake  is baking, make the glaze.

Combine the following:

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2/3 cup sugar, superfine preferred; Baker’s Special Sugar is a good choice here

This cake looks done; let’s take it out.

Use a spatula to loosen the edges.

Use a skewer or toothpick to poke the top of the cake all over. Don’t poke all the way to the bottom of the pan; just about halfway down.

Stir the glaze to combine, and immediately brush it onto the hot cake; be generous.

Let it sink in for about 5 minutes, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.

For an extra touch, shake together 1/2 cup coarse white sparkling sugar and 1/8 teaspoon lime oil in a screw-top jar.

Sprinkle the sugar over the glaze-topped cake.

For plain lime lovers, serve as is.

For those willing to do the lime rickey route, add a dollop of raspberry sauce.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Raspberry Lime Rickey Cake.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Bren

    WOW! Did you bring back some memories!! My grandfather was a soda jerk way back when and he used to make us homemade lime rickeys all summer long! We always suspected that the ones he made for Gram were “special” – LOL!

    And yes, yes, YES to Friendly’s Chocolate Marshmallow. NO ONE else remembers it but I sure do! I experimented last summer with the ice cream maker and a bunch of recipes and when I perfect it, I will share it with you!

    Thank you for this recipe, all the others that you share and this nostalgic glimpse into what appears to be a somewhat shared past!

  2. Cher

    1) Now I can’t get the Friendly’s song out of my head (and the relentless urge for “nuts over caramel” ice cream).

    “…where ice cream makes the meal. I wanna go to Friendly’s – ye-ah, ye-ah”

    2) I must also confess that I have a serious addiction to USA Pans. Any further comments might be incriminating!

  3. Erin in PA

    This sounds so refreshing! Tonight I am making a chocolate cake with salted caramel filling for the last day of school tomorrow (!), but next week I may have to take this in for a teacher inservice snack! Thanks!

  4. KimberlyD

    How about mixing the raspberry sauce into whip cream and frost the cake with it. Kind of like they use to do with those jell-o cakes that use to be popular in the 1980’s.

    This sounds great, I bet taste great too!

    It sounds delicious! Give it a try and let us know how it comes out. Molly @ KAF

  5. Wei-Wei

    Oh, my gosh. This is amazing. I love how it’s based on a drink! I’m drooling especially over that glaze… I’d definitely have it on its own and get all the lime flavahhhh! XD


  6. Kathleen

    Oh, I just love lime rickeys and if a sonic drive-in is nearby you, they still hve very good lime rickeys. I know I will be making this cake as I love almost all things citrus.

  7. Dawne Strickland

    Thought you were gonna publish a recipe for a lime rickey?? . . . . I’ve been craving one for two weeks now!!
    Here you go!
    3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
    1 ounce Simple Syrup
    Club soda
    Lime-peel spiral, for garnish
    Molly @ KAF

  8. samanthasmom

    New Englander here who loves lime rickeys, especially raspberry ones, but I have to admit that when I saw just the headline, I thought you were going to make “Teacakes”. lol I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Maybe I’ll make it into tiny teacakes.

  9. Lesley

    I remember the Banana Royale! Way better than a banana split. When I was little I wasn’t able to eat chocolate (happily I got over that) and I used to get a strawberry sundae with hot marshmallow over vanilla ice cream at Brighams. Our little town didn’t have many places to go, but we had Brigham’s and Friendly’s.

  10. Jenn in Willi CT

    Loved, loved, loved Friendly’s chocolate marshmallow. To this day, anywhere I go to get a sundae – it has to have marshmallow as the topping. Growing up my Nana would always get me the raspberry Fluff as a special treat when we could find it. But this cake has my mom (Key Lime pie lover) written all over it! I’ll be sending her the recipe pronto.

    I have seen Cumberland Farms brand chocolate marshmallow ice cream, and Edy’s (I think) has a flavor called Hot Cocoa which is chocolate with mini marshmallows in it – it’s pretty good – not dark chocolate – more creamy chocolate flavor.

