Lemon Bundt cake: our 2017 Recipe of the Year

Hear ye, hear ye! The King Arthur Flour Company hereby declares 2017 the Year of the Bundt. With the introduction of Bundt pans in Minnesota over 70 years ago, Bundt cake is as all-American as apple pie, and much more versatile. From birthdays to anniversaries, job promotions to graduations, we celebrate with cake. And over the course of the next 12 months, we’ll share with you some of our favorite Bundt cakes — beginning with this classic lemon Bundt cake.

As the sun rises on a brand new year, we’re proud to announce our choice for 2017 Recipe of the Year: Lemon Bliss Cake, a Bundt cake that combines rich flavor and wonderfully moist texture with total ease of preparation. Simplicity itself, this cake is equally at home packed for a picnic or ensconced in the place of honor at an elegant dinner. 

Start the #yearofthebundt off right — with this simple yet elegant lemon cake. Click To Tweet

While vanilla and chocolate rule American taste buds, lemon is right behind. With its sassy citrus tang and sunny color, lemon is an obvious choice to brighten cold winter days. Next time you’re planning a celebration, think of this cake: we guarantee, it’ll be the life of the party!

Lemon Bliss Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Gather your ingredients:

16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk, whole milk preferred
finely grated rind of 2 medium lemons OR 3/4 teaspoon lemon oil

Want to make this cake gluten-free? Substitute our gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour, 1:1, for the all-purpose flour in the recipe; no other ingredient adjustments are necessary.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Beat together the butter, sugar, and salt, first until combined, then until fluffy and lightened in color. For a visual of what this process should look like, see our video, how to cream butter and sugar.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once all the eggs have been added, and beat briefly to recombine any residue.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Whisk the baking powder into the flour. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. The batter may look slightly curdled when you add the milk. That’s OK; it’ll smooth out as you add the flour.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Mix until everything is well combined; the batter may look a bit rough, but shouldn’t have any large lumps.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Stir in the grated lemon rind or lemon oil.

Thoroughly grease a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan, making sure to coat all the pan’s nooks and crannies. If your pan is more intricate than most, it’s worth it to take the time to melt shortening, and spread it over the pan’s interior surface with a pastry brush.

Why didn’t we prepare the pan before we started, same time as we started preheating the oven? Because here in the test kitchen we’ve found that non-stick Bundt pans can “shed” non-stick pan spray, letting it puddle in the bottom of the pan — particularly if the pan itself is non-stick. Preparing the pan just before using it keeps the non-stick spray right where it belongs: between pan and batter.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it and smoothing the top with a spatula.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Tip: If you don’t have a long enough toothpick to reach the center of the cake, use a piece of uncooked spaghetti. A pan with a dark interior will bake cake more quickly; start checking at 40 minutes. A cake baked with gluten-free Measure for Measure flour will bake a bit more slowly; give it the full 60 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze:

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; the juice of about 1 1/2 juicy lemons
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Stir together the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave or heat over a burner briefly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. You don’t want to cook the lemon juice, so microwave just until very warm, but not uncomfortably hot — less than 1 minute should do it. Set the glaze aside.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Remove the cake from the oven, and carefully run a knife between cake and pan all around the edge. Place the pan upside down on a cooling rack. If the cake drops out of the pan onto the rack, remove the pan. If the cake doesn’t drop onto the rack, let it rest for 5 minutes, then carefully lift the pan off the cake. But if the cake still feels like it’s sticking, give it another 5 minutes upside down, then very gently shake the pan back and forth to loosen and remove it.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Brush the glaze all over the hot cake, both top and sides. Let it sink in, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.

Allow the cake to cool completely before icing and serving.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

To make the icing:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Mix the sugar and salt, then mix in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, adding just enough additional juice to create a thick glaze, one that’s just barely pourable.

How-To-Make-Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Drizzle it artfully over the completely cool cake.

You can store the cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Lemon-Bundt-Cake via @kingarthurflour

Does cake get any better than this?

Maybe! Join us next month for one of our favorite chocolate Bundt cakes — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Baking gluten-free?

Want to make this cake gluten-free? Our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour makes it easy to make many of your favorite traditional recipes (like this one) gluten-free. Simply substitute Measure for Measure flour 1:1 for the flour in this recipe; no additional ingredients or other changes are necessary.

High-altitude adjustments

If you’re up in the mountains, you may want to adjust this recipe for optimal results. See our high-altitude baking tips.

Thanks to fellow employee-owner Julia Reed for the baking photos in this post.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kathy! You can fill a 9″ x 5″ pan 2/3 of the way up. If you have any leftover batter it’ll make for great tester cupcakes. Start checking for doneness around the 40-minute mark but it could take over an hour for the center to reach about 205°F on a digital thermometer. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Cheryl. Mini Bundts will probably bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350°F. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  1. Emily Taylor

    I made this cake at the beginnng of last year, but did not post at the time and I haven’t made it since. However, my family and I remember it clearly as one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Believe or not, I can still taste it!

  2. Merry

    Hi KA! I made this cake last night for the first time, as a test before making it for a special lunch at my synagogue this coming Saturday. I weighed the sugar and then took out about an ounce before adding it to the batter, because the amount the recipe called for, 14 oz., seemed like a lot. How much less can I go before it messes with the chemistry/taste? Can I take out another ounce? I made it just with the glaze and not the icing and it was delicious — definitely going into my cake repertoire! Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Merry, we’ve written a full article on our blog called, “How to reduce sugar in cake,” to help guide you through substitutions like this. We’ve found that you can reduce the sugar in creamed cakes (like the Lemon Bliss Cake) up to 25% without compromising the texture or flavor. In this recipe, that means you can use 10 1/2 ounces if you like. No other adjustments need to be made. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Nancy! You can certainly use this lemon cake as a layer cake, you would need two, 8″ or 9″ round pans. The layers would bake for about 30-35 minutes and the oven temperature would remain the same. Happy Baking! Morgan@KAF

    2. Donna A Pollock

      I made this beautiful cake. OMG! Not only was it very pretty, but was very good. I took some to the Hospital where I worked and everyone shared a couple of pieces I had to make one more just for them. This is what i gave out for Christmas gifts last year. Not one Complaint so far. I love this recipe. I will make it again and again. Please send me more recipes
      Thank you

  3. Diane

    Think this cake would be good to send through the mail to my daughter serving overseas? She could glaze it herself.
    Thanks, Diane

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you can get it to her in two, three days tops, Diane, we think it’ll be fine. You can do the syrup soaker and she can add the When it comes to shipping, super moist, dense cakes are ideal. So Caribbean Rum Cake or Everyone’s Favorite Fruit Cake (this is not icky packaged fruitcake, it’s GOOD homemade fruitcake that no one can resist a second slice of) will be safer choices for shipping. These two cakes tend to get better after a couple of days of resting. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Terry de la Vega

    I love the combination of lemon and blueberries. Would this recipe work if I folded in a cup of fresh blueberries? I have the classic 12 cup bundt pan, so I am not worried about there being enough space in the pan. I wonder how it might affect the texture and the rise of the cake.

  5. Jane S.

    This cake looks fabulous so I’m going to give it a try. I do have a query that might make you cringe though. I love the health benefits of whole wheat flour. Are there any adjustments that you’d recommend in the use of whole wheat flour?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We love baking with whole wheat flour, Jane! We also appreciate your ambition to add it into your dessert here. We’d recommend using either our White Whole Wheat Flour, which is more neutral in flavor and color, or using our Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, which is softer and imparts a more tender texture. Be sure to either weigh your flour using a scale, noting the weight of these flours in our Ingredient Weight Chart (they’re lighter than all-purpose flour), or measure your flour like this. If you measure your flour properly, you shouldn’t need to add any additional liquid or make other adjustments. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  6. Kathy Massey

    Looking for a special cake that will travel well for my daughter’s birthday. She is in college and I will be driving 4 hours to see her Saturday. Think I found it! She loves berries with lemon — I am thinking of just scattering an assortment of berries inside the bundt “hole.” Other thoughts on adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries? Thanks!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ths sounds delicious, Kathy, and I’m sure she’ll love it. Along with the fresh berries in the center, you could scatter some around the base as well (once you get there). And serving the cake with whipped cream would help keep the berries in place. If you’re worried about driving 4 hours with whipped cream, I can highly recommend whipped cream in a spray can — the real stuff, not non-dairy. There are good brands out there (including Cabot), ones that actually taste like fresh whipped cream. Good luck, and happy birthday to your daughter! PJH@KAF

  7. Teresa Ortego

    Is this,a super moist cake I need to bake it Friday for dessert on Sunday. I do have the KAF cake enhancer and am planning on adding that. Will that be touch? I also will be using a,stone bundt pan, will that affect baking time?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Teresa. For your stoneware pan, we’d recommend lowering your oven temperature by 25°F, and baking until the interior of the cake reads at least 200° on an instant thermometer to ensure it’s baked through. It’s quite a moist cake, though for several days of storage, we’d recommend wrapping and freezing it after it’s cooled. Pull it out Sunday morning and let it thaw on the counter. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *