Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

When life gives you lemons, make a Lemon Bundt Cake!
I know my son is not a little boy anymore because this year when I asked him what he wanted me to bake for his birthday, he went to the book shelf, picked off a cookbook, and marked Lemon Bundt Cake.  For the first ten years of his life, he requested such cakes as Rubber Ducky (okay, maybe I picked that one for him), pirates, dinosaurs, Kirby, and Mario.  Last year he even picked a Surfboard cake, but not anymore. He's matured and he's got good taste.

I was thrilled that he asked for a Lemon Bundt Cake for his birthday this year because it goes right along with my recent when-life-gives-you-lemons theme.  Also, I was glad that he picked something out of one of my favorite birthday cake inspiration books, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn.  As I was loading the dishwasher, my soon-to-be-eleven-year-old son read me the description and the recipe out loud.  He says he picked it because it was lemony and was 'that cake that has a hole in the middle'.

The cake was just what my son wanted for his eleventh birthday.  It has intense lemon flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.  The cake is extremely moist, yet it uses applesauce instead of oil so it  is relatively light.  Traditionally bundt cakes are topped with a glaze, but my son opted out of that and requested that I decorate his birthday cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting.  I piped the icing around the base of the cake and along the top.  He wanted more frosting so I wrote Happy Birthday around the sides of the bundt cake.

Although I have always enjoyed perching action figures precariously on layer cakes, carving sheet cakes into various shapes, and tinting frosting into garish colors, this new phase of birthday cake parenting is fun too.  I love that my oldest son is starting to share my love of recipes and I can't wait to see what he chooses next year for his last tweenage celebration!

Lemon Bundt Cake
(adapted from "A Lighter Susan's Lemon Cake" from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn)

PAM for baking
4 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice from about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 package (18.25 ounces) Lemon Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
3 Tablespoons lemon gelatin crystals (about half of a 3 ounce package lemon jell-o)
2/3 unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup hot water
4 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with PAM for baking.
  2. Wash and pat dry lemons.  Zest lemons to get 1 teaspoon.  Juice lemons to make 4 Tablespoons. (Save any extra juice and zest for glaze or frosting.)
  3. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, cake mix, lemon gelatin, applesauce, hot water, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute or until ingredients are incorporated.  Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 more minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes or until the top of the cake is light brown and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cake plate or stand.  Dust with powdered sugar, glaze with lemon glaze (3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest whisked together), or decorate with Lemon Buttercream Frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (2 large lemons)
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk, if needed
yellow food coloring, optional
  1. Mix softened butter with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds or until fluffy.
  2. Add the lemon juice and zest.  Add a small amount of yellow  food coloring, if desired.  Gradually add the powdered sugar.  Mix on low until all powdered sugar is incorporated.
  3. When all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, mix for one minute.  Add milk, one Tablespoon at a time if frosting is too thick.  Frosting should be a spreadable consistency.  
  4. Beat for 1 more minute until frosting is light and fluffy.


  1. Beautiful cake! It looks so scrumptious!!!

  2. It looks delicious! Lemon is my favorite flavor. I will be making this soon! :)