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.

4.94 from 30 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 211kcal

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
  • 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: 211kcal

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  1. Cate

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

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. Alley

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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/

  9. Barbara

    Hi Meggan
    Thanks for answering my email.

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

  10. Isbah

    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.

    1. Isbah

      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.
      5 stars

    2. meggan

      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.

  11. Barbara

    Hi Meghan
    Can I use a white packaged cake mix?5 stars

    1. meggan

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

  12. Linda

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

    1. meggan

      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

  13. Connie

    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..5 stars

    1. meggan

      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!

  14. Debbie Levita

    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;!5 stars

    1. Elaine

      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 ❤

    2. Elaine

      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.

    3. meggan

      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!

    4. meggan

      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!

    5. meggan

      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!

  15. Otto Waldal

    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.
    5 stars

  16. Marla

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

  17. Nikki

    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. 5 stars

  18. Nikee Burton

    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.4 stars

  19. Vickie

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

  20. Katy

    Can you make the cake the night before and refrigerate it, and then make and apply the glaze the next day before a party?5 stars

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