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Lemon bundt cake with glaze and cut slice on white cake stand, beige background.

Lemon Bundt Cake with Glaze

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If you're a lemon lover, this is the perfect, simple cake bursting with lemon flavor (thanks to the lemon zest) and a sweet lemon glaze. It's easy to make, keeps well and has an extraordinary, melt-in-your-mouth crumb, similar to a moist pound cake.

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10 servings



For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Extra lemon zest for decorating


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF /180ºC.
  2. Butter or use spray (using baking spray with flour in it) a 10-cup bundt cake pan (or tube pan). If buttering it, dust the whole pan with flour, shaking off excess. Refrigerate while you prepare the batter. See Notes, below.
  3. Beat butter in a large bowl at medium or high speed, while adding sugar gradually until the mixture is creamy, about 3 minutes. You can use a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer. 
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time to combine.
  5. Add vanilla and lemon zest and mix. 
  6. Sift flour, baking powder and salt (I have them measured and sift them directly into the batter) and add it in 3 parts to the egg mixture, alternating with the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla in 2 parts. So you add: 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then the sour cream and half the milk and mix, then 1/3 more of the flour, the rest of the milk and lemon juice, and the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix lightly at low speed every time you add a dry or wet part, but there's no need to beat thoroughly after each addition, except the last one. 
  7. Mix well but don’t over beat. I highly recommend you run a rubber spatula and make sure there are no dry spots before pouring the batter into the pan. 
  8. Pour mixture into the prepared bundt pan (that you have in the refrigerator), and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. This time is estimated according to my oven and pan, but it can take a little less or more for you. So start checking towards the 35-40 minute mark. 
  9. Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil if the top of the cake browns too quickly and continue baking until completely done.
  10. Let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack and carefully shake the pan to see if the cake loosens by itself. You can use a smooth-bladed knife and insert it between the cake and the edges of the pan and gently loosen the parts that might've stuck during baking. Again shake the pan carefully. You should feel that the edges and the bottom of the cake is loose. 
  11. Remove the cake by putting the wire rack or a plate on top of it and flipping it with both hands with a kitchen towel that allows you to grasp both the wire rack (or plate) and the edges of the cake pan at the same time. Remove the bundt pan and flip the cake again with the wire rack so it's on top of it again but without the pan. 
  12. Let the cake cool completely on the wire rack before glazing it. 

For the glaze:

  1. Mix both ingredients in a small bowl until it's smooth and shiny. 
  2. Start with the 2 tablespoons of juice and add more by teaspoon if necessary. It should be like honey for a light glaze. If you want a thicker glaze, add less juice until you have a mixture like very thick honey. 
  3. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake and let drip down the sides. 
  4. Sprinkle with lemon zest if you want to. Let dry. 
  5. Eat at room temperature.
  6. Wrap leftovers and keep at room temperature for a day or two or refrigerated for 4-5 days. 


Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!

Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 

Preparing the bundt pan: 
Butter and flour: I use soft butter (NOT melted) to patiently cover the whole pan, every nook and cranny, every sharp angle, every single bit of space available. I use a brush or my fingers. I then flour the pan and REFRIGERATE IT while putting together the batter. I take it out at the last moment when I need to fill it (image above) and it goes like that into the oven. It will remove like a dream!
Baking spray: I use a spray that is labeled as having flour in it, or being specifically made for baking. It has to have flour in it, otherwise, you have high chances of the cake sticking when removing it. That is my experience at least.

Lemon flavor: you can add more or less of the lemon zest quantity specified in the recipe to adjust it to your own palate. The mix of juice and zest is a lemon flavor powerhouse, and this recipe will give you an intense experience. If you like a more mellower flavor, add more vanilla extract, up to a teaspoon, and lower the zest to half a tablespoon.

Serving it: this delicious cake is best eaten at room temperature in my experience. And if you don't want to use a simple glaze as we did here, a dusting of powdered sugar on top of the cake works just fine. Or use nothing at all really, this is a fantastic plain cake that can be used to make a quick dessert by serving a slice with a dollop of whipped cream and some berries or lemon curd on the side.

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooling time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American