    And have you seen the new Campfire Giant Marshmallows?? Had some great fun toasting those over the holiday weekend 🙂 (sorry, I got sidetracked by the marshmallow!)

  11. FRAN S

    What is the tool you are using to loosen the baked cake from the pan? Is that something you sell? I have something similar I use for my non-stick muffin pans, but it is getting kind of beat and I’d like to replace it.
    Is pie filling enhancer the same as instant clear gel?
    P.S. My favorite Friendly’s treat is their coffee ice cream with real chocolate sprinkles. I buy your real choc sprinkles to try to replicate the flavor. That tool is the large size spreader from our nylon spreader set, item 7914. They are the most used tools in my kitchen..
    Pie Filling Enhancer is Instant Clear Jel already mixed with some super fine sugar. We sell it both ways. Mary@ KAF


  12. Chrisea

    I know what you are talking about! Raspbery lime rickeys on hot summer days at the Brigham’s in Hingham Square. That is true summer nostalgia. I’m heading to the store for limes and raspberries now.

    You got it, Chris – Brigham’s next to the 5 & 10¢ store, what was its name??? And Loring Hall, the movie theater. I’d ride my bike from Crow Point to the penny candy shop and Weinberg’s Bakery in Hull, then stop by Brigham’s for a raspberry lime rickey on the way home. Sweet days… PJH

  13. Melodie

    I will definitely try this one! I love lime drinks; we call them “Fresh Lime”
    instead of Lime Rickey out here in Utah.

  14. Liliana Szachury

    So good!!!! I think I will do this cake in my “Cathedral Bundt pan” it was a gifth in my birthday and it will be so beautiful with the coarse sugar!!! thanks for the idea……

  15. Susan from Oregon

    This one is definitely on my to-do list! I love lime-flavored anything! PJ, could you tell me the reasoning behind alternating between the flour and the liquid when making cake batters? I’ve always wondered what the purpose of this step is. And do you — or anyone else in the test kitchen — have an opinion on those magic strips that you soak in water and wrap around cake pans to keep them from doming while baking? Do you think they work? Are they worth it? Thanks again for all that you guys do!

    Hi Susan,
    Great questions. The reason we alternate dry and wet ingredients all comes down to that baking basic, gluten. Because you don’t want as much gluten development in cakes as you do in breads, you add some of the flour mixture is so that the flour will get coated in fat to “protect” it from forming gluten when you add the liquid. Also, by adding all the liquid at once, you would break down the nice homogenized egg/butter/sugar mixture you had going on, and you’d end up overmixing trying to get it all incorporated. (Thanks Pastry Chef Elisabeth!)

    The cake strips do work very nicely. I use mine at home quite often. PJ, how ‘about you? ~ MaryJane

  16. Sarah Schroeder

    Lime Ricky ………. a blast from the past.

    A question popped into my mind looking at the pan you baked the the lime cake in, maybe these people would know which pan to use on the boat. We live on our great boat and I have gone through several morphs in the galley but all of the cake and bunt, pans I have used rust, except the two old Mirro 9″ cake pans. I try to stay away from glass, Pyrex types for obvious reasons. Any suggestions. Thanks, Sarah

    I think our USA Pans would work fine – they’re steel/aluminum, but coated with a very tough coating which not only makes them non-stick, but should keep them rust-free as well… Other than that, you’d want to use plain aluminum, which doesn’t rust. Hope this helps – PJH

  17. Stefanie from NH

    OMG! What a trip down memory lane for me when I read this blog. My mom’s parents lived in Somerville, MA. As kids we’d go visit Nana & Lolly
    every summer. We’d walk to Harvard Square to the Brigham’s there and have a raspberry lime rickey.
    My mom has made her own version of this treat. The grandkids all love it and ask to make one when they visit grandma. It’s just a glass of Sprite
    (wasn’t soda known as tonic in MA or, at least, the Boston area?) on the rocks with some raspberry syrup (Torani or Monin) added.
    I can’t wait to share your recipe with my Mom.
    Thank-you so much,

    Make that “tawnic,” Stefanie… Indeed, I had to learn a whole new food language when I moved to Mass. as a 13-year-old. Tonic, frappe, subs… a milkshake that was just milk and syrup… Glad we could bring back some good memories! PJH

  18. Mary

    Love the sound of this recipe! Can you use corn starch instead of the enhancer?

