Zesty and sweet, this homemade lemon bundt cake is super flavorful and easy to make from scratch! The cake has a perfectly moist and tender crumb, and you’ll love the citrus flavor in every bite. Add a simple lemon glaze on top and you’re in for a treat!

lemon bundt cake with slices leaning against each other on cake plate.

I can’t resist lemon desserts! Their sweet and tart flavor combination is simply delicious. Recently I wanted to bake a dessert that served a crowd and this lemon bundt cake with glaze made quite the impression. Believe me when I say this cake tastes as good as it looks!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Perfect flavor and texture. There are pops of citrus in every bite! The tender, moist crumb is a simply delightful.
  • Simple to make. The from scratch recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients (no boxed cake mixes or pudding mixes).
  • Great for entertaining! Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Easter or just a beautiful spring day, this cake is perfect for sharing with family and friends.
  • Stunning presentation. Bundt cakes naturally have a show-stopping quality. Use your favorite pan, then add a glaze and garnish to make a beautifully delicious dessert!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make lemon bundt cake.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the ultimate citrus flavor. I do not recommend bottled lemon juice.
  • Sour cream: For an extra moist cake, use full-fat sour cream. Plain Greek yogurt is a good substitution.
  • Milk: To moisten the batter, add milk. I recommend whole milk for added richness.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter makes for a rich and flavorful cake. Make sure it’s room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: These leavening agents help the cake rise. Check that they are not expired for best results.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this is used to make the glaze. Sift the sugar so there are no clumps in your glaze.

Refer to the recipe card for detailed information on ingredients and quantities.

Recipe Variations

Add some mix-ins. Blueberries pair naturally with lemon! Stir in 1 cup berries right before transferring the batter to the pan. You can also add poppy seeds. Soak 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds in the milk for 10 minutes before adding to the batter.

Change the flavor. I personally love a little almond extract with lemon baked goods. You only need a 1/2 teaspoon! You can make this cake with fresh orange juice and zest too!

Try another glaze. If you prefer, you can make a vanilla glaze like the one I use on my vanilla bundt cake. Simply omit the lemon zest and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1-2 Tablespoons milk. Alternatively, you can frost the cake with buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting.

Use a different pan. This recipe also works with two 8-inch round cake pans. Baking time will be 25 to 30 minutes. For mini bundt cakes, reduce baking time to 15 to 20 minutes.

How to Make Lemon Bundt Cake from Scratch

photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon bundt cake in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer.
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Rub together the sugar and lemon zest using your fingers (this increases the citrus flavor).
  3. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in eggs one at a time.
  4. Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon bundt cake in a bundt pan and lemon glaze in a mixing bowl.
  1. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the batter.
  2. Pour batter into a 12-cup bundt pan and bake at 350 F for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then invert on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Make the glaze. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Pour glaze over the cake, garnish with zest if desired and serve.

Expert Tips

Generously grease and flour your bundt pan. I prefer to use my magic cake pan release. It gets into all the nooks and crannies! The cake comes out clean with no crumbs left behind.

Weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (don’t pack it down). It’s also important to use room temperature ingredients. They mix together more easily to create a uniform batter. This results in a better textured cake.

Use fresh lemon juice and zest. It has way more flavor than the store-bought kind. Trust me on this! I also highly recommend taking the time to rub the lemon zest into the sugar. It increases the citrus taste.

Don’t over-mix the batter, especially when adding the flour mixture and the milk. Mix just until combined and be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze. If it is still warm, the glaze will melt and soak into the cake. It will still taste delicious, but won’t have the same presentation that bundt cakes are known for.

slice of lemon bundt cake on a round plate with a fork.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead: The cake may be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 24 hours in advance. I suggest adding the glaze right before serving for ultimate freshness. You cannot make the batter ahead of time and bake later. The leavening agents will no longer be active and the cake won’t rise.

Storage: Lemon bundt cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Freezing: Wrap the cake (or slices) with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively you can place the wrapped slices in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.

Recipe FAQ

How do you make bundt cake moist?

Add sour cream or yogurt and don’t over-bake the cake. It’s also important to use full-fat ingredients for best results.

Why is my cake dry?

Most likely the cake was over-baked. It is done when a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out with just a few crumbs. Also, remove the cake from the pan after 10 to 15 minutes otherwise the hot pan may cause the cake to continue baking and dry out.

Can I use lemon extract?

Yes, replace the lemon juice with an extra 2 Tablespoons of milk. Add 2 teaspoons lemon extract with the vanilla.

How to decorate a lemon bundt cake

A simple glaze with lemon zest works best, but you can also dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar or add edible flowers. When serving, I suggest a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries or lemon curd.

lemon bundt cake with lemon glaze and lemon slices as garnish.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

lemon bundt cake with slices leaning against each other on cake plate.

Lemon Bundt Cake with Glaze

Zesty and sweet, this homemade lemon bundt cake is super flavorful and easy to make from scratch! The cake has a perfectly moist and tender crumb too.
5 (12 ratings)

Ingredients

Lemon Bundt Cake

  • 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup full-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (or using cake pan release). Set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add lemon zest and sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar to increase the citrus flavor.
  • Add the butter to the lemon sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Add half the dry ingredients, followed up by milk. Finish by mixing in the remaining dry ingredients just until combined (avoid over-mixing).
  • Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles and help the batter settle into the crevices. Bake at 350° F for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the glaze. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. For a thinner glaze, add more lemon juice. Pour over cooled cake and garnish with zest or lemon slices. Cut and serve.

Notes

Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice. It has way more flavor than bottled (trust me on this!)
Blueberries: For a pop of fruity flavor, stir in 1 cup fresh blueberries to the batter right before transferring to the cake pan.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and serving.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 318kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 129mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 450IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 1mg

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