Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.

Our love of all things lemon knows no bounds! From Lemon Poppyseed Cake or Lemon Bars to bite-sized Lemon Cookie Balls, lemony citrus treats are always met with big smiles.

This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.

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Making Lemon Bundt Cake for an impromptu weekend party? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

Why add pudding to cake mix? Why use cake mix at all?

This easy dessert recipe has been used for generations by cooks of all levels. It’s even been sold at cute little restaurants and bakeries all over the country. People go wild for it.

Somehow, the combination of cake mix and boxed pudding just… works. Some bakers use lemon Jello instead of lemon pudding, but no matter which you decide to use, the gelatin component makes the cake super moist and fluffy.

One of the handiest things about this recipe is that you can keep the mix and the pudding in your pantry to use when you need them, because no perishables are required, other than the eggs.

You don’t need sour cream.
You don’t need to let butter soften or wait for eggs to come to room temperature.
The cake is almost ready when you need it.

Ingredients in lemon pudding bundt cake:

  • Lemon cake mix (Duncan Hines works great, but if you’re keeping it a secret, just write down ‘DH’ on your shopping list— no one has to know.)
  • Instant lemon pudding
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Eggs
    This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.

How to make Lemon Bundt Cake:

Pucker up, buttercup! This is easy and breezy.

  1. Butter your prettiest bundt cake pan. Shortening or non-stick cooking spray works too!
  2. Then, whisk together the cake mix (DH!) and dry pudding in a big bowl. Add the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, and oil. Give everything a good stir to combine. That’s it!
  3. Then all you have to do is pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
    This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.

  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. A few crumbs are okay.
  5. Cool the cake for 15 minutes, then invert it over a wire rack to finish cooling. It should be completely cool when you glaze it.
  6. You have to make the lemon glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, then drizzle it over the cooled cake.
  7. Let the lemon glaze harden before you cut into it, although who could blame you if you just dug in?

Lemon cream cheese frosting for lemon cake:

If you’re a cream cheese frosting kind of cook, then this one is be the end-all, be all of cream cheese frostings. Slather a thick layer all over this cake and stand back.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest the lemon first, then juice it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Using a stand mixer or a sturdy hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed. Do this until the mixture is smooth, without lumps—about 3-4 minutes.

Turn the speed to low and add powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and salt. Turn the speed up to high once the powdered sugar has mixed in and beat the frosting for 3 minutes. Add the remaining lemon juice if you think the frosting is a little too thick.

This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.

Lemon pudding cake sheet cake:

Pour batter in a greased 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees. Once cool, frost or glaze however you see fit! Cut big lemony squares and serve on cute paper plates with a plastic fork sticking out the top!

Lemon cake cupcakes:

The recipe below should make 12 cupcakes, if you’d rather have adorable lemon cupcakes at your party instead. Keep an eye on the oven, though—these bake in 13-15 minutes, much quicker than a bundt cake.

Line the cupcake tin with liners. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

4.92 from 25 votes

Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake recipe uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and pudding!) to make it the easiest and most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had. There’s nothing like it, so get ready for a whole lot of sunshine, served up on a plate.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 214kcal

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 4 large eggs

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh strawberries for serving, optional
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat large Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and dry pudding in a large bowl. Add water, oil, lemon juice, eggs, and lemon zest and stir to combine.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcal

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  1. Mary Kay Elsbury

    I made your lemon bundt cake, absolutely amazingly good. I put the left over cake in the refrigerator and tasted even better the next day!!!!!

    My question is, can I make this cake ahead and freeze?5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Mary Kay! I’m so happy you enjoyed the cake. Yes, you can absolutely freeze it. Make sure you let the cake cool completely, and then I would recommend wrapping it in press n’ seal first, and then a layer of aluminum foil after that. It should be good for 4-6 months! Thanks! -Meggan

  2. Mary Kay Elsbury

    I made your lemon bundt cake, absolutely amazingly good. I put the left over cake in the refractor and tasted even better the next day!!!!!

    My question is, can I make this cake ahead and freeze?

  3. Kathy

    No need to feel bad.  Thank u for your reply.  Cake turned out awesome 5 stars

  4. Kathy Sanford

    The intro to recipe mentions milk as ingredient for glaze but it’s not listed in the actual recipe.   My cake is cooling now and I don’t know how much milk to use in the glaze!   Please help

    1. meggan

      Hi Kathy, I’m so sorry I didn’t see this yesterday. I changed the glaze from one using milk to the one shown in the recipe, but I forgot to update the instructions. I did this for food safety reasons – I feel like glazes containing milk require that the dessert be refrigerated. So I changed it! I’m so sorry. I hope you were able to proceed. I’ll fix the recipe now. Sorry again. I feel terrible. -Meggan

  5. Brenda

    What size/brand cake mix and pudding mix do you use?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Brenda, for the cake mix, I always go for the cheapest one out of Betty Crocker or Pillsbury (it seems like one is always on sale), and I get the 15.25 ounce box. I don’t notice a difference between them. For the pudding, I use the JELLO brand instant pudding, 3.4 ounce box. Let me know if you have any other questions! :D -Meggan

  6. Ken Tucker

    can i replace the veg. oil with real butter, if so how much should i use

    1. meggan

      Hi Ken, I am not sure. It’s a cake mix, so they make the rules. You could definitely try it, if you wanted to try it I’d use an equal part butter to the oil listed (1/2 butter, or 1 stick). I’m not sure what will happen. I can’t imagine it would taste bad… it just might change the baking time. I’m not sure. I tried making a cake once with margarine instead of butter, and it took WAY longer to bake. So I don’t know if that means a cake with butter would be done sooner, not necessarily. I would just be prepared for anything! Thanks. -Meggan

  7. Sheryl Gay Lee

    Love this recipe, I add poppy seeds. Always a hit.5 stars

  8. colleen

    Have you ever made this in 9 inch rounds or in a 9×13. Our daughter has requested a (butterfly-shaped) lemon cake for her birthday, and given all of the great reviews of this bundt cake, I wonder if it can be adapted for a more traditional birthday cake shape. Thank you!

  9. Jessica

    Can I make this and omit the pudding? That’s the only thing I don’t have. Will it still turn out yummy? 

    1. meggan

      Hi Jessica, NO! You can’t omit the pudding! It will be disgusting. I just tried it. I had a cake mix with “pudding in the mix” and I made the recipe exactly as written except I omitted the pudding. The cake was flatter (makes sense because the pudding added volume), not nearly sweet enough (the pudding obviously has a lot of sugar and other ingredients here, like extra eggs and oil, etc. diluted the sweetness). It was also really dry. Nearly inedible. I was able to eat some, but it was bad. I don’t recommend 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 responded in time and saved you from making a disappointing cake. -Meggan

  10. Bunny

    Hi Meggan,
    I am planning on making this cake in a few days for a party and am thinking of using a tube pan (with a cream cheese icing). I just wanted to make sure the baking time would be the same.
    Thanks.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Bunny, thank you for the question. We haven’t tested this recipe in a tube pan, so we don’t know for sure. I suggest checking the cake five minutes earlier just in case, and then every five minutes after until it’s done. I’m sure it will be a huge hit at the party! :) -Meggan

  11. Julia

    I’ve made at least two of these cakes every month for the past two years for work and my residents love it still. They always ask when I’m making more lemon cake. It’s my bartering tool to get people who don’t attend activities to actually come out. Everyone loves this cake.5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Julia, your comment makes my life so much better. This is great, it makes me so happy. thank you for trying the cake and sharing your experience! Bartering tool, heh heh! Thanks again. ;) -Meggan

  12. Cate

    I’ve made this several times. It’s soooo easy, and it tastes fabulous. Thank you!5 stars

  13. Garbo

    I made this as directed but the glaze turned out way too runny and soaked in.   I had to add more powdered sugar to thicken.   Also the vanilla extract made it kind of brown, so I put a couple drops of yellow food coloring in to make it look nicer.  Next time I will use closer to 1 3/4 cups sugar, skip the vanilla and maybe skip the milk as well.  I like things really tart and lemony.  4 stars

  14. Lynn Wehnert

    For the glaze can I add lemon extract instead of vanilla extract?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Yes! I just bought some lemon extract too, so I’ll try it out myself. That’s a much better idea, using lemon extract! Just taste it and make sure you like it (just in case the swap isn’t 1 to 1). Thanks Lynn!

  15. Kimie Lin

    I made this cake this week and it came out perfect and delicious. I want to make it again next month. Do you know of any reason that I couldn’t simply fold in a bunch of blueberries or raspberries into the mix, before baking? Would I need to increase the baking time, or make any other changes?

    1. meggan

      Hi Kimie! I added 6 ounces of fresh blueberries to this cake and it worked beautifully. I made NO changes to the recipe other than stirring in the blueberries right before I poured the batter into the prepared bundt pan. I would stay away from strawberries due to their high water content. I’m not sure about raspberries specifically, but the blueberries were perfect! Good luck and thanks.

    2. meggan

      Hi Kimie, I’m so glad you liked it! I can’t really think of a reason why you couldn’t fold in some fruit. Baking times are always a range anyway given variations across appliances. I’m willing to test it, though, and let you know. I will have time to test it next Monday which should be well enough in advance for your next planned baking session! I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

  16. Alley

    Made this for my Grandmother’s birthday! Tastes amazing!! So simple, yet so much better. Thank you!5 stars

  17. Adrienne

    Awesome cake! I cooked it a bit long so the outside was a bit darker but still moist and tasty. The only change I made was to replace more of the water with lemon juice. My son couldn’t believe how lemony this cake was. Very easy recipe. Thank you for posting and for the great pictures!5 stars

  18. Ronda Givens

    Thank you for the response! I love this recipe as a bundt but wanted to take some to my son 1000 miles away and thought loaves would travel better. I will definitely be trying the blueberry lemon loaf, I love all things lemon-blueberry and blueberry season is just around the corner.

  19. Ronda Givens

    Can i bake this in loaf pans?

    1. meggan

      Hi Ronda, yes I’m sure you can. I haven’t tested that way myself (yet) but here is what I would do.
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans (I like to spray them, line them with parchment, and spray again, aka spray-paper-spray).
      2. Prepare the batter as directed for the bundt cake and then divide between the 2 prepared pans.
      3. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 50 minutes.
      4. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut around the inside edge of each pan (only if necessary, should not necessary) and turn out on to a cooling rack to cool.

      I also have a from-scratch Blueberry Lemon Loaf that is made with Greek yogurt and makes just 1 loaf. You could omit the blueberries. Might not be what you are looking for at all, but just another option: https://www.culinaryhill.com/blueberry-lemon-yogurt-cake/

  20. Hi Meggan
    Thanks for answering my email.

    I am goona try a white packaged cake mix. Ill let you know the results.5 stars

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