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Kentucky Butter Cake

If you love a rich golden butter cake but prefer a homemade one, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make a simple and delicious Kentucky Butter Cake. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

What is a Kentucky Butter Cake? 

A Kentucky Butter cake is a form of pound cake. It’s rich with butter (hence the name) and hails from the south. It’s a rich, moist dessert with strong Kentucky roots. 

This cake has a butter flavor, but (thanks to buttermilk) also had a bit of a twang. This sets it apart from my Old-Fashioned Pound Cake recipe, which calls for heavy whipping cream. 

Butter. . .and More Butter

Once a Kentucky Butter Cake is removed from the oven, it’s then soaked in a sweet butter and sugar glaze while still warm. This glaze seeps into the cake, adding extra moisture and flavor.

After the glaze has been absorbed, the cake is usually left to cool completely before being served. Sometimes, a light dusting of powdered sugar is added on top for decoration. 

Butter Cake Ingredients

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at what you’ll need. These are all basic ingredients you might already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator. 

FOR THE CAKE:

  • softened butter
  • granulated sugar
  • large eggs, room temperature
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • buttermilk (alternatively: 1 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)

FOR THE BUTTER GLAZE

  • butter
  • granulated sugar
  • water
  • vanilla

How to Make Kentucky Butter Cake

I was thrilled at the simplicity of this cake, y’all. One reason I’ve resorted to boxed cake mixes over the years is because I assume homemade cakes were hard. 

Some are, of course. But not this one. 

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. 

Prep your bundt pan with baking spray (or non-stick spray and a light dusting of flour). 

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and set aside. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Make sure your eggs and butter are room temperature before beginning. Here’s my quick method for warming up eggs. I put them in room temperature water as soon as I start gathering my ingredients. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Let’s make this cake! 

Cream butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  You can do so in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add sugar and mix well. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you don’t have buttermilk, this is the time to add apple cider vineqar to whole milk. 

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the butter mixture. Dry ingredients and wet ingredients merge better this way.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Cream until smooth on low speed.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. Mix well. 

You’ll end up with a luscious creamy batter. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Scoop batter into prepared bundt pan or tube pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you get it all. (It’s a thick batter and might stick to the edges.)

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cake should spring back to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean. 

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. 

Make your gloze: 

To make this sweet butter glaze, combine butter, sugar, and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a low simmer. Cook for a minute or two, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir well.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

While cake is still in pan, poke holes in it (using a skewer). You’ll want to poke them about 3/4 of the way down.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Pour glaze onto cake. I held back a little of the glaze to drizzle on top once the cake is released. 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Let the cake cool completely before attempting to turn it out onto serving platter. When you invert cake it should release easily. If not, gently work it loose with the tip of a knife. If you saved back some of the glaze, add it now to the top of the cake.

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Slice and serve! 

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Store leftovers in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap. 

What to Expect from this Old-Fashioned Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

The result is a cake with a moist tender crumb with a rich buttery taste and a slightly crunchy exterior from the glaze. This cake, which reminded me of a traditional pound cake, will be perfect to take to your next event because it’s even better the next day.

Kentucky butter cake is often enjoyed on its own as a sweet treat, but it can also be served with whipped cream and fresh fruit (like fresh berries) with a scoop of ice cream for added indulgence. It’s a beloved dessert in the region and is frequently made for special occasions or enjoyed as a comforting treat with a cup of coffee or tea.

Variations on this Recipe

Kentucky Butter Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Rum: You can easily turn this into a rum cake by adding rum or rum extract in place of the water in the glaze. Since it’s a Kentucky cake, you could also opt for Bourbon, if you like. 

Lemon Berry: Use lemon juice in the glaze (yum). You can bake a few blueberries directly into the cake if you like. Add some lemon zest to the cake batter for a richer lemony flavor. 

Sour cream pound cake: Out of buttermilk? Try sour cream in place of the milk. 

Cinnamon Sugar: You can add ribbons of cinnamon and sugar to the cake batter as you place it into the pan. 

Other Homemade Cakes from Out of the Box Baking

Cinnamon Sugar Pound Cake: If you’re in the mood for a buttery cake with luscious swirls of cinnamon and brown sugar, you’ve come to the right place! This moist, delicious pound cake is easy to whip up and the addition of the cinnamon and sugar sends it over the moon!

Orange Raspberry Pound Cake: If you love the texture of a luscious pound cake but the light, bright flavors of citrus and berries, you’re going to be crazy about this new recipe.

Southern Hummingbird cake from Scratch: Here in the south we love our sweets and we’re particularly fond of this traditional fruity cake. It you love a rich, full cake loaded with nuts and fruit, this is the recipe for you!

Aloha Carrot Cake from Scratch: If you’re looking for the perfect Carrot Cake to serve your guests this Easter, have I got a great one for you! This “from scratch” recipe is rich, moist, and covered in tangy cream cheese frosting! 


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious Kentucky Butter Butter cake recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

If you love a rich golden butter cake but prefer a homemade one, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make a simple and delicious Kentucky Butter Cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (alternatively: 1 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
  • FOR THE BUTTER GLAZE
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Prep your bundt pan with baking spray (or non-stick spray and a light dusting of flour).
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
  4. Make sure your eggs and butter are room temperature before beginning. Here’s my quick method for warming up eggs. I put them in room temperature water as soon as I start gathering my ingredients.
  5. Let’s make this cake! Cream butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  6. Add sugar and mix well.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
  8. If you don’t have buttermilk, this is the time to add apple cider vineqar to whole milk.
  9. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the butter mixture.
    Cream until smooth.
  10. Add the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. Mix well. You’ll end up with a luscious creamy batter.
  11. Scoop batter into prepared bundt pan.
  12. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cake should spring back to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean.
  13. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
  14. Make your gloze: Combine butter, sugar, and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a low simmer. Cook for a minute or two, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir well.
  15. While cake is still in pan, poke small holes in it (using a skewer). You’ll want to poke them about 3/4 of the way down. Pour glaze onto cake. I held back a little of the glaze to drizzle on top once the cake is released.
  16. Cool the cake completely before attempting to turn it out onto serving platter. If you saved back some of the glaze, add it now.
  17. Slice and serve!
  18. Store leftovers in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap.

Frank P.

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

Made it and Loved it!!! Thank You!

booksbyjanice

Friday 5th of January 2024

I'm so glad!

Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts - Out of the Box Baking

Friday 1st of December 2023

[…] Kentucky Butter Cake: This is a new recipe, similar to a pound cake, but loaded with depth of flavor that makes it perfect for a holiday feast! […]

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