How to Make the Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake
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When life gives you lemons, make a gorgeous lemon Bundt cake. We'll show you how to make this citrusy cake which has a triple dose of lemon. Yum!
There’s nothing more easy and elegant than a good Bundt cake. Whether you’re hosting brunch, book club or an elegant dinner party, a Bundt is always in style. The best part about these cakes is that they are a cinch to put together. Just follow some basic Bundt cake tips and you’ll have a gorgeous cake that everyone will ooh and ahh over.
But with so many great Bundt recipes out there, where do you start? Well, our Test Kitchen is partial to this ultra citrusy lemon Bundt cake. It’s tart, lush and suited to any occasion. Serve it up at your next party and have a leftover slice for breakfast the next day.
How to Make a Lemon Bundt Cake
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This Lemon Lover’s Pound Cake is a favorite here at Taste of Home. It comes to us from contributor Annettia Mounger of Missouri. It’s so loved because this lemon pound cake packs a ton of lemon flavor thanks to lemon zest, lemon juice and a touch of lemon extract. When we say it’s a lemon lovers cake, we mean it! To make this cake, grab some lemons and these ingredients:
For the cake:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups sour cream
For the icing:
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Editor’s Tip: Use this hack to juice your lemons without cutting them.
Step 1: Prep Your Bundt Pan
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For this recipe, you’ll need a 10-inch fluted tube pan. If you don’t have one yet, there are so many pretty Bundt pans to choose from. If you’re new to Bundt baking, try one without a ton of intricate designs and then work your way to something fancier in the future. Our Test Kitchen used the Nordic Ware Original Bundt Pan for this recipe.
Then it’s time to grease the Bundt pan. Grab some shortening and smear it around the entire inside of your pan. Then dust the inside with flour and tap away the excess. If you see any spots that you missed, just go back in with an extra dab of shortening and a bit more flour.
Editor’s tip: Don’t use butter to coat your Bundt pan! The milk solids can cause your cake batter to stick. If you are out of shortening, you can always substitute a cooking spray formulated with flour like Pam Baking Spray or Baker’s Joy.
Step 2: Stir Up the Pound Cake Batter
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Next, it’s time to create the batter. Cream the softened butter and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer (a good hand mixer works, too). Beat this duo together until light and fluffy—about six minutes. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Then stir in the lemon zest, juice and extract. The combination of all three will really make the flavor pop!
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Give it a quick whisk. Then add in this mixture alternatively with the sour cream. Beat until just combined. If you overmix, you can make the cake tough.
Step 3: Bake the Bundt Cake
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When you’re finished mixing up the batter, pour it into your prepared fluted tube pan. Because Bundt cakes tend to bake up with a domed bottom (which is absolutely fine and normal), try to make a bit of a trough in the batter. To do this, simply ensure a bit more batter goes up around the sides and there’s a bit of a dip in the center. It’ll help even things out a bit as it bakes.
Bake the cake at 350ºF for 55 to 60 minutes. At the 55-minute mark, insert a toothpick to check the cake doneness. If it comes out clean, the cake is finished. Don’t be alarmed if the cake takes the full hour (or even slightly more). Bundt cakes are big and dense so they require some extra time.
Step 4: Cool and Flip
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When the cake is done baking, let it cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before flipping. After that time, place a rack on the bottom of the cake and invert. If you greased the cake pan perfectly, it should pop out just fine.
If your Bundt cake is stuck, don’t fret yet! Try knocking the sides of the pan against the countertop (pad the counter with a towel first) to loosen the cake and flip again.
If you’re still not having luck, just leave the cake flipped over on the rack. Gravity will do its work and the cake will release. Check on the cake after about ten minutes of it resting this way.
Let your cake cool completely before moving onto the next step.
Step 5: Top with Icing
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When your cake is completely cool and you’re ready to serve, whisk up a quick icing. Beat together the sour cream and softened butter until smooth, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar. Mix in the lemon juice and zest and drizzle over the top of the cake, letting the icing drip down the grooves.
You can go the extra mile here and top with a little extra lemon zest to give people a preview of what’s in store.
How to Serve and Store Bundt Cake
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Once the cake is iced, it’s ready to serve! Use a serrated knife to cut perfect slices. If you and your company don’t finish this cake in a sitting, you can store the leftovers at room temperature or in the fridge for several days.
Pound cakes also keep well in the freezer. If you’re looking to store this cake in the freezer for an extended period, skip the icing. Wrap in plastic or foil and make sure it’s sealed tightly. This should keep in the freezer for a few months. When you’re ready to serve, just defrost and ice. It turns out beautifully!
Tips for Making Lemon Bundt Cake
What’s the difference between a Bundt cake and a pound cake?
Any cake baked in a Bundt pan is a Bundt cake, but a Bundt cake is not always a pound cake—which can get a little confusing!
Let’s break it down: A traditional pound cake has equal (or very close to it) ratios of fat, eggs, flour and sugar. This lemon Bundt cake recipe also happens to be pound cake because it has near-equal amounts of each.
You can make other kinds of cakes in a Bundt pan, like coffee cakes, or a regular (but still delicious) chocolate cake from scratch. In this instance, coffee cake and the chocolate cake would also happen to be Bundt cakes, simply because they’re baked in a Bundt pan.
Bundt pans work well for pound cakes and other cakes with heavy, dense batters. They’re not great for sponge cakes or boxed cake mixes because light batters tend to stick to the pan more often, which causes problems when trying to remove the cake from the Bundt after it’s baked.
Can you make lemon Bundt cake ahead of time?
Making your lemon Bundt cake the day before your gathering will allow you to focus on other food prep, so yes—you can make it ahead of time. Since you want to let the Bundt cake cool completely before icing it anyway, working ahead means you won’t have to anxiously await your cake to cool to top it off with the glaze before guests arrive.
After you make it, the lemon Bundt cake will last for 3 to 4 days. Just keep in mind, it will dry out a little bit each day, so enjoying it sooner vs. later is better.
What are some variations of lemon Bundt cake?
While this lemon Bundt cake recipe is delicious already, you can make a few tweaks to really make it your own:
If you want a little less lemon flavor, you can make a regular icing instead of the lemon-flavored icing that this recipe calls for. Further, replace the lemon zest with other citrus zests instead, like lime or orange, which will add another flavor profile to the cake.
On the flip side, if you want even more lemon flavor, try making a sweetened lemon whipped cream to serve with each slice. Check out our guide on how to make whipped cream for some tips and tricks. (And if you can’t get enough lemon in your life, check out more of our lemon recipes—both savory and sweet. Or, try any of our lemon cake recipes if you’re not set on using a Bundt pan.)
Feel free to sprinkle a few fresh raspberries on top of the Bundt cake for a little pucker and juicy sweetness that will complement the lemon perfectly.