Our crazy moist Lemonade Bundt Cake is packed with citrus flavors thanks to lemon zest, lemon juice and a lemonade-y glaze. This from-scratch recipe makes a tender, golden cake with the perfect balance of tangy and sweet that makes any occasion extra special.
Every bite of this Lemonade Bundt Cake is full of bright, zesty flavor that lemon lovers crave. Perfect for bridal showers, Mother's Day or Easter brunch, this moist, tender cake never fails to impress - and disappear.
Why you'll love this recipe
➤ Three doses of lemony flavor: With fresh lemon in the batter, syrup AND glaze, this Lemonade Bundt Cake is one of the BEST cakes for lemon lovers and citrus fans.
➤ It's extra moist: Painting the warm cake with a lemonade-like concentrate infuses the cake with lemon flavor and helps keep it extra moist for days.
➤ Make ahead recipe: This bundt cake is perfect when you are strapped for time as the cake's flavor actually improves as it sits!
All the standard cake ingredients are here.
A few ingredient notes:
✔︎ Fresh lemons - There's no mimicking this ingredient since lemon is the star of the show. You'll need the zest and juice from real lemons.
✔︎ Butter - Since butter is a major player in this cake, make sure you choose one with great flavor.
✔︎ Buttermilk - This is a key ingredient for a moist, tender bundt cake as it helps relax the gluten in the flour. You can buy buttermilk at the store or make your own "sour milk" at home by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of reduced fat or whole milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes then stir to combine.
Although it looks fancy, this from-scratch Lemonade Bundt Cake has detailed, easy-to-follow instructions to make you look like a pro baker.
Step 1: Preheat the oven and THOROUGHLY grease a bundt pan. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
Steps 2-5: Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Steps 6-9: Add half of flour mixture to bowl and mix well. Beat in buttermilk and lemon juice and then remaining half of flour mixture. Batter will be thick. Scrape into prepared pan and bake. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto wire rack.
Steps 10-12: Place sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Immediately brush syrup onto warm cake. Cool cake completely.
Steps 13-15: Whisk together powdered sugar, butter, lemon juice and pinch of salt until smooth. Add additional teaspoons of lemon juice to thin consistency, if needed. Spoon over cooled bundt cake.
Bundt cakes are baked in bundt pans which are donut shaped with a hole in the middle. The pans can range from simple to ornate. Bundt cakes are often more moist than regular cake recipes because more of the cake is exposed to the pan and its higher temperatures.
Use a non-stick pan and grease it meticulously using shortening or a non-stick vegetable oil spray. I like to soften the shortening in the microwave and then paint it on the pan with a pastry brush.
If you're spraying the pan, be sure to do it right before you fill it so the extra oil doesn't pool at the bottom of the pan. It's also recommended you loosen the sides of the cake from the pan (don't forget the flute in the middle) before trying to unmold it.
Note: Greasing the pan with butter doesn't give you as reliable of a release as shortening as the milk solids in butter can cause the cake to stick as it bakes.
Tips for making the best lemonade bundt cake
✔︎ This recipe requires a 10-12 cup bundt pan to avoid having the batter spill over in the oven.
✔︎ Want extra insurance to avoid cake sticking to the pan? Coat the bundt pan with a light dusting of granulated sugar or almond flour after thoroughly greasing it. This is especially helpful if you have a very intricate bundt pan with lots of nooks and crannies.
✔︎ Make sure your cold ingredients (butter, eggs and buttermilk) are room temperature before baking. Room temperature ingredients aerate much more easily when beaten together, resulting in cakes with a higher rise and lighter texture.
✔︎ The best tool for grating lemons is a Microplane grater.
✔︎ Oven temperatures vary, so check your cake about 5 minutes before the recommended bake time is complete. Insert a cake tester or toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If it comes out sticky or with batter, pop it back in the oven and check again in 5 minutes. I keep an inexpensive oven thermometer in my oven at all times just to make sure it's heating properly.
✔︎ Cool cake in pan for only 10 minutes. You want the cake to cool slightly but still be warm enough to release easily. If you cool it in the pan for a longer amount of time, you risk having the cake stick to the pan.
✔︎ Take your time brushing on the warm lemon syrup. It's inevitable that some of the syrup will drip down the sides of the cake (which is why we recommend putting it on a wire rack on a sheet pan), but take your time when painting the cake with the syrup. Allow it to be absorbed as much as possible before brushing on more syrup.
✔︎ Drizzle the powdered sugar glaze over the bundt once cake is completely cool otherwise it will be absorbed by the warm cake.
✔︎ Store leftover bundt cake covered on the counter for up to four days.
✔︎ Got leftover lemon juice after zesting and juicing your lemons? Freeze it in ice cube trays and use whenever recipes or cocktails call for freshly squeezed juice.
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Lemonade Bundt Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 3 large lemons
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons melted butter
- 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch of salt
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bundt pan thoroughly with shortening.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.3 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, Zest of 3 large lemons
- Place butter and sugar in a large bowl. Cream until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in vanilla.1 cup unsalted butter,, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 eggs,, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add ½ of flour mixture to the batter. Beat until just combined. Pour in buttermilk and lemon juice. Beat to combine. Stir in remaining flour mixture until just combined, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed together. Batter will be thick.¾ cup buttermilk, ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pour into prepared pan and use back of spoon or offset spatula to level. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert into wire rack placed on sheet pan. Brush with lemon syrup (see instructions below).
To make lemon syrup:
- Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved.½ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Brush warm cake with warm lemon sugar syrup, pausing to let syrup absorb as needed. Allow cake to cool completely.
To make glaze:
- Whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Glaze will be thick. Add additional lemon juice by teaspoon if needed until it reaches the desired consistency. Pour glaze over cake and allow to set briefly before cutting.1 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons melted butter, 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, pinch of salt
- Be sure to thoroughly grease every nook and cranny of a 10-12 cup bundt pan to ensure the cake doesn't stick. I prefer using shortening because it doesn't pool in the bottom of the pan like a spray oil can. Refrain from using butter as the milk solids can cause stickiness when baked. You can also coat the greased pan with a light dusting of granulated sugar or almond flour as extra insurance against sticking.
- Room temperature ingredients will mix together more easily.
- Oven temperatures can vary so check your cake 5 minutes before the recommended baking time is complete. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean if the cake is done.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for only 10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack placed on sheet pan. It is more likely to stick if you let it cool completely in the pan.
- Take your time brushing the cake with the lemon syrup to allow it to completely absorb before adding more.
- Drizzle the powdered sugar glaze over the bundt once cake is completely cool otherwise it will be absorbed by the warm cake.
- Store leftover bundt cake covered on the counter for up to four days.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.