    Mary, cornstarch needs to be heated to thicken, so you can use it if you want to cook the raspberries with the cornstarch till thick. PJH

  19. Jennifer

    oh PJ, a blast from the past! we used to go to Friendlys as a treat on weekends – they had the best burgers and the Fribble was awesome. and I DO remember the Jim Dandy and the banana split… i can’t wait to try this cake – perhaps for Father’s Day? =)

  20. Mares

    I remember raspberry lime rickies, used to get them, or the occasional strawberry soda at the soda fountain at Delekta’s Pharmacy in Warren, RI as a teenager. We have Friendly’s here in RI, but my preference was for Newport Creamery, with their Awful Awfuls and my ice cream fave was unrock chocolate (dark chocolate ice cream with little bits of fudgey brownie, or of course maple walnut.

    Love this cake recipe, I’ll have to give it a try this coming weekend.

    I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the Awful Awful! I went to college in R.I., and Newport Creamery was a real treat when you could find someone with a car to take you… Thanks for a nice (sweet) memory! PJH

  21. Sonny

    Well America ZaRex concentrated drink mix orange, fruit punch, raspberry with lemonlime are now in production. ZaRex USA located in Massachusetts are ready to meet those demands of ZaRex fans. Visit or call 781-261-3396 for updates. Best lime rickies are made with ZaRex.

    Sorry, Sonny, I never liked Zarex – too syrupy sweet for me… But – to each his own. So thanks for sharing! PJH

  22. Brian

    ZaRex was a good drink…much better than the competition, and if it was too sweet you needed to adjust it to your taste (just like food). It was always a great base for a fruit punch or a flavor to spice up any drink or food that needed that particular flavor. In mixed drinks (alcoholic or not) trained barkeeps like it the best because it is naturally flavored and lacked a chemical aftertaste that all of the rest have.
    As far as sno-cones (shaved ice in a cup with syrup over it…the best!
    If you do not mind a suggestion, I think you need to revisit and adjust the mix to your liking, every food and spice (add to taste) has its’ place; if you keep an open mind we may even get you to taste Moxie again (this time, try it with vanilla bean ice-cream in a float…yum!).
    ZaRex was meant as a base or syrup but it could be mixed to drink, but like any good base it is so much better with the additions(have you ever eaten lobster all by its self…wow..good example!).
    Well…you work on that, and I think your world will be soooo expanded; and like mom always said,”you’re not leaving the table until you at least try it” she made things for your pleasure also, as again ZaRex is there for you again…be a good chef, and adjust!

  23. msille

    Here is an easy Raspberry Lime Rickey recipe — adults only

    In a tall glass filled with ice, add 1-2 ounces of Raspberry Chambord (amount depends on how strong you want the raspberry flavor). Squeeze half a lime into the glass. Fill to the top with either Diet or Regular Sprite and stir gently.

    I am SO there… thanks! PJH

  24. Dolores

    I lived in R. I. for 72 years – 7 of them in Newport and The Newport Creamry is hard to beat.

    Oh, my… LOVE Newport Creamery, Dolores! I surely did enjoy their “Awful Awfuls” during my 4 years in RI! PJH

  25. msille

    I made this as cupcakes. I still used the glaze but did not sprinkle the cupcakes with sugar. I cored the cupcakes and filled them with the raspberry mixture. Then I made buttercream frosting substituting lime juice for the milk and garnished each one with a raspberry. Everyone loved them. You get 24 cupcakes. Takes about 20-22 minutes to bake.

    Oh, boy, doesn’t THAT sound good! I love it when people share their own personalized version of a recipe with us. Thanks! PJH


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