For all the lemon lovers this Sweet, Tart and Tangy Lemon Bundt Cake recipe is for you. Easily made from scratch and baked golden brown with juicy lemon pieces baked in the batter. This cake is lemony delicious and a family favorite
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This year I have been blessed with an abundance of lemons. Years ago we planted two different kinds of lemon trees. One has been supplying us with lemons for eight years, and the other tree, maybe five lemons a year. I gave up on that tree; it’s nice and green, produces fragrant flowers but no lemons. That was until this year, and not only did it produce lemons, but really nice tart, juicy, yellow beauties. So now I have two trees and more lemons than I can handle. Even friends and family have nicely told me to stop bringing them lemons.
🍋What to do with lemons?
- Make lemonade
- Juice the lemons and pour into ice cube trays and freeze for later
- Zest the lemons and freeze in ziplock bags for adding to all kinds of recipes
- You can actually freeze whole lemons and grate them while frozen
We all love a beautiful layer cake covered in creamy icing but the elegance of serving a bundt cake with maybe a dusting of powdered sugar or a pretty icing drizzling down the sides is always a welcome dessert to serve your family or it turns into a special showstopping dessert to serve your guests.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- White granulated sugar
- Sour cream
- Powdered sugar
🍋How to get that great lemon flavor
Because this cake is all about lemons, this recipe uses lemons in three ways
- lemon zest goes into the cake and the icing
- lemon pieces are baked into the cake that adds a burst of lemon flavor.
- fresh squeezed lemon juice flavors the whole cake and the icing glaze.
I am sure you have had those recipes that say “add the juice of one lemon,” I am right? You know that lemons come in all sizes, so which size should you use? I have the solution for you in this post all about lemon juice. The amount of juice in a lemon guide will help you know how many lemons to buy for a recipe.
🍰 Let’s make a cake
Step 1. Zest the lemons using a lemon zester. It is easier to do this over a piece of wax paper or parchment paper.
Step 2. Next, make the lemon pieces by slicing the peel off the lemon with a paring knife. Then supreme the slices which simply means to remove the membrane from the lemon slices so they end up nice and clean looking. Do this over a small bowl to catch all the juices. Once you remove the membrane break up the slices into small pieces which will be added to the cake batter.
With all this zesting and slicing your kitchen will have a wonderful citrus smell to it. I love that!
Step 3. Mix the white granulated sugar and lemon zest together in a small bowl until completely mixed. This step flavors the sugar and adds more of the lemon flavor to the cake batter.
Step 4. Make the batter by adding the softened butter and half of the lemon/sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer and mix at medium speed until combined then add the other half of the lemon/sugar mixture and mix for four minutes.
Step 5. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well to totally combine.
Step 6. With the mixer on low speed add all the dry ingredients and mix well and scrape the bowl often. Next, mix in the sour cream at medium speed.
Step 7. After the batter is mixed, add the lemon pieces and all the juice that is in the bowl after supreming, to the mixing bowl, and mix by hand until incorporated.
Step 9. Pour the batter into a prepared bundt pan, see my notes in the FAQ section. And, yes I prefer to dust the pan with sugar.
Pan prep tip
This is my favorite tip for preparing a bundt pan. Heavily grease the pan and then sprinkle sugar all over to cover the pan and the inside cone instead of using flour. Using sugar leaves a nice coating on the cake and you won’t have that flour coating left on the baked cake.
Step 10. You are now ready to bake and this cake for 1 ¼ hours at 325 degrees F. I know this is quite a long time but this cake is very dense and needs time to fully bake.
Step 11. Once the cake is baked let it cool for about 15 minutes and remove it from the pan. Gently tap all around the pan with the palm of your hand to loosen the cake and then shake the pan a little bit. This should loosen it. If necessary, run a thin-bladed knife or spatula down the sides for the pan and the center tube to help release the cake. Once loosened, turn the cake upside down on a serving plate.
Step. 12 While the cake is cooling make the tart lemon glaze to drizzle on top of the cake. Simply mix powdered sugar, lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir until combined. With a spoon just drizzle the icing all over the cake.
You can see the pieces of lemon in the cake. That is what makes this cake so good.
