This Kentucky butter cake recipe is a must-try, delivering a cake that's moist, buttery, and enveloped in a sweet buttery sauce. The sauce not only crusts the outside but also soaks into the cake, ensuring it stays moist and tasty for days!
If you're looking for a dessert that's a hit with both kids and adults, then this Kentucky butter cake recipe is for you! It's an old-fashioned vanilla buttermilk pound cake soaked in a butter and sugar syrup, creating a moist interior and a crispy glazed donut-like surface that's simply irresistible.
If you're a fan of this, you might also enjoy our other dessert recipes like the butter pecan cake, which shares the same buttery base, or the 7up pound cake, a unique twist on the traditional pound cake.
❤️ WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Quick and Easy: This recipe is easy to follow, perfect for those who want a delicious dessert without spending hours in the kitchen. The steps are straightforward, and the ingredients are simple and easy to find.
- Unforgettable: The unique flavor and texture of this cake make it a memorable dessert. Once you've tried it, you'll find yourself coming back to this recipe time and time again.
- Classic Flavors: This recipe sticks to the traditional flavors of a Kentucky butter cake. The result is a classic, time-tested dessert that never goes out of style.
- Family Favorite: This cake is a hit with both kids and adults. It’s the perfect dessert for family gatherings or just a regular weeknight treat.
- Comfort Food: There's something about a warm, buttery cake that just feels like home. This recipe is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for those days when you need a little pick-me-up.
More details about the ingredients and measurements are in the recipe card below!
- Unsalted Butter: The fat in this recipe gives it a beautiful buttery flavor. It also helps to keep the cake moist.
- Eggs: Make sure they are at room temperature so they incorporate more easily into the batter. They also help to bind the ingredients together.
- Buttermilk: Adds a slight tang to the cake and helps to tenderize the gluten in the flour, making the cake more tender and moist.
- Sugar: Not only does it sweeten the cake, but we’ll also use it to make our butter glaze that makes this cake the classic it is.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE KENTUCKY BUTTER CAKE
Preheat Oven and Mix Dry Ingredients: Begin by preheating your oven to 180C/350F. In a separate bowl, combine your flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set this mixture aside for later.
Mix Wet Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine your soft butter and sugar. Beat these ingredients together for about three minutes until they are well combined.
Add Eggs and Vanilla: Next, add your eggs one at a time to your butter and sugar mixture. Make sure each egg is well combined before adding the next. Add your vanilla to the mixture.
Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients: Gradually add a portion of your flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing for a few seconds each time. Add half of your buttermilk, continuing to mix. Repeat this process until all your flour and buttermilk are combined into the batter.
Pour and Bake the Batter: Beat the batter on high for 30 seconds, then pour it into a greased and floured 4"x8" bundt cake pan. Run a butter knife in a circular motion through the batter to eliminate any air bubbles. Place the cake in the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Poke Holes in Cake: Place the hot cake on a cooling rack but do not invert it. Using a skewer, poke holes throughout the entire cake.
Make the Butter Glaze: In a saucepan, combine all your glaze ingredients. Cook this mixture over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to let the mixture come to a boil.
Apply Glaze: While both the cake and the glaze are still hot, pour the glaze over the cake. The heat from both will help the glaze soak into the cake.
Allow to Rest and Serve: Leave the cake in the pan until it comes to room temperature. For the best flavor, cover the cake and leave it until the next day before consuming. Of course, if you can't wait, you can enjoy the cake the same day, but the flavors will be more developed the next day.
👩🏽🍳 PRO TIPS
- Room Temperature Ingredients: All ingredients must be at room temperature to create tender crumbs. This helps the ingredients mix together better and results in a smoother, airier batter.
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven 30 minutes before baking the cake. This makes sure that the oven is at the right temperature from the start and helps the cake rise evenly.
- Prevent Glaze from Boiling: Do not let the butter glaze boil. Keeping the glaze from boiling guarantees that it stays thin enough to soak into the cake, enhancing its flavor and moisture.
- Hot Glaze for Hot Cake: When pouring the glaze over the poked cake, make sure that both the cake and the syrup are hot. This allows the glaze to soak into the cake more effectively, making it moist and flavorful.
- Patience Pays Off: It is best to consume the cake the next day, it will have more flavor. Allowing the cake to rest lets the flavors meld together, resulting in a richer, more delicious cake.
- Chocolate: If you're a chocolate lover, this variation is for you. Simply add ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the flour mixture for a rich, chocolatey twist. The cocoa powder will give your Kentucky butter cake a deep chocolate flavor that pairs perfectly with the butter glaze.
- Lemon: For a refreshing twist, try adding the zest and juice of one lemon to the batter. The lemon zest will infuse the cake with a bright, citrusy flavor, while the juice will add a subtle tartness that balances the sweetness of the cake.
- Almond: If you're a fan of nutty flavors, consider adding 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter in addition to the vanilla. You can also sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of the glaze for a crunchy texture. The almond extract will give your Kentucky butter cake a delicate, nutty flavor that compliments the rich butter glaze.
- Cinnamon: For a warm, spiced version of this cake, add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the flour mixture. The cinnamon will give your cake a comforting, aromatic flavor that's perfect for the colder months.
🍽️ HOW TO SERVE
- For a sweet start to your day, enjoy a slice of this Kentucky butter cake with your morning coffee. The rich, buttery flavor of the cake pairs perfectly with a robust cup of joe. You can also have it with some Dalgona coffee for an extra special treat.
- Looking for a dessert to impress? Serve this Kentucky butter cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. The cold, creamy ice cream and sweet sauce complement the cake's buttery goodness.
- For a fun and casual get-together, why not create a DIY cake bar? Slice the Kentucky butter cake and serve with a variety of toppings like whipped cream, fresh berries, and chocolate chips. Let your guests have fun creating their own dessert masterpiece.
- And if you're on the go, this cake makes a great portable snack. Simply wrap a slice in a napkin and enjoy a sweet treat wherever your day takes you.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Poking holes in the cake allows the butter glaze to seep into the cake, making it moist and flavorful. This step is crucial for achieving the unique taste and texture of the Kentucky butter cake.
Yes, you can use salted butter. However, you should omit the additional salt from the recipe to avoid making the cake salty.
While you can certainly enjoy the cake on the same day, waiting until the next day allows the flavors to meld together, enhancing the overall taste of the cake.
If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for about 10 minutes. This will give you a good substitute for buttermilk.
- Refrigerate: After enjoying your Kentucky Butter Cake, store any leftovers in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to 5 days.
- Reheat Instructions: If you want to enjoy your cake warm, you can reheat individual slices in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Be careful not to overheat as it can make the cake dry.
- Freeze: Unfortunately, due to the moist nature of the Kentucky Butter Cake, it is not recommended to freeze this cake as it can alter the texture and taste upon thaw.
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⭐ PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW
If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please give it a 5-star rating and leave a comment below with your experience!
Kentucky Butter Cake
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter soft not melted
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup buttermilk
FOR THE BUTTER GLAZE
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Mix the flour with salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Keep aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add the soft butter and sugar. Beat until combined for three minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Make sure to add an egg after the previous one is well combined.
- Add a small part from the flour mixture to the wet and mix for a few seconds. Pour half the buttermilk and mix for a few more seconds.
- Repeat the previous step ending with flour mixture.
- Beat the batter for 30 seconds on high and then pour it in a bundt pan (4"x8"), that’s been greased and dusted with flour.
- Run a butter knife in circular motion in the batter to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake the cake in the middle shelf for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the cake on the cooling rack but do not invert it. Using a skewer poke the whole cake while it is hot.
TO MAKE THE GLAZE
- In a saucepan, add all the glaze ingredients and place it over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
- Pour the glaze all over the cake while the cake is still in the pan. Both the glaze and the cake should be hot for the glaze to soak the cake.
- It’s best to leave the cake in the pan until it comes to room temperature and then cover it and consume it the next for a better flavor. You can have the cake the same day of course but it will taste much better the next day.
- All ingredients must be at room temperature to create tender crumbs.
- Preheat the oven 30 minutes before baking the cake.
- Do not let the butter glaze boil.
- When pouring the glaze over the poked cake, make sure that both the cake and the syrup are hot. When you take out the cake from the oven poke it with the skewer and the make the glaze and pour it over the cake.
- It is best to consume the cake the next day, it will have more flavor.