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The Best Chocolate and Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

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This Chocolate Lemon Cake is the perfect combination of a moist lemon bundt cake and a rich chocolate ganache topping. Once you try this delicious cake recipe, you’ll be hooked on this irresistible flavor combo!

Looking at the inside of a lemon cake with chocolate ganache.
Table of Contents

When you think of chocolate and lemon together, you might be a little skeptical at first. But trust me, this combo is seriously amazing! The tart, zesty lemon cake is the perfect match for the rich, creamy chocolate ganache.

The secret to this super moist lemon cake is the sour cream. It adds tons of moisture and a little bit of tang that really makes the lemon flavor pop. And using a cake mix means this recipe is a total breeze, and there’s no reason to fool with measuring out all those dry ingredients. Just like these Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes.

But let’s talk about the real star of the show – that luscious chocolate ganache. It’s made with just two ingredients {milk chocolate chips and heavy cream}, but it tastes like pure decadence.

When you cut into this cake, you’ll be blown away by how pretty it is. The light yellow lemon cake and the dark, glossy chocolate ganache are a match made in heaven. And every single bite is the perfect balance of sweet, tart, soft, and creamy.

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What goes into this Recipe

Ingredients needed to make a Chocolate Lemon Bundt Cake.
  • Lemon Cake Mix: This is the base of our super easy lemon cake and makes the whole recipe a breeze.
  • Milk Chocolate Chips: The key to a smooth, creamy, and indulgent ganache. You can also use dark chocolate for a dark chocolate ganache, or even white chocolate chips for a lemon white chocolate cake! It is also a main ingredient in these Mini Chocolate Cakes.
  • Heavy Cream: This helps create the perfect consistency for the ganache.
  • Lemon Zest:  Use a microplane to remove the outer layer of the lemon {or Meyer lemons}.  Add it to the cake and top of ganache for a nice finish and burst of flavor.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • You can also make a moist and delicious lemon cake with a white cake mix and a small box of instant lemon pudding. Just like this Lemon Pound Cake.
  • If you don’t want to make chocolate ganache, try using chocolate frosting from the grocery store {like this Black Bottom Cake} or white chocolate buttercream.
  • To give this cake a real twist, swap the flavors.  Make a rich chocolate cake or moist chocolate sponge and cover it with lemon buttercream or lemon glaze.

How to make a Chocolate and Lemon Cake

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, and sour cream. Using an electric mixer {or a stand mixer, or even just a whisk}, mix the ingredients together until you have a smooth, lump-free batter. rate the zest of one lemon into the batter and stir to incorporate. The lemon zest adds a bright, fresh flavor that enhances the citrusy taste of the cake.
  2. Spray your bundt pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the prepared batter into the greased bundt pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
Combining the cake batter and pouring it into a prepared pan.
  1. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Baking times may vary slightly depending on your oven, so keep an eye on your cake towards the end of the baking time. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. This cooling time allows the cake to firm up slightly, making it easier to remove from the pan without breaking.
  2. While the cake is cooling, prepare the chocolate ganache. In a microwave-safe medium bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave the mixture in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Be careful not to overheat the ganache, as this can cause the chocolate to seize up.
Baking the cake and making the chocolate ganache.
  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, place it on a serving plate or cake stand {loosening the edges with a butter knife first if necessary}. Pour the chocolate ganache evenly over the top of the cake.
  2. Allow it to drip down the sides for a beautiful presentation {you may need to use the back of a spoon to spread it slightly}. Top with extra lemon zest {if desired}. The ganache will set up slightly as it cools, creating a smooth, glossy finish. Once it’s set, slice and serve!
Finishing the cake by topping with ganache and lemon zest.

Expert Tips

  • Want an extra burst of lemon flavor? Add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon extract to the cake batter along with the lemon zest.
  • If you prefer a darker chocolate flavor, you can use dark chocolate chips instead for the ganache. You can also use white chocolate chips to make a white chocolate ganache to top the citrus cake.
  • To ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan, make sure your bundt pan is evenly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Be sure to hit all the nooks and crannies of the pan right before adding the cake batter.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before applying the ganache. If the cake is still warm, the ganache may melt and run off the cake instead of setting up properly into a thin layer on top of the bundt.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut slices of the cake.  This will help to make this step easy and give you a nice clean cut.

Storage and Freezing

Store: This Chocolate Lemon Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your kitchen is particularly warm or humid, you may want to store the cake in the refrigerator to prevent the ganache from melting.

Freeze: To freeze the cake, wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. The cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before bringing it to room temperature.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a different type of cake mix?

While this recipe specifically calls for a lemon cake mix, you can experiment with other flavors like vanilla or yellow cake mix. Keep in mind that the lemon flavor won’t be as pronounced if you use a different cake mix.

Can I make this cake without a bundt pan?

Yes, you can bake this cake in a 9×13-inch baking pan, two 9 inch round cake tins or even as cupcakes.

Adjust the baking time accordingly. A 9×13-inch cake may take a bit longer to bake, while each cake layer and the cupcakes will require a shorter baking time.

Can I use a different type of chocolate for the ganache?

Absolutely! You can use dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, or even white chocolate chips to create a different flavor for the ganache. Just keep in mind that the sweetness level and the overall taste of the cake will change depending on the type of chocolate you use.

How can I make the lemon flavor more intense?

To amp up the lemon flavor in this cake, you can add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon extract to the batter along with the lemon zest. You can also brush the cooled cake with lemon syrup. It can be made by heating equal parts lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves. This is done before pouring on the ganache for an extra burst of citrusy goodness.

Cutting and serving a piece of lemon cake with chocolate ganache.

Are You A Fan of lemon desserts? Try these recipes…

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The inside of a chocolate and lemon cake after serving a few pieces.

The Best Chocolate and Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

A moist lemon bundt cake is covered in chocolate ganache for the perfect combination of citrus and chocolate.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 396kcal
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Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 box lemon cake mix {13.25 ounces}
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk {I used 1%}
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cake

  • Combine lemon cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, milk and sour cream in a large bowl. Use a hand held mixer {or mix by hand} to mix the ingredients together until you have a nice and smooth batter.
  • Spray the bundt pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only a few crumbs.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake to loosen them {if needed}, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Combine the milk chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk the ingredients until smooth. If it is still chunky, add 15 seconds and whisk again. To get the ganache a smooth spoonable consistency, add enough heavy cream to get it there.
  • Evenly pour the chocolate ganache over the top of each cooled cake. Top with lemon garnish {if desired}. Allow the ganache to set up and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

If you prefer a darker chocolate flavor, you can use dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips for the ganache.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 244IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 1mg
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