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 Poppy Seed Muffins 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

    Lemon bundt cake ingredients in various bowls on a gray counter top.

     

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.

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

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.
4.95 from 36 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 211kcal
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  1. Debby Faucheux

    My aunt made this cake a lot and we loved it. Instead of water she used orange juice. I started making this and bringing to the office and now I get request for Lemon Bundt birthday cakes.5 stars

  2. Radhika

    Has anyone tried this recipe by substituting the oil with butter? My cake mix calls for 1 stick of butter and I wonder if that’s okay to stick with for this recipe!

    1. Hi Radhika! I am not sure. I feel like it would probably be okay (butter is so good, and if your cake mix calls for it, that would be based on the dry ingredients in the mix). If you have any tolerance for risk, it’s probably worth trying. But if it’s going to ruin your day if anything goes wrong… I don’t want to ruin your day! LOL! -Meggan

  3. Waradah Kiesha Eargle

    The cake was ABSOLUTELY amazing my husband and I almost ate the entire cake in one night.5 stars

  4. Dottie

    Hi, what size Bundt pan do you use? I used the 9.75 and it didn’t seem tall! I am not sure of the taste yet as I am making it for my son-in-law for Father’s Day tomorrow. The batter tasted good so hopefully the cake will be nice and moist also! I was just curious what size you had used or recommended for this recipe!!

    1. meggan

      Hi Dottie, I’m so sorry I didn’t answer you in time for Father’s Day. I use a standard bundt pan, 12-cup, the normal size. I am not sure why the cake seemed flat to you. Hopefully the cake was nice and moist and you enjoyed it – maybe it just isn’t as tall as you were expecting? Sorry again for not replying sooner! -Meggan

  5. Cyrina

    Hi,
    Can you use lemon pound cake mix I stead of lemon cake mix? Nervous it will come out too dense since pound cake it usually slightly more dense than cake. Thank you

    1. meggan

      Hi Cyrina, I am not sure. I have never tested it that way so I don’t know what would happen. It might be fine? It might be too dense? I really don’t know. I’m so sorry about that! -Meggan

  6. Linda S.

    This is a very good cake recipe. Made as directed and microwaved in a silicone bundt pan for 8 minutes. It came out perfect.5 stars

  7. Kris

    Was so excited to make this recipe as my mom used to make a similar one which I loved!!! Sadly, it turned out so poorly that I literally had to throw it in the trash. It tasted like a sweet lemon omelet….very dense and way too eggy. I went back to check to make sure I didn’t mess up but I followed the recipe to the letter!!! I bake a lot and so this was a real disappointment!!!!

    1. meggan

      Hi Kris, what you’re describing makes absolutely NO sense. I am just wondering if your oven isn’t calibrated correctly or you somehow didn’t bake it at the right temperature. Hundreds of people have made this recipe (I have personally been making it for 20 years) and it has NEVER been a “sweet lemon omelet.” Maybe you used lemon jello instead of lemon pudding? I am very sorry it didn’t work for you. Clearly something went wrong, but it’s not the recipe. I’m really sorry about that. -Meggan

  8. Judy

    Hi, do you think I could put a layer of cake mix in the pan and then add some fresh raspberries then add the rest of the cake mix on top of them? Thanks

    1. Meggan

      Hi Judy, while this sounds DELICIOUS, it makes me nervous. I haven’t tested it this way, but I know that raspberries have so much liquid, I would hate for your cake to tun to mush! Have you thought about trying raspberry coulis for a topping? I posted a recipe for it recently: https://www.culinaryhill.com/raspberry-coulis-recipe/ Hope whatever you try tastes delicious. -Meggan

  9. Jen

    I do not have a lemon cake mix, but I have a Betty Crocker Pound Cake mix that I’m going to use to make the Lemon Bundt cake. What should I add to cake mix to make it taste more like a lemon box cake? And how much? Thanks so much!!

    1. Diane Smith

      Hi Jen – I just made this cake with vanilla cake mix instead of lemon cake mix. Followed the rest of the recipe. It came out plenty lemony for me.

    2. meggan

      Hi Jen, I’d add the lemon pudding and lemon zest and lemon juice like it’s called out in this recipe. I’m not exactly sure how lemony it will be. I’ve used vanilla pudding with the lemon cake mix and LOVED IT, but I’ve never tried a vanilla (pound) cake with lemon pudding. I would basically just follow the recipe as you see it written and sub in your pound cake. But it might not work, I’m sorry I can’t say for sure! It should be fine, but I just don’t know. Sorry about that. Good luck! -Meggan

  10. Jen

    How much lemon zest? It’s probably a stupid question, but I’ve never used zest before!

    1. meggan

      It’s 1 teaspoon! Not a stupid question. Sometimes it’s as much as you can get from the lemons you have (like maybe it calls for 1 teaspoon but you can’t quite get the much, generally the world won’t end). Or maybe you have a lot and you want to use it all. Just try it and you’ll see what I mean! I love lemon zest. Let me know if I can help with anything else. -Meggan

  11. Lauren

    Hey Megan,
    Can I sub the water for milk?

    1. meggan

      Hi Lauren, I think so? I don’t know? I have never tried that in a cake mix. I can’t imagine what could go wrong, but it *seems* like it would probably be fine? I have a yellow cake I can try it out with, so I’ll try to test that in the next day or so and let you know. Thanks! -Meggan

  12. Teresa

    I had 2 cups of fresh blueberries about to go bad so I tossed them in flour and layered them throughout the batter. Lemon and blueberry are such great pairings! Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  13. Carol

    Hi Meggan—have you ever tried lemon olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil?

    1. meggan

      Hi Carol, I haven’t tried lemon olive oil. I haven’t even heard of that! I have some kind of lemon oil in my cupboard, but it’s a concentrated one, not olive oil (I was going to use it to try to make lemon-flavored pizzelle). I do have a lemon olive oil cake recipe that’s really good and also vegan, in case that interests you. https://www.culinaryhill.com/lemon-olive-oil-cake/
      Good luck and please let me know if you need anything else! Thanks! -Meggan

  14. Maxine Lopez

    This is the perfect recipe for the lemonade n lovers in your family.💕5 stars

  15. Elp

    Silly question but could you also do this with orange boxed cake and use orange juce/extract in place of lemon?

    1. Shelly

      I’ve used the orange box mix and turned it into margarita cake. I add grand marnier to the mix and the glaze I use grand marnier and tequila. Garnish it with orange and lime slices.

    2. Meggan

      WOW Shelly, this sounds so amazing! Thank you for sharing!! -Meggan

    3. meggan

      Hi Elp, I’m sure you could! I haven’t tried it, but I can’t think of a reason why not? -Meggan

  16. Middleton Nicole

    Love this5 stars

  17. Erika

    Hi Meggan,
    What’s the best way to store this if I am making it the day before? Also should I wait to put the glaze on it?

    Thanks!

    1. meggan

      Hi Erika, just store it at room temperature covered. You could wait on the glaze or not, if shouldn’t really matter. But just wait until the glaze has hardened before you cover it! Thanks! -Meggan

  18. Sue

    Hello,

    I made the glaze with lemon juice and vanilla but it’s solid. There’s no way to drizzle it. Am I missing a liquid component? I don’t think 3 tablespoons of lemon juice is enough to dilute 2 cups of powdered sugar.

    1. Meggan

      Hi Sue, I am so sorry. I retested this a few weeks ago and it should be 1/4 cup of lemon juice and not 3 tablespoons. I updated the recipe. I hope you were able to add more liquid and use the glaze! Sorry about that!

  19. Noreen Schaan

    I love this recipe. It’s so easy to make. I have made it several times and my husband loves it! Absolutely delicious and very tasty too! Thanks for sharing ! :)5 stars

    1. meggan

      Thank you so much Noreen! That’s awesome! :) -Meggan

  20. Debbie

    Can I use vanilla pudding?

    1. meggan

      Hi Debbie, I just wanted to let you know I made the Lemon Bundt Cake with vanilla pudding this weekend. I loved it! I used a Duncan Hines lemon cake mix which had plenty of lemon flavor. I now think the pudding is just there to make the cake more moist. Sure it adds flavor, but not enough to drown out the cake mix. The vanilla pudding was really great. I absolutely loved it. I would use that again in the future. Thanks for the idea! -Meggan

    2. meggan

      Hi Debbie, you can. It won’t have as strong of a lemony flavor as using lemon pudding, but if you like how it tastes, that’s all that matters. Thanks! -Meggan

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