🥄Equipment to get the job done
- If you use a lot of lemons both of these tools will come in handy and help get the most flavor from all of your citruses. This citrus zester is nice and sturdy and makes those nice fine pieces of lemon peel and this wood lemon reamer is perfect for juicing all types of citrus.
- Make sure to use a nice heavy bundt pan that is nonstick and has nice defined fluting. There are many designs to choose from but for this cake, I like the traditional 10-cup pan design.
After an afternoon of baking, it’s time for a slice of this moist and tender cake, along with a pot of tea and fresh berries.
For this cake, yes. Since this cake has a heavy batter to it with more butter, eggs and sugar than a regular cake plus the lemon pieces a bundt recommend. The center core of the pan will help bake the cake more evenly.
Use vegetable shortening and thoroughly grease the whole bundt pan up to the top edge and the center core. Cover the center hole of the bundt pan or stuff it with paper towel then sprinkle ¼ cup of flour or sugar into the pan. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap then shake the pan until it is completely covered with the flour or sugar.
Dusting a cake pan with sugar adds some additional sweetness to your cake and will slightly caramelize the outside which leaves a sweet crust. The sugar also makes allows the cake to release easier than flour. If you use flour for dusting the pan it can leave a floury taste to the cake and also bits and pieces of flour on the outside of the cake that doesn’t look pretty.
In most baked goods you can easily use a full-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
More favorite lemon recipes
Classic Lemon Shortbread Cookies are made with just six ingredients and lots of lemon zest.
Lemon Sponge Cake with Raspberries is a delicious cake to serve for any occasion.
Frosted Lemon Cookies are tender and chewy with the perfect lemon frosting on top.
Lemon Ricotta Cheese Dip is a quick-to-make appetizer filled with lots of herbs that bakes up golden brown on top.
Lemon Muffins with Ricotta is made with olive oil for a tender muffin that is full of lots of lemon flavor.
More bundt cake recipes
Everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe and this Chocolate Stout Beer Cake is requested often in my family for birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day and sometimes just for a good weekend dessert.
Not all cakes need to be made from scratch. This Banana Vanilla Bean Caramel Bundt Cake starts with a box of yellow cake mix and some very ripe banana.
This is one of my most pinned recipes and for good reason, it is delicious. Bake this Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake for an easy orange flavored dessert.
Sweet, Tart and Tangy Lemon Cake
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- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 lemon
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and thoroughly grease a 10-cup bundt pan, making sure to get the center core. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the bottom of the pan and shake the sugar all around to coat the bottom, sides, and center core. See notes below for full instructions.
- Using a citrus zester, zest four lemons over a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
- Remove the peel from the lemons you just zested by cutting an end off the lemon and setting it on a cutting then sliced the pith off the lemon. Next holding the lemon over a bowl, supreme each lemon by
- Now you have a lemon with no peel or pith on it. Hold the lemon over a medium-sized bowl cutting each segment on either side of the membrane to remove the flesh using a paring knife. This is called supreming. When done make sure to remove any seeds and break up the lemon segments in the juice. Do this for each lemon.
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix with your fingers until the sugar becomes moist and grainy.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and half of the sugar mixture for two minutes and medium speed with the mixer. Add the remaining sugar mixture and beat for four minutes. Make sure to scrape the bowl occasionally.
- Add the eggs to the above mixture one at a time, beating each just until combined.
- On the lowest setting mix in the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, and salt. Scrape the bowl.
- Mix in the sour cream on low speed until just combined.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon segments and all the juice in the bowl.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours until a cake tester at the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.See notes below on depanning a bundt cake.
Making the glaze
- In a small bowl add the powdered sugar. Zest and juice one lemon and add this to the powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
Storing the cake
- Cover any leftover cake with a cake cover or plastic wrap. This cake will keep for several days. Because of the lemon pieces in the cake, consider keeping leftovers in the refrigerator on very warm days.
- Once your cake is baked let it sit for 15 minutes then flip it over onto a cooling rack. You want the cake to still be warm when you flip it since it will release better. If you let the cake completely cool in the pan it just might get completely stuck.
- Before flipping your cake over, jiggle the pan a little to loosen the cake, and if necessary slide a knife down the sides to coax it lose and jiggle the pan again. Let the pan sit on the cake upside down for about 5 minutes before removing again until the cake releases.
First published: July 12, 2019, Last updated: July 4, 2021, for better readability
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.