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Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe

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 such an easy way to impress your family and friends. And it’s perfect for any occasion.

Bundt Butter Cake Poured with Icing

What Is the Difference Between Butter Cake and 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!

Kentucky butter cake with dripping white sauce on top.


Ready to bake? Here’s what you’ll need for a classic Kentucky butter cake.

  • 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 – To make DIY buttermilk, add a tablespoon of vinegar to a liquid measuring glass. Fill it with milk until it reaches one cup. Easy peasy.
  • Butter Sauce – A simple mixture of butter, sugar, vanilla, and water.

How to Make Kentucky Butter Cake

Follow these easy steps for a perfect Kentucky butter cake.

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

2. Combine the dry ingredients. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

3. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat them with a hand mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.

4. Combine the wet and dry mixtures. Alternate pouring the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix just until combined.

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

6. Make the butter sauce. Combine all the butter sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Don’t bring to a boil.

7. Poke and pour. While still in the pan, poke holes all over the cake. Then, pour the sauce over while it’s still warm.

8. Serve, and enjoy. Let cool completely before removing it from the Bundt pan.

At this points, it’s typically served with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

I went with a glaze to make it extra moist and sweet! But that’s optional – it’s more than tasty enough on its own.

Top view of Kentucky butter cake on a tray with sugar glaze toppings.

Tips for the Best Butter Cake

Perfect your Kentucky butter cake with these key tips.

  • Sift the powdered ingredients. This includes your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. It aerates the ingredients, yielding a lighter cake.
  • Beat the butter and sugar for a fluffy cake. It allows the sugar to aerate the butter, giving the cake a lighter texture.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Make the cake ahead of time. Kentucky butter cake tastes even better 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 a couple of ways to ensure you can easily take that cake out of the pan. Such as:

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Grease the Pan Well

The key is to grease the pan generously – the bottom, sides, and every nook and cranny!

Use one of these methods:

  • Oil or Butter: This classic method adds a slight richness to your bake.
  • Butter plus Flour: After greasing with butter, add a bit of flour, shake, and rotate the pan to ensure an even coating of flour.
  • Non-Stick Spray: It’s convenient, mess-free, and ideal for intricate molds or shapes.

Make Homemade Cake Release

Cake Release is just what it sounds like – something to help the cake out of the pan.

It’s easy to make and works like magic! Plus, it requires only two steps:

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

For both methods, be sure that the cake is completely cooled before taking it out of the pan.

Slice taken out from a whole Kentucky butter cake.

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

Kentucky butter cake is a terrific make ahead dessert because it tastes so much better the next day!

That said, you’ll need to know how to store it so it stays fresh. Here’s how to store a whole cake or leftovers:

To Store a Whole Cake: Let the cake cool in the bundt pan, then cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and foil. Keep it at room temperature for up to 4 days.

To Store a Leftover Cake: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and keep it at room temperature for 3-4 days.

To Freeze: Double-wrap the cake with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. You can freeze the whole cake or freeze the slices individually using the same method.

When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen cake, simply thaw at room temperature until soft.

More Cake Recipes You Love

Five-Flavor Pound Cake
Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Orange Crush Pound Cake
Sara Lee Butter Coffee Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake

Course: DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





This Kentucky butter cake is so decadent, you won’t be able to resist it. Learn how to make this moist, tender, buttery cake, and get tips so it’ll turn out even better!


  • For the Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup butter

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • For the Butter Sauce
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup butter

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons water


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  • Make the cake. In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat 1 cup of butter with 2 cups of sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then, add the vanilla extract and beat for 10 seconds.
  • Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternatively, starting with the dry. Mix well between additions.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of the bake, make the butter sauce.
  • Make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, butter, vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is smooth, but do not let it boil.
  • When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and poke holes all over the top with a skewer. Pour the butter sauce over the warm cake, then let it cool completely in the pan.
  • When the cake is cold, turn it out of the pan, serve, and enjoy.
  • Optional glaze: Whisk 2 tