A Lemon Bundt Cake is a simple, elegant dessert with a tight, buttery crumb and a deliciously tangy and sweet citrus glaze on top. It's perfect for celebrations or just because!
Why you should make this recipe
I recently got a new bundt pan and have been dying to try it out. I mean, nobody really needs more than just one reliable bundt pan, but I have a hard time resisting the fun designs they come out with from time to time.
This lemon bundt cake was the perfect recipe to satisfy my craving for a slice of cake without having to go to the trouble of a layer cake. It's the perfect afternoon treat or after-dinner dessert, especially with a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream.
Really this is a lemon pound cake made in bundt form, but that's often the case with bundt cake recipes. You could halve the recipe or divide it between two loaf pans instead if you don't have a bundt pan.
After removing the cake from the pan, it gets brushed with a lemon syrup that soaks into the cake and helps seal it so it doesn't dry out. Then it's topped with a lemon icing made with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. I like to keep the icing on the thick side so it doesn't just run down and puddle around the cake. It's a simple but elegant finish.
- Lemons: You will need 3-4 medium lemons for this recipe. Be sure to always zest the lemons BEFORE juicing them because the most potent lemon flavor comes from the zest.
- Flour: Although I often like to use cake flour for cakes, regular all-purpose flour works well for the more dense crumb of a pound cake.
- Butter: I always use salted butter in my recipes. If you forget to bring it to room temperature, you can soften it quickly in the microwave for 10 seconds before creaming with the sugar.
- Sugar: There is granulated sugar in both the cake base and the lemon syrup, with powdered sugar used in the icing.
- Eggs: Eggs provide richness to this cake as well as binding it together to get the nice crumb.
- Buttermilk: This ingredient adds a nice tang that goes well with the lemon zest and lemon juice. If you don't have it on hand, add 1 tablespoon of your lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way with milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes then use as a great buttermilk substitute.
- Vanilla extract: I love to use my homemade vanilla extract when I'm baking.
- Baking powder, baking soda, and salt: These provide just the right amount of lift and flavor to the lemon cake.
How to make this recipe
- Prep the lemons: Start by zesting the lemons using a zester or microplane. Try to just get the yellow outer skin and avoid the bitter white part underneath if you can. Juice the lemons and set these two ingredients to the side.
- Cream butter and sugar: Beat the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light. Add the lemon zest and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Mix remaining wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla extract, then set aside.
- Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients: Add ⅓ of the flour along with all of the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I find that by doing this there is no need to whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. After mixing just until combined, add half of the wet ingredients and mix again. Repeat with the remaining flour and wet ingredients, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, until you have a thick batter.
- Fill pan and bake: Thoroughly spray your bundt pan with baking spray, then spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Let the cake sit for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate or wire rack. The cake should slide right out.
- Make the lemon syrup: Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir, then microwave another 30 seconds until the sugar is dissolved. Use a pastry brush to brush the syrup all over the outside of the cake until most of it has been absorbed. You may have a little syrup left over.
- Ice the cake: Close to when you are ready to serve the cake, whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together to make a pourable but thick icing. Drizzle over the top of the cake, then let it set up for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake: Try folding 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen blueberries into the cake batter just before adding to the bundt pan. If using frozen blueberries, toss them with 1 tablespoon of flour first so they don't sink to the bottom of the pan.
Lemon Raspberry Cake: Try serving your lemon bundt cake with a generous drizzle of raspberry coulis over each slice for a beautiful presentation and wonderful flavor combination.
Cream Cheese Icing: If you prefer, you could use this cream cheese frosting piped over the top of the bundt cake instead of the lemon glaze.
More Bundt Cake Recipes
- Sour Cream Pound Cake
- The Most Incredible Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Pear Ginger Bundt Cake
- Key Lime Bundt Cake
- Blood Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Lemon Bundt Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- Zest from 3-4 large lemons
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and eggs, one at a time. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Whisk the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla together in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 cup of the flour along with all of the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, mixing just until combined. Add ½ of the liquids buttermilk mixture, then repeat, alternating with the remaining flour and liquids to form a fairly thick batter.
- Generously spray a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan with baking spray or grease and flour the pan, making sure to get all of the crevices. Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing it out on top and tap it against the counter a few times to knock out air bubbles.
- Bake for 55 to 70 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate or wire rack.
- Make the lemon syrup by combining the lemon juice and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir to dissolve the sugar. Heat for another 30 seconds if needed to dissolve all of the sugar.
- Brush the glaze over the still-hot cake using a pastry brush until all of most of it has been absorbed. Cool completely. At this point the cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Make the icing by whisking the powdered sugar and lemon juice together. The icing should be thick but still pourable. You can add more lemon juice or powdered sugar as needed to get the right consistency. Pour over the cake and serve once the icing has set, about 30 minutes.
- Loaf pans: If you don't have a bundt pan, you can divide the batter between two loaf pans instead and make lemon loaves.
- Zesting lemons: Be sure to zest the lemons before juicing them as it is really hard to zest them after they have been squeezed out.
- Freezing: This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Wrap the entire cake or individual slices in two layers or plastic wrap to protect it. Thaw on the counter before serving.
- Buttermilk Substitute: You can replace the buttermilk with an equal amount of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and left to curdle for 5 minutes.
More Lemon Recipes
- Lemon Mousse by Fresh April Flours
- Between The Sheets Cocktail by A Day in the Life on the Farms
- Strawberry Vodka Lemonade by SueBee Homemaker
- Greek Lemon Potatoes by The Spiffy Cookie
- Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing by Lemon Blossoms
- Bourbon Lemonade by Our Good Life
- Strawberry Vodka Pink Lemonade by Our Crafty Cocktail
- Baked Lemon Pasta by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Lemoncello Tiramisu by The Redhead Baker
- Lemony Baby Bok Choy Apple and Miso Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Greek Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Making Miracles
- Lemon and Rice Cheese Bombs by Magical Ingredients
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins by Devour Dinner