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This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and instant pudding!) to make it the easiest, most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had.

Lemon bundt cake with strawberries and a silver fork on a white plate.

I love from-scratch baking, but when it comes to lemon cake, I’ve been known to reach for the boxed mix. Why? Because the color and flavor are hard to beat with actual lemons, no matter how ripe and juicy they are.

In fact, many restaurants and bakeries all over the country use lemon cake mixes in their lemon baked goods. It’s the best way to ensure that strong lemony flavor (and the bright yellow color). They just never talk about it.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for lemon bundt cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Instant lemon pudding: Can’t find lemon pudding? Vanilla tastes great too! Most of the lemon flavor comes from the cake mix, so you don’t lose too much flavor with vanilla pudding. I tested this to make sure.
  • Vegetable oil: Readers have reported that substituting ½ cup applesauce for the ½ cup oil works perfectly. To quote Karen from the comments, “[I] saved over 800 calories per whole cake without any noticeable difference in taste or texture.”
  • Lemon zest: Zest the lemons before you cut them in half for juice. To zest a lemon, hold a grater in one hand and the lemon in the other over a cutting board or clean work surface. Going in one direction, push the lemon away from you across the rough side of the grater, removing the colorful part of the fruit, exposing the pith. Gently rotate the lemon as you go.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat large Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and pudding mix. Add water, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs and whisk to combine. Pour into prepared pan.
Lemon bundt cake slices on white plates with strawberries.
  1. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan. Invert on to cooling rack set over a baking sheet and cool completely.
Lemon bundt cake slices on white plates with strawberries.
  1. To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake and let glaze harden for at least 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with fresh strawberries if desired.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 12 slices (or fewer bigger slices, depending on how you cut them).
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
  • Bundt pan size: Any 12-cup bundt pan will work.
  • Greasing the pan: Be very generous with your nonstick spray or shortening. Nothing ruins a bundt like a stuck cake!
  • Lemon Jell-O: There are other cakes in the world that use lemon Jell-O instead of pudding. The amount of eggs, water, oil, etc. are different for cakes made with Jell-O. This recipe has only been tested with pudding.
  • Blueberries: Fold 6 ounces fresh blueberries into the batter at the end of Step 2 (do not use more than 6 ounces). Bake as directed.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Made with fresh or frozen berries and lemon-flavored boxed cake mix for a shortcut, this Lemon Blueberry Cake is equal parts refreshing and rich. Try this lemon dessert recipe as a bundt cake, sheet cake,…

1 hour 15 minutes
View Recipe

More lemon desserts

A slice of lemon bundt cake on a white plate with strawberries.

Lemon Bundt Cake

This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and instant pudding!) to make it the easiest, most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. 
4.98 from 340 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 367

Ingredients 

For the cake:

  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 3 ounces instant lemon pudding mix (see note 1)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (see note 3)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
  • 4 large eggs

For the glaze:

Instructions 

To make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat large Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and pudding mix. Add water, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs and whisk to combine.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 40 minutes.
  • Cool 15 minutes in pan. Invert on to cooling rack set over a baking sheet and cool completely.

To make the glaze:

  • Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake and let glaze harden for at least 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve with fresh strawberries if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Instant lemon pudding: Can’t find lemon pudding? Vanilla tastes great too! Most of the lemon flavor comes from the cake mix, so you don’t lose too much flavor with vanilla pudding. I tested this to make sure.
  2. Vegetable oil: Readers have reported that substituting ½ cup applesauce for the ½ cup oil works perfectly. To quote Karen from the comments, “[I] saved over 800 calories per whole cake without any noticeable difference in taste or texture.”
  3. Lemon zest: Zest the lemons before you cut them in half for juice. To zest a lemon, hold a grater in one hand and the lemon in the other over a cutting board or clean work surface. Going in one direction, push the lemon away from you across the rough side of the grater, removing the colorful part of the fruit, exposing the pith. Gently rotate the lemon as you go.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 12 slices (or fewer bigger slices, depending on how you cut them).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
  6. Bundt pan size: Any 12-cup bundt pan will work.
  7. Greasing the pan: Be very generous with your nonstick spray or shortening. Nothing ruins a bundt like a stuck cake!

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 367kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 374mgPotassium: 55mgFiber: 1gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 90IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. I discovered your recipe a while back and I’m just now leaving a review. This is my favorite lemon cake recipe! My family expects this lemon cake on the dessert table for every holiday. This recipe has become a part of our holiday traditions. Thank you!5 stars

    1. You’re welcome, Melissa! It’s wonderful that it’s become a family tradition! Thank you so much for taking the time to write a comment. Happy holidays!

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