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Kentucky Butter Cake

This Kentucky butter cake is unbelievably moist, tender, and, of course, buttery! It’s the ultimate definition of decadence.

And did I mention it’s a breeze to make? Even newbie bakers can pull this off. It’s an easy way to impress your family and friends. 

Bundt Butter Cake Poured with Icing

So, how about a slice or two of Kentucky butter cake for dessert? It’s not the healthiest of sweets, but who cares?

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You deserve a little guilty pleasure from time to time! Trust me, it’s worth every calorie.

What Is the Difference Between a Butter Cake and A Pound Cake?

Kentucky butter cake is a popular southern dessert, and for good reason. It’s basically a pound cake baked in a Bundt pan.

The difference between this butter cake and a pound cake is the delectable butter vanilla sauce.

It’s poured over the warm cake and soaks into every nook and cranny. That makes it insanely moist and rich.

Seriously, it’s to die for!


  • All-purpose flour – The recipe calls for unbleached flour for a denser cake. But regular all-purpose flour is okay to use, too.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – The leavening agents that ensure the cake rises.
  • Butter – It’s called butter cake after all! Use high-quality, real butter for the best tasting cake. It also has to be softened to room temperature.
  • Sugar – To sweeten the cake.
  • Eggs – Use room temperature eggs and add them to the mixture one by one. 
  • Vanilla extract – It pairs beautifully with butter. 
  • Buttermilk – For a richer flavor and a moister consistency. No buttermilk? No problem! Pour a tablespoon of sugar into a liquid measuring glass. Fill it up with milk until it reaches one cup. 
  • Butter Sauce – A simple mixture of butter, sugar, vanilla, and water.

How to Make Kentucky Butter Cake

1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with butter.

2. Make the cake batter. Start by combining the dry ingredients. (Flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.) Sift them together in a large bowl.

In a second large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy.

Then, beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla extract.

Finally, alternate pouring the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix with the mixer at low speed until everything is just barely combined.

3. Bake.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.

4. Make the butter sauce.

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Start making the butter sauce while the cake is baking. It doesn’t take long, so you can wait until the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

Mix all the butter sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Ensure all the ingredients mix together, but don’t let them begin to boil.

5. Remove the cake from the oven.

When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven but leave it in the Bundt pan. Use a fork to poke holes all over the cake.

6. Add the butter sauce.

Pour the butter sauce over the still-warm cake. Then, let it cool completely before removing it from the Bundt pan. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Butter Cake

  • Sift the powdered ingredients. This includes your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. It’s added effort, but don’t skip this step! Sifting aerates the dry ingredients, making your cake so much lighter.
  • Use a light-colored Bundt pan. This will prevent the cake from over-browning.
  • Make it boozy. Sub some (or all) of the water with rum or brandy when making the butter sauce.
  • Beat the butter and sugar for a fluffy cake. Beating allows the sugar to aerate the butter, giving the cake a lighter texture. Just beat softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it’s pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, and that’s it! 
  • Don’t over-mix. Over-mixing is the enemy of cakes. If you mix the ingredients too much, you’ll end up with a tough and crusty cake.
  • Make the cake ahead of time. Kentucky butter cake tastes even better and more buttery the next day.
Sliced Bundt Butter Cake

How to Get a Bundt Cake Out Of the Pan

Making sure a cake doesn’t stick to the pan is usually easy. Just line it with parchment paper and you’re all set.

But if you’re using a Bundt pan, like in this recipe, it’s not so simple. 

Don’t worry, there are several ways to ensure you can easily take that cake out of the pan. Here are a few options:

  • Use a pastry brush to generously oil/butter the bottom, sides, and every nook and cranny of the pan.
  • Lightly coat the greased pan with flour for good measure.
  • Use a trusty baking spray to help release your cake with ease. Just like the first method, you’ll want to thoroughly grease every spot! Otherwise, the cake won’t release properly. 

The best way, for me, is to use a homemade cake release. It’s easy to make and works like magic! It requires only two steps:

  1. Mix equal parts flour, oil, and shortening until combined.
  2. Brust the mixture generously over the pan’s sides and bottom.

Whichever method you choose, be sure that the cake is completely cooled before trying to take it out of the pan.

Then, place your cake plate on a flat surface. Flip the pan over the plate and wiggle it gently until the cake starts to slide out. 

This may take a while, so you need to be patient. You can loosen the edges with a knife to speed it up.

Don’t worry, if you were able to grease the pan well, the cake will come out, eventually, if not right away. 

What to Serve with Kentucky Butter Cake

This cake is one of the most sinful, delectable cakes there is.

It’s phenomenal as it is, but you can make it even more indulgent by adding one (or more!) of these toppings!

  • Whipped Cream – A light and fluffy topping to contrast the dense pound cake.
  • Fresh Berries – How does a medley of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries sound?
  • Vanilla Ice Cream – Because everything tastes better with ice cream.
  • Warm Salted Caramel Sauce – Apart from the flavor, it also gives your dessert that lovely warm and cool contrast.
  • Powdered Sugar – It’s a simple addition, yet it makes the cake look so elegant! It’s also a neat trick for hiding any cake imperfections.

How to Store Kentucky Butter Cake

Store the cake in an air-tight container to keep it moist and tender. It should keep well for 3 to 4 days. There’s no need to refrigerate it.

Kentucky Butter Cake


  • Cake
  • 3 cups 3 unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 baking soda

  • 1 cup 1 butter

  • 2 cups 2 granulated sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons 2 vanilla extract

  • 1 cup 1 buttermilk

  • Butter Sauce
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar

  • ⅓ cup butter

  • 2 teaspoons 2 vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons 3 water


  • Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • In a separate large bowl, add 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of sugar. Beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. (This process is called creaming the butter and sugar.)
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternatingly, into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Beat for about 1 to 2 minutes at low speed, or just until the ingredients are well-combined.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 60 minutes. To test for doneness, stick the center of the cake with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s done baking. Leave the cake in the pan.
  • Using a fork or knife, poke holes in the warm cake.
  • Butter Sauce
  • Make the butter sauce while the cake is baking. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ¾ cups sugar, ⅓ cup butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is combined, but do not let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Assembly
  • Pour butter sauce over the warm cake. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Slice and enjoy!
Kentucky Butter Cake

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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