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.

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
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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 273 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:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh strawberries for serving, optional

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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Comments

  1. I love this recipe! Just wondering if you think it would work in a sheet pan? I’m envisioning covering it with a whip cream frosting and berries.5 stars

    1. Hi Mandy, I’ve never tried this so I can’t say for sure. Sorry about that! – Meggan

  2. My family loved this recipe! It is very easy to follow and the taste of lemon was amazing. It’s a wonderful cake if you want a strong flavor of lemon which I am always looking for! I will definitely make this again.5 stars

  3. This cake is fantastic. I may have made a “mistake” with the glaze as it soaked into the cake, rather than dripped on top. I hope I can make the same “mistake” again! I think I put too much lemon juice in the glaze.

    Young and old LOVED this cake. I cannot wait to bake it again. It is easy and delicious!5 stars

  4. Hi…this sounds lovely!…I bought the Better Crocker Lemon…then saw there is pudding in the mix. My question is should I still add the lemon pudding? Or half? Also the pudding I purchased is an off brand and it has 3.6 oz, I’m hoping it’s good, because the Jello brand has been out. Thank you! -Jan

    1. Hi Janet, I haven’t tried adding pudding to the boxed cake mix that already has pudding in it. I have, however, made this recipe with the pudding cake mix and not adding the pudding mix, and it was almost inedible! I was able to eat some, but it was bad. I don’t recommend omitting it. You could try making the cake as written on the box, just in a bundt pan, if they have baking instructions for bundt pans. I think that would probably work a lot better. Good luck! I hope I was able to save you from making a disappointing cake. Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Yvette, I’m so sorry your cake came out that way. I’ve never had this problem but I’m thinking either your cake was overcooked or the eggs weren’t beaten enough. Another possibility is that perhaps you used lemon jello instead of pudding? – Meggan

  5. I made this for Easter with my relatives, and everyone loved it. It’s hard to find a recipe that everyone raves about. It’s perfectly lemony and moist. I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar instead of making a glaze, and it was wonderful. It’s also easy to make. I spent less than ten minutes making the batter and preparing the pan. It’s definitely a cake that you could throw together at the last minute.5 stars

    1. Hi MAGGEN,
      I love simplicity, so I tried your recipe and it was a big hit with all my dinner guests. Lots of lemon flavour and really moist.
      So easy to make. Thanks!

  6. Mmmm delicious!! Made these yesterday and the leftover ones that were uncovered on the counter overnight are still so soft and moist! Not a bite of hardness! I used Vanilla cake mix, 2 eggs and a cupcake pan instead, it Made two dozen cupcakes. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  7. I’ve been making this Bundt cake for years!!
    Everyone LOVES it.. Kids.. Adults.. and it’s easy ..
    fast .. and impressive!!👍👋💕4 stars

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