Lemon Bundt Cake

The ultimate Lemon Bundt Cake starts with a cake mix! Add pudding, fresh lemon juice, and a sweet glaze for a truly special dessert.

When it comes to dessert, I’m all about keeping it easy. I love cakes made in loaf pans and sweets that require no baking. I also love cakes that start off as a box mix but ultimately become so much more.

Lemon Bundt Cake - a photo of a lemon bundt cake with glaze on a white plate on a blue background - click a photo for full written recipe

Don’t be fooled by this cake’s humble roots. We’re going to dress it up and make it fancy and people will think you bought it at an upscale bakery (True story).

And the best part is, you’re going to LOVE IT. It’s so good. Bright lemony flavors with a perfect balance of tart and sweet, and so moist.

Did life hand you lemons? Make Lemon Bundt Cake.

Lemon Bundt Cake - a photo of a slice of lemon bundt cake with glaze on a white plate on a blue background - click a photo for full written recipe

To your lovely lemon cake mix, add pudding (even if there’s already pudding in the mix, just add more pudding). The normal cake mix instructions call for 1 cup of water, but we’re going to use 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup lemon juice. <– Insert lemony brightness right here.

We’ll also use 4 eggs instead of 3; that helps make the cake extra moist. And to top it all off, a simple glaze made with sugar, milk, vanilla, and lemon juice. It’s bright, it’s fresh, and it’s exactly with this cake needs!

Lemon Bundt Cake - a photo of a slice of lemon bundt cake with glaze on a white plate with strawberries and a fork on a blue background with a cake and more strawberries in the back - click a photo for full written recipe

Lemon Bundt Cake is great at parties (who doesn’t love lemon?) and perfect for work (everyone will be asking your for the recipe).

And if you can swing it, go all in on the fresh strawberries. They just taste SO GOOD. You could skip the glaze (except not really) and just serve your Lemon Bundt Cake with strawberries. It’s only March, but I’m already thinking ahead to spring and brunch and Mother’s Day and how this Lemon Bundt Cake will have a place at my table.

A big THANK YOU to my friend Jessica who so generously shared this recipe with me “way back when.”

A photo of lemon bundt cake served on a white plate against a blue background. A slice of the cake is being served on a metal server, showing the yellow crumb inside the cake.
4.87 from 23 votes
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Lemon Bundt Cake

The ultimate Lemon Bundt Cake starts with a cake mix! Add pudding, fresh lemon juice, and a sweet glaze for a truly special dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 214 kcal

Ingredients

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
  • Fresh strawberries for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat large Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray.

  2. 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.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.
  4. Cool 15 minutes in pan. Invert on to cooling rack set over a baking sheet and cool completely.
  5. 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.

  6. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with fresh strawberries if desired.

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64 comments


  1. Thanks for the super-easy pdf recipe. Will try it now. :)

    • Thank you, Luciana! I hope you enjoy it. It’s definitely one of my favorites, people always think it is from a bakery. :) Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Mornin’ Meggan.  I’ll be incorporating these flavoring and moisture-building ideas into the next gluten-free lemon cake I bake because like you said, “Who doesn’t like lemon?”  Dave
    PS:  I’ll likely zest one lemon and throw it into the batter as well.  Meyers are in season and they excel in flavor.   Yum!


  3. Lemon is such a great flavor. I am going to use this recipe for Easter. I think I will do a raspberry glaze on it just to give it some Easer color.

  4. When I make the lemon bundt cake my recipe calls for lemon jello…not lemon pudding and it gives it a great flavor and is really moist.  

    • Hey Beverly, that’s really interesting! I’m always up for trying something new, and I cannot imagine how this could end badly. Thanks so much for the suggestion!!

  5. Fabulous easy recipe!  I garnished it with fresh flowers in the center and strawberries surrounding it.  Lovely!

    • That DOES sound lovely! What a great idea. I’m requesting that for Mother’s Day… flowers and all! :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hello, just a quick question…when it says under # 2 “stir to combine”, does that mean you literally just stir everything together with a spoon?  No mixer or beaters?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa! Yes, well my preferred tool is a rubber spatula, but same difference. I should probably say “stir vigorously” and/or offer the option of using beaters, I just don’t do that for this cake. It’s pretty fool proof without an extra horsepower! I hope this helps. I’ll fix up the post though and suggest that just in case. Thank you!

  7. Love lemon cake and this one sounds delicious! One question, can sugar free instant pudding be used in this recipe?

    • Hi Debbie! I am not sure what effect sugar free instant pudding would have. I feel like it would work just fine, though. I really don’t think it would affect it, I just haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. When I get a chance to try that, I’ll update the recipe. If you happen to try it, too, I’d love to hear what you think! Thank you so much!

  8. Hi Meggan,

    Thank you for the recipe. I am making lemon bundt cakes for a church meeting, and was hoping to find a recipe that uses a cake mix. This looks like a good one!

    Thanks again. Lisa

    • Hi Lisa! This Bundt cake is absolutely spectacular. I think you will really enjoy it, at least I hope you and everyone else at church does! It’s a keeper for sure. Good luck and thank you so much for your comment. Take care.


  9. Hi Meggan!  Made this  for  my co  workers and it was a  huge  success !   Didn’t  last  long!  Getting  ready  to  make another  now….

    • Thank you so much Ursula! I used to make this for work when I went to an office and it was always a hit. :) So glad your coworkers loved it! Thank you again and take care!

  10. Trying this now! Since the cake is from a mix…..I decided to make a homemade glaze/topping and am attempting a homemade lemon curd. Hopefully, the tartness will refreshingly accompany the lemon cake!


  11. Question what was your answer for using sugar free pudding? I’m diabetic and any way I can cut the sugar super! Love 🍋 also can it be made as a regular cake?

  12. I am going to make this lemon cake for a Holiday party.  I am using mint and maraschino cherries as holly around the bottom of the cake.

    • Hi Vickie, that is the most adorable idea ever! Do you mind if I steal it?? Thank you so much for stopping by and take care!


  13. Can you make the cake the night before and refrigerate it, and then make and apply the glaze the next day before a party?

  14. I don’t mind if you steal it😄😄. So glad you liked the idea.  Happy Holidays


  15. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I will be making it tomorrow. I was wondering is it possible to use this recipe with spring form pans instead of a bundt pan.


  16. Wow this is delicious! I made it today and it was seriously the most delightful cake I’ve ever made. A definite keeper! I will say my glaze more so soaked into the cake rather than stayed on top as an icing, I’m not quite sure why but it was delicious and pretty either way. 


  17. Made this today with a light cream cheese frosting and used raspberries on top!
    This cakes the bomb (5) stars!!


  18. This website is completely awesome. I’ve search through these recipes a great deal and I view it that is good written, easy to understand.


  19. Hi Meggan. Can you use this recipe for cupcakes instead of a bundt pan? I have a church function and need to bring cupcakes.
    Thanks;!

    • Hi Debbie, I’m sure you can! I just need to test it and make sure. When is your church function? I can test the cupcakes this weekend. Just let me know if that is too late. Thank you for your patience!

    • Hello Meggan, Did you ever try it out? I have made the bundt cake before but I was wondering if you had tried it? I need to do this today for a Saturday party. I have 5 other items to make for a graduation party and my son requested lemon cupcakes.

    • Hi Elaine, I’m making them today. Sorry for slacking off, I will advise in a couple of hours!!! I’m sure it will be fine but I just want to give you the info you need. So sorry again. I’ll be in touch. I’ll email you AND reply here with the info. Thanks!

    • Hi Elaine! I just finished. The recipe works GREAT for cupcakes (not that I had doubts about that). Here’s what you need to know.
      1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees for a shiny muffin tin, or 350 degrees for a dark or nonstick muffin tin.
      2. Line muffin tin with paper liners and coat them with nonstick spray (I do this to make sure nothing sticks, ever).
      3. Prepare the batter as directed in the bundt cake.
      4. Fill muffin tins about halfway, approximately 3 tablespoons of batter per muffin cup. I found it easiest to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and not fill it all the way (or fill it all the way and let some stick to the bottom of the cup between scoops which happens naturally anyway).
      5. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs attachd. Make sure you rotate your pans halfway through baking time so the cupcakes all finish at the same time.

      Anything else you need to know? They are great! I will send this to you in an email too. Thanks for your patience and good luck with the party!

    • Thank you Meggan! I am doing them today 😉 Last night I finished my reese’s cheesecake bits and cold pasta. Today I am working on Lemon cupcakes and deviled eggs. We have 70 people coming tomorrow. I am also thinking about doing Peanut butter captain crunch cupcakes. Our son live peanut butter captain crunch. I just trying to figure out cake mix to use for it 🤔 Any ideas on this one ? Thank for the help ❤


  20. Meghan, following your recipe but my cake mix calls for 1/3 vegetable oil. Can I leave that out? Extra calories I don’t need..

    • Hi Connie, yes! To make sure your cake doesn’t dry out like cardboard, are you willing to sub in 1/3 cup of applesauce? You won’t even miss the oil then… Thanks!

  21. Hi Meghan,
    Do you think you could double this recipe to make the cake “taller”?

    • Hi Linda, my guess is if you doubled the recipe, it would spill out over the pan. Unless you had an extra-large bundt pan? Please let me know if you give this a shot, I’d love to hear how it works! :D


  22. Hi Meghan
    Can I use a white packaged cake mix?

    • Hi Barbara, I don’t see why not. If you try it, I’d love to hear if it worked for you! Thanks!

  23. Hi.. can i use buttermilk instead of water in the mix? Also please suggest what to do if i find the cake mix too sweet… how can i reduce the sweetness for the same recipe?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Isbah, off the top of my head I cannot say whether you could swap in buttermilk. The reason is, when buttermilk reacts with leavening agents (such as baking powder or baking soda, or whatever it is happens to be in the cake mix), it creates extra leavening power. It might not be a problem, but IF it was, it might make the cake puff up super high when baking, and then fall. Without testing it, I don’t know for sure, but that is what concerns me. You could certainly try it and see what happens.

      As far as if the cake mix is too sweet, I am not really sure immediately how to solve that problem. You could potentially add more flour, but then that would mess up the whole recipe (your ingredient ratios would be off, and if you added more of everything else, the cake might be too big to fit in the pan).

      I do have a Hot Milk Cake recipe which I know for a fact is not overly sweet. It’s made from scratch and it uses milk (not buttermilk, but milk), and it’s a great recipe. I feel like if you are worried about a cake being too sweet, you should try the Hot Milk Cake: https://www.culinaryhill.com/old-fashioned-hot-milk-cake-recipe/
      I haven’t tried adding any kind of lemon flavor to it, so if that’s what you’re hoping for, this won’t work for you. Because lemon juice is acidic and could react with leavening agents, I’d have to test the recipe before saying that you can just go ahead and add lemon juice. Lemon zest wouldn’t be a problem, but on its own it probably wouldn’t pack the lemon flavor you are looking for (that is, if you’re looking for lemon flavor).

      If you have any other questions, please let me know! Good luck. I wish I could be of further help.


    • Hi Barbra, i made this cake and everyone liked it. For the extra sweetness, i did some research, the tip is to add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Since this recipe already has lemon juice i only added salt, and it wasnt too sweet. Also tried this with chocolate cake mix and worked beautifully.
      reference link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddLak7fqzXM


  24. Hi Meggan
    Thanks for answering my email.

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

  25. Can i bake this in loaf pans?

    • 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/

  26. 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.


  27. 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!


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

  29. 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?

    • 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!

    • 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.


  30. For the glaze can I add lemon extract instead of vanilla extract?

    • 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!


  31. 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.  


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


  33. 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.

    • 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


  34. 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.

    • 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

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

    • 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

  36. 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!


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

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

    • 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

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