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 41 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. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Elizabeth

    I made 2 of these for an event and they were delicious. There was no leftover cake! I agree that the bright yellow color screams “artificial color” but the taste outweighs this minor fault. I thought the glaze tasted too sugary so I added 2 Tlb. Of melted butter and it was much better (for my taste buds).5 stars

  6. 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

  7. 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?5 stars

  8. Kathy

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Sheryl Gay Lee

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Cate

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

  18. 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

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

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