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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
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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 318 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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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Hi, I want to use this one recipe to make twelve mini-Bundt cakes. I assume the only difference would be length of baking time. Can you confirm whether any modifications would be needed for bundtlets? How long should they cook? Or, how soon should start checking doneness with a toothpick? Any other recommendations? Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Marcia! I actually made these in a mini bundt pan several years ago, and I never made a note of how long I baked them. I would do a 350-degree oven for something like 20 to 25 minutes. Just let your nose be your guide, if you start to smell them, they might be getting close to done. Then, test with toothpicks until they come out clean (possibly with a few dry crumbs attached). I know this recipe works in those pans. I just don’t remember the specifics. Thank you! Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Julie, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to see the ingredients and full instructions in the recipe card, or you can use the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top. Hope this helps! Sorry you are disappointed. Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi AJ, 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! 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 Krysta, yes! You’ll likely need to use two pans. Other readers have made this as cupcakes as well! – Meggan

  2. What size cake mix did you use in the recipe. The amount of mix in a box has changed recently. It use to be 18 and now it is 15.25. I just want it to turn out right. Thanks!

    1. Hi Stacy, either size works as long as the box makes a 13×9 or two 8-inch rounds. Take care! – Meggan

  3. Love lemon cake just had one for my daughter-in-law’s birthday and my neighbor requested one for her daughter-in-law’s birthday. Really looking forward to trying this recipe for her. I was just wondering if you shouldn’t also flower the bundt pan?4 stars

    1. Hi Donna, in this recipe I generously coat the Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  4. This is the best dessert recipe I’ve ever found on the internet. Took it to a picnic yesterday and EVERYONE raved about it. Well, not everyone, it was gone pretty quick so some didn’t get any! The recipe was requested by a couple. It was
    very easy to make – a little hint on lemons – roll it on the table or countertop, pressing hard and it will be easier to juice. I only had one lemon so I augmented it with a few squirts of the lemon concentrate that comes in the lemon shaped container. I will be checking out Meggan’s other recipes.5 stars

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