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Kentucky Butter Cake

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A sweet, buttery sauce coats the outside of this amazing Kentucky Butter Cake. The delicious glaze seeps into the cake for an insanely moist, buttery texture. You’ll love this sweet, buttery, moist cake with fresh fruit or a cup of coffee.

fork with a bite of Kentucky butter cake slice
pour the buttery syrup for the perfect dessert

What is butter cake?

Take it from a Kentuckian, baking a Kentucky Butter Cake is a snap. A vanilla, buttery flavor dominates the flavor profile of this traditional cake. Traditional American butter cake has roots in St. Louis, when it’s contestant won the 1963 Pillsbury Bake-off Contest.

And, its texture is flawless because this delicious dessert is topped with a butter/sugar/vanilla sauce that not only soaks into the cake, but also makes it crispy and sweet on top.

slice of Kentucky Butter Pound Cake on a blue plate next to a cake stand
it’s hard to resist a second slice

POUND CAKE VS. BUTTER CAKE

Living in Kentucky, I can attest- we love our tender, sweet, dense cakes and desserts.

Traditional pound cake recipes called for one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. For this butter cake, a translucent buttery syrup is poured onto the bottom of the cake and soaks in making this extra moist.

slice of butter cake in foreground with the cake and cake stand in background
this cake is so addictive

THE BEST BUTTER CAKE

  • When it comes to cakes, this is the best. It’s better because the cake soaks up so much sauce, making it rich, sweet, and unusual. I’m head over heels for you.
  • This amazing confection is made with plenty of butter and butter flavoring making it a scrumptious.
  • Yes, the second day is even better for this Kentucky Butter Cake. And, the third day too- but I doubt you’ll have any left by the third day!
  • The butter syrup is also brushed onto the outside of the cake giving it a slight crisp exterior and beautiful texture.
ingredients for Kentucky butter cake including sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, yogurt, buttermilk, baking soda

INGREDIENTS

Cake

  • 3 ¼ c flour
  • 2 c sugar 
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ¼ c butter, room temperature
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 3 eggs + 2 yolks
  • 1 Tbs yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring

Glaze

  • ⅔ c sugar
  • ¼ c butter
  • 3 ½ Tbs water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt

HOW TO MAKE KENTUCKY BUTTER CAKE

Before you begin, be sure to preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 cup bundt pan and set aside. 

GLAZE INSTRUCTIONS

EXPERT TIPS

  • Easy pan removal
    • If the cake does not “fall” out of the pan easily once flipped over, gently tap the bundt pan to release the cake. Do not let the cake cool for very long as the cooler the cake is, the more likely it will stick to the pan. 
  • Coating the pan is essential
    • For the bundt pan, get your Crisco (shortening) or butter out and coat the pan well. Then sprinkle it with a light dusting of flour. This step is necessary for preventing a sticky cake.
overhead view of round, golden Kentucky butterbundt cake
crisp texture on the outside
  • Don’t over mix
    • After the wet ingredients are added to the flour mixture, only mix until the batter has come together. Do not over mix. Over mixing will cause the gluten to over develop which will create a crumbly cake. 
diagonal pattern of a fancy golden brown top of a Kentucky Butter Cake
crisp, buttery outer layer
  • Tip for best flavor
    • Allowing the cake to rest in the fridge overnight can make the flavors really settle in.
  • Customizations
    • customize this cake by adding a bit of flavoring to your buttery glaze. Try a few drops of strawberry, lemon, or orange.
sliced moist Kentucky Butter Cake sitting on a cake stand
when the flavor soaks in, it’s magic

FAQ

  • Substitutions
    • Buttermilk – If you do not have buttermilk, simply remove 7 ½ tsp milk and mix in 7 ½ tsp white vinegar. Let the mixture stand for a couple minutes before adding to the recipe. 
  • Can I use cooking spray for the pan?
    • I do not recommend cooking spray for this recipe, shortening and flour are best for keeping the cake from sticking to your pan.
hand pouring the buttery glaze from a measuring cup
sweet butter sauce is the best

How to store leftovers

Leftover cake may be stored in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 5 days. Cake is best served room temperature or heated slightly to desired preferences.

moist inside of a sliced Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake

Homemade Kentucky Butter Cake is perfectly moist with a buttery vanilla glaze. Refrigerate for a day for even more infused flavor no one can resist!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 367kcal
Author: Amber

Equipment

Ingredients

Cake

Glaze

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 cup bundt pan and set aside. 
  • To make the cake batter, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until combined. Add the butter to the bowl and beat together for about 1 minute or until the mixture is crumbly. Add the remaining cake ingredients and mix until combined and a smooth batter has formed. Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. 
  • Place the pan into the oven to bake for 68 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with slightly moist crumbs. 
  • When the cake is almost done baking, make the glaze. Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Be sure to whisk often to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. 
  • Once the cake has baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Prior to glazing, you can slice the domed bottom off to allow the cake to sit level on a cake stand, however, doing so is not at all necessary. Pour half of the glaze over the surface of the bottom of the cake. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the bundt pan. Carefully flip the bundt pan over onto a cake stand. Gently lift the bundt pan up off of the cake. Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining glaze onto the surface of the cake. Let the cake cool for several more minutes before slicing and serving. 

Notes

Storage
Cake may be stored in a covered container at room temp or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 3020mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1524mg | Iron: 5mg

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