This recipe for a classic lemon bundt cake with cream cheese frosting is a simple yet elegant cake that’s full of sweet-tart lemon flavor – perfect for a birthday or any other special occasion!
My dad’s birthday was last week and I made him this amazing lemon bundt cake! Meyer lemons grow like crazy here in Northern California this time of the year, there are trees full of them all over my neighborhood. So it’s no surprise that I had lemons on my mind when coming up with a treat to make for him.
I would like to say that I came up with this lemon bundt cake recipe on my own, but I didn’t! This is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s famous lemon cake, which is my favorite lemon cake of all time. Her version calls for 2 loaf pans. I converted the recipe to bundt form and also added a light coating of cream cheese frosting, because cream cheese frosting makes everything better!
You’ll need quite a few lemons for this cake – the batter is loaded with lemon zest and after the cake comes out of the oven it gets doused in a lemon syrup that adds another layer of flavor. The cream cheese frosting can be whipped up in under 5 minutes and adds the perfect finishing touch. The garnishes are optional but I feel like they really turn this lemon bundt cake into an elegant dessert.
Make sure you grease and flour the pan well before baking; there’s nothing worse than a bundt cake that doesn’t come out of the pan! This lemon bundt cake is definitely going on the permanent birthday cake rotation (along with my husband’s all time favorite cake). I’m sure your family will love it as much as we do.
- For the cake:
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
- 2¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 large eggs
- ⅓ cup finely grated lemon zest
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided use
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- cooking spray
- For the frosting:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- Optional garnishes: lemon zest, raspberries and mint sprigs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease then flour a bundt pan.
- Cream the butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the lemon zest.
- In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, combine ¼ cup of the lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Combine ¼ cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup lemon juice and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30-45 seconds, until mixture is very hot.
- Stir the hot mixture until the sugar dissolves.
- While the cake is still in the pan, drizzle half of the syrup over the top (which will be the bottom of the cake when you invert it). Tap the pan a few times on the counter to loosen the cake then invert onto a cooling rack.
- Drizzle the remaining syrup over what is now the top of the cake. Half of the syrup should be on the bottom and half on the top.
- Cool completely then transfer to a serving plate.
- For the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until thoroughly combined, 1-3 minutes.
- Add the milk and beat to combine.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and garnish with lemon zest, raspberries and mint if desired.