This made from scratch lemon bundt cake is soft, moist, and deliciously tender with a fresh lemon flavor. It’s drizzled with lemon glaze for a bundt cake that’s sure to impress.
The Best Lemon Bundt Cake
This lemon bundt cake is simple, elegant and perfect for lemon lovers. There’s nothing fancy here – just a simple, moist lemon cake that’s golden brown on top, has a soft, moist crumb, and is topped with a sweet lemon glaze. It’s not a lemon pound cake per se – instead, it’s more tender, less dense, and infused with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice in every bite. It has all the flavor it needs without any frosting, but a simple lemon glaze is the perfect addition. Or you could even frost it with cream cheese frosting if that’s your style.
Making the Lemon Cake Batter
This lemon cake recipe uses the creaming method to make a cake that has a fine crumb and moist texture. It definitely isn’t as dense as a pound cake, but I wanted it to be decently sturdy – which is necessary for baking in a bundt pan.
First, you’ll zest the lemons and juice them. Make sure to zest the lemons first as it makes the whole process so much easier. You’ll need about 4-6 lemons total for both the cake and the glaze. And please, do not use lemon juice from the bottle as it does not provide the same fresh, lemon flavor.
Then we whisk together the dry ingredients flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I sift the flour first to remove any lumps first, then whisking the dry ingredients together ensures even distribution of the baking soda and baking powder throughout the batter. In a liquid measuring cup we whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk and fresh lemon juice. I find the combination of sour cream and buttermilk provides the most tender, moist crumb.
You’ll beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 2-4 minutes here), then add in the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. The eggs should be room temperature to avoid overmixing. In the photo below, I’ve shown this on the left. From there, beat in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by about 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture that you whisked together previously. Alternating between additions of the flour mixture and buttermilk makes the batter come together evenly to provide a uniform crumb, and helps prevent overmixing. The photo below on the right shows adding in the flour mixture and buttermilk, bit by bit.
Then spoon the batter into your prepared bundt pan – and its time to bake. If you have a 10-inch bundt pan – the bake time will be about 55-65 minutes, but with a 12-cup bake bundt pan the bake time will be shorter.
The lemon glaze is simply a mixture of lemon juice and powdered sugar whisked together. It’s sweet, lemony, and there’s nothing fancy involved. Drizzle it over the cooled cake – and you’re ready to serve.
Variations of this Lemon Bundt Cake
- Make a lemon blueberry bundt cake – make the cake batter as stated in the recipe below. Toss 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries in 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, then gently fold the berries into the batter. The bake time will be the same. If using frozen berries, do not thaw them.
- For a lemon raspberry bundt cake – use 1 1/4 cups raspberries and follow the steps above.
- Frost the entire cake with cream cheese frosting. You can find my favorite recipe for cream cheese frosting here. I recommend adding in 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon jucie to this recipe to add a hint of lemon to the cream cheese frosting.
- Instead of the lemon glaze, serve it with fresh strawberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
- Instead of the lemon glaze, dust with powdered sugar.
For more lemon desserts, try these other favorites:
Lemon bundt cake that's soft, moist, and deliciously tender with a fresh lemon flavor. It's drizzled with lemon glaze for a bundt cake that's sure to impress.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sour cream**
- 1/2 cup buttermilk**
- 1/3 cup lemon juice* , freshly squeezed
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon zest*
- 4 large eggs**
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar , sifted
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees and set the oven rack to the middle.
Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan, making sure to get into all the creases.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk and lemon juice. (If there are a few lumps - don't worry).
In a very large bowl using an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy.
Add in the vanilla extract, then mix in the eggs 1 at a time.
With the mixer on low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by about 1/3 of the buttermilk. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Repeat the process until all of the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture are incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Then carefully insert to remove the cake.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar.
The glaze should look white in color (not transparent) but still be thin enough to drizzle. Whisk in a little more powdered sugar or lemon juice as necessary.
Drizzle the glaze over the fully cooled cake.
*You'll need 4-6 medium to large lemons for this recipe.
**Room temperature ingredients. Take the buttermilk, sour cream and eggs out the fridge 30 minute before getting started. You can warm up the buttermilk and sour cream in the microwave on very low power, and place the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Freezing Instrucitons: Bake the cake as directed (without the glaze) and cool fully. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic at least twice (without the pan), then place in a large freezer friendly container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.