Packed with refreshing lemon flavor, this lemon bundt cake has an ultra-soft texture (thanks to the sour cream) and is topped with a delicate lemon glaze.

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Top down view of glazed lemon bundt cake pictured on a wooden table and a green cloth with lemons on it.

About Lemon Bundt Cake

With a fluffy pound cake texture that’s infused with sweet lemon flavor, this lemon bundt cake is a simple, eye-catching dessert – as most bundt cakes are – making it perfect for any time of year or occasion.

What does sour cream do for cakes?

This is not just a recipe for bundt cake, but a sour cream bundt cake, which means that all the qualities you love about bundt cakes (dense, crumbly, and delicious) are kicked up another level thanks to the sour cream.

Sour cream is one of the dairy products with the highest fat, and in baking, the amount of fat will shorten the gluten strands. This process is what makes baked goods softer and more “tender.”

How many lemons do you need?

This recipe calls for about a 1/2 cup of lemon juice and roughly three tablespoons of lemon zest. For the juice alone, you’ll need about three or four lemons, which should also give you more than enough lemon zest.

You can also use store-bought lemon juice for this recipe.

Side view of the lemon bundt cake that's been cut, showing off the fluffy texture inside.

What type of cake pan should you use?

This recipe is designed for a bundt cake pan, and you can you any variety (simple, decorative, etc) that’s at least 10 inches in diameter or has a 10-15 cup capacity. I personally used this 10-inch classic bundt cake pan.

How long is lemon cake good for?

Once prepared, this cake can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up to two to three days.

And keep in mind, many baked goods taste better the day after baking, and this cake is no exception.

Can you freeze this bundt cake?

Yes, you totally can! Cakes are amazing for freezing.

Once prepared and cooled, wrap the whole cake (or individual pieces) in plastic wrap, then store it in a sealed container or a freezer bag for up to six months.

When ready to eat, transfer the cake to the refrigerator to thaw overnight, then place it on the counter to come to temperature.

Side view of a slice of lemon bundt cake, topped with a slice of lemon.

Tips for ensuring cake release

One of the trickiest (and potentially devastating) parts of cake making is ensuring that the cake will cleanly release from the pan. And this problem increases ten-fold when you’re dealing with a deep, decorative bundt cake pan.

But fear not! There are a couple of tips, methods, and tricks to help ensure that the tops and sides of your cake are as pretty as the bundt pan itself.

Properly inspect and prep your bundt cake pan for baking, which means:

  • Check the condition of your bundt cake pan. Most modern bundt pans come with a nonstick coating, but continued use or certain methods of cleaning (like the dishwasher) can erode this layer away. For tips on checking the condition of your bundt cake pan, see this article: When to Throw Away Nonstick Pans. It’s written for items like frying pans, but the same basic concepts can apply to any cookware with a coating.
  • Coat the pan with either baking spray, homemade cake release, or a layer of butter and dusting it with flour. If you’re the type that tends to have bad luck with cakes releasing – and there’s no shame in that, because I’m raising my hand right along with you – feel free to be generous in how much you use. The worst thing that will happen is that the outside of the cake might appear a darker color, but that’s much better than releasing your cake only to find that half the cake is still stuck inside the pan.
  • For best results, wait to coat your cake pan with the above methods until just before you’re ready to pour in the batter. So prepare the batter, coat the pan, then pour.

Once baked, help a stubborn cake release from the pan by:

  • Always allow the cake to cool completely in the bundt cake pan before attempting to release it. Be prepared that this may take a while. You can try to speed up the process by placing the cooling cake in the refrigerator.
  • Place the bundt cake pan (with the cake still inside) in the freezer for 30 minutes. This should cause the cake itself to shrink, helping it pull away from the sides of the pan and allow for easy release. You can repeat this step as needed until the cake has enough room to release. And don’t worry, the cake will bounce back to its intended size as it comes to room temperature.
  • Submerge the top half of the bundt cake pan in hot water (and just to be clear, submerging the top half of the pan means keeping the bottom of the cake facing toward the ceiling). This should help the material of the bundt cake pan expand, pulling it away from the cake and allowing for an easy release. This method is sort of the opposite of freezing and whether either method works could depend on the type of cake or the material of the bundt cake pan.
  • If you have a thin spatula made of silicone or soft plastic (avoid sharp metal objects) you can gently poke around the exposed bottom and sides of the cake to help free some areas it may be stuck. However, this method has iffy results, since you can only safely access a small portion of the cake.
  • When in doubt, let gravity do the work. If you’ve tried the above methods and the cake still won’t drop, place a few kitchen towels on a wire cooling rack and rest the bundt cake pan, cake side down, on top of the towels. The cake may just need the help of its own weight and the towels will help cushion (and lessen the distance) as the cake falls out of the pan in its own time.

Notes & tips for lemon bundt cake

  • When making cakes like this, I highly recommend using a stand mixer with a flat beater or flat edge attachment. These are ideal for working with large amounts of batter and efficiently creaming butter and sugar. You can read more about different types of attachments here: Which beater do I use?
Close up side view of a fork cutting into a piece of lemon bundt cake.

More delicious cake recipes

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How to make lemon bundt cake

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a medium bowl, mix together the following ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Set the bowl aside for now.

Step 2 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the sugar, butter, and lemon zest until nice and fluffy.

Step 3 – Mix in the eggs, one at a time.

Step 4 – Turn off the mixer and add the mixed dry ingredients and the milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl. Turn the mixer back on and mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Stop the mixer again and use a spatula to gently scrape together any wayward ingredients.

Step 5 – Grease a 10-inch bundt cake pan and pour in the cake batter. Use a spatula to smooth out the top.

Step 6 – Bake!

Step 7 – Once the cake is baked and cooled, mix up the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk, and lemon zest in a small bowl.

Step 8 – Decorate the cake with the sugar glaze as desired.

Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Top down view of glazed lemon bundt cake pictured on a wooden table and a green cloth with lemons on it.
4.75 from 8 votes

Lemon Bundt Cake

25 mins prep + 1 hr cook + 1 hr Cooling Time
426 kcal
Yields: 12 slices
Packed with refreshing lemon flavor, this lemon bundt cake has an ultra-soft texture (thanks to the sour cream) and is topped with a delicate lemon glaze.

Ingredients 

Lemon Bundt Cake
Lemon Glaze

Instructions

For the Lemon Bundt Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Using a stand mixer with a flat beater (or a hand mixer + large bowl), cream together sugar, butter, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Drop mixer speed to low and blend in eggs, one at a time.
    4 eggs
  • Turn off mixer and add the dry ingredients, milk, lemon juice, sour cream, and vanilla. Return mixer to medium speed and mix until ingredients are just combined, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, mixing in any wayward ingredients.
    1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Generously grease a 10-inch bundt cake pan with baking spray, then pour in cake batter. Use a spatula gently smooth out the top into an even layer.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (no crumbs).
  • Remove cake from oven and allow to cool, still in the bundt cake pan, for 20-30 minutes. Once cool, remove cake from bundt pan and allow cake to finish cooling completely on a wire cooling rack.
For the Lemon Glaze
  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk, and lemon zest until smooth.
    1 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • If you’d like the glaze to be thinner, add a small splash of lemon juice or milk until desired consistency is reached. If you’d like the glaze to be thicker, add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar at a time until glaze is thick enough.
Putting it All Together
  • Transfer cake to a serving plate, then drizzle lemon glaze on top. Garnish with more lemon zest, if desired.
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 530IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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2 comments

    • Pat Browning

    Can i use buttermilk in place of regular milk

    • Hey Pat! Unfortunately, I’m not sure you can make that substitution – buttermilk is different than milk or cream due to the extra acidity, which would impact the baking chemistry. Do you have half and half or heavy whipping cream? You can usually water those down and use them in place of milk.