Easy Lemon Bundt Cake
This Easy Lemon Bundt Cake is a delicious retro recipe from my childhood. We all need a few shortcuts this crazy time of year! Dense, moist, and irresistible, it’s just as appropriate for a summer pitch-in as it is for a holiday dessert!
This Lemon Cake Recipe starts with a yellow cake mix which is doctored up to the point you’d think it was made from scratch. When you’re short on time, but want an Easy Cake Recipe, I’ve got you covered!
Why You Must Make
- It’s one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make!
- A box of instant lemon pudding adds a burst of citrus flavor without having to zest or squeeze any lemons.
- No one will ever guess this is made with a cake mix! It tastes like it’s made from scratch.
This lemon bundt cake was one of those recipes that my mom got from her bridge club friends. Back in the day, before the Internet, recipes made the rounds the old-fashioned way. The ladies would rotate between each others’ homes for a few hands of cards, snacks, and desserts. My mom had a stash of handwritten recipe cards from decades of these gatherings. Most were easy and almost all were a hit with my sisters and me.
This lemon bundt cake was dubbed “Mock Baba Cake,” possibly in homage to the Baba au Rhum cake, which is a yeast cake soaked in a liquor-spiked syrup. Like many desserts from back in the 1970s, this one started with a cake mix. Doctored up, this lemon cake bore no resemblance to the uninspired yellow cake mix from which it originated.
- Box of Yellow Cake Mix – Both Yellow and Butter Flavors work. I prefer Butter. 15.25 ounce box.
- Small Box of Instant Lemon Pudding Mix – 3.4 oz box.
- Vegetable Oil – Canola oil works well. Avoid olive oil as you want a more neutral flavored oil.
- Eggs – At room temperature
- Powdered Sugar – Sift to remove lumps
- Butter – Melted
- Orange Juice Concentrate – Defrosted. Provides a deep citrus flavor to the glaze.
How to Make
- Mix cake batter.
- Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake as directed.
- Make the glaze, then using a wooden skewer, poke holes on the under-surface of the cake, and drizzle with a quarter to a third of the glaze.
- Invert the cake onto a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Poke holes across the top of the cake, then brush the surface with the glaze. Cool completely, slice, and dig in!
A box of cake mix, instant lemon pudding, eggs, and oil combine to make a sweet, dense pound cake. A unique glaze made with orange juice concentrate (yes, they still sell the stuff!!) doubled the citrus punch.
- I actually prefer a butter cake mix as it seems to have less of an artificial taste than the yellow cake, but truthfully, both that or a yellow cake mix works well.
- Just add the instant pudding, eggs, water, and oil to the cake mix and beat until well combined.
- Prep your Bundt pan with an oil and flour spray, like Baker’s Joy or Pam’s version, so the cake will release from the pan easily.
- Bake as directed and check doneness by poking a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake another 5 minutes and recheck.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before releasing it from the pan. It needs some time to cool so it doesn’t fall apart when you flip it over onto the cooling rack. If you wait too long, the cake will stick. I like to give it a little shake back and forth to help loosen the cake from the walls of the pan, before inverting.
- Cool slightly before glazing. Make sure to sift your powdered sugar if you want a smooth, lump-free glaze.
This lemon Bundt cake is easy peasy to make, yet tasty enough to serve to guests! Both picky palates in the house were thrilled with this cake. I think you will be, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Besides a nice boost of flavor, the pudding mix also adds moisture and density to the cake.
Lemon zest, with its aromatic essential oils, adds a more intense lemon flavor to a recipe than lemon juice. It’s a delicious way to boost the lemon intensity of any recipe.
Also, rubbing the lemon zest into any sugar called for in the recipe will help release the oils and flavor the sugar which will then flavor the cake.
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Everyone knows how busy it is around the holidays. Shopping, wrapping, and parties fill our days. Easier recipes are a huge bonus, especially when they’re as tasty as those we’re sharing today. If you love this lemon Bundt cake, don’t miss my Kentucky Butter Bundt Cake recipe!
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- 1 box yellow or butter cake mix (15.25 ounces)
- 1 small box instant lemon pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
- Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a standard Bundt pan (or spray with Baker's Joy). Set aside.
- Combine all cake ingredients in a bowl and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- When the cake is almost finished baking, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth.
- When cake is removed from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Then poke some holes over the surface of the cake with a long pronged fork. Drizzle part of the glaze over the cake.
- Invert cake onto a cake plate. Poke the top surface of the cake with the fork and drizzle the rest of the glaze over the cake.
- Let cool completely before serving.
¼ cup of rum can be substituted for ¼ cup of the water if you'd like a lemon rum cake.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g