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.

Lemon bundt cake slices on white plates with strawberries.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled lemon bundt cake ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Lemon cake mix: Duncan Hines makes a great mix.
  • Instant pudding: This makes the cake ultra moist and delicious. Restaurants and bakeries all over the country have been using lemon cake mixes for years. They just don’t tell you!
  • Lemon zest: Zest the lemons before you cut them in half for juice.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Grease your prettiest bundt cake pan. Then, whisk together the cake mix and pudding mix in a big bowl. Add the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, and oil. Give everything a good stir to combine.  Then all you have to do is pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
    Lemon bundt cake batter being poured into a bundt pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it over a wire rack to finish cooling. It should be completely cool when you glaze it.
  3. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, then drizzle it over the cooled cake. Let the lemon glaze harden before you cut into it, although who could blame you if you just dug in?
    Lemon bundt cake slices on white plates with strawberries.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • 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!
  • Vanilla instant 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.
  • 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.
  • How 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.

More delicious cakes:

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a rating and a comment below!

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

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. 
4.96 from 45 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: 367kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 3 ounces instant lemon pudding
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 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.

Video

Notes

  1. Bundt pan size: Any 12-cup bundt pan will work.
  2. Greasing the pan: Be very generous with your nonstick spray or shortening. Nothing ruins a bundt like a stuck cake!
  3. Vanilla instant 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. How 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Amy

    Can this recipe be used in round pans for a layer cake ??

    1. Meggan

      Hi Amy, I don’t see why not! I haven’t tested this myself, but I would think to check the size of the round pans you plan to use to make sure there is enough batter for them. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out! Thanks – Meggan

  2. Melissa Lamb

    I’ve been making this cake for years. My mother first made it with Lemon jello and then moved to the pudding. It’s been a favorite in my family since I was a little girl, and I’m a grandmother now myself.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Melissa, thanks for sharing! It’s so lovely when we can pass these happy family memories on through the food we make. – Meggan

  3. Betty

    haven’t tried this recipe yet but was wondering about the size of the cake mix you used. Cake mixes had been 18.25 oz for years, but are now only 15 oz. (432 grams) – That’s about a 20% difference which, to me, will make quite a difference in the outcome.

    1. Hi Betty, good question! You’re right, every cake mix is 15.25 ounces now. I have made this cake many times in the last few years and I haven’t had any issues, so I think the recipe should work fine. I guess I don’t know when they switched the size of the cake mix. I also don’t know if they changed the formula overall so that it still produces the same size cake? They reduced the amount of cake mix, but they are still saying it makes a 9×13 or whatever, you know what I mean? So it should still be fine. But good question, I hadn’t thought about that! -Meggan

  4. Amy

    I made this and it was a HUGE hit for my family that doesn’t normally love lemon desserts. So light and airy. I did convection bake mine and whisked the eggs together before I added them to the mix (might be why other reviewers tasted like an omelet). I macerated strawberries and they were the perfect compliment. Only change I would make next time, yes they want me to make it again, is putting less glaze on it. I tried to use all of it and it was just a bit too much for some. Thank you for this hit!!!!5 stars

  5. Michelle

    I made this lemon Bundt cake, it was delicious! I used skim milk in place of water and I used unsalted butter in place of oil. This was the best lemon cake ! Thank you5 stars

  6. Linda

    My great niece would love this in a mini Bundt pan. I am not a baker so I am hoping if you could please tell me how I can make this in the mini pans. Thank you so much for all your delicious recipes!

    1. Hi Linda, I don’t know exactly for sure. 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. Just 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! Good luck, I hope this was helpful at least a little bit. -Meggan

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Waradah Kiesha Eargle

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Maxine Lopez

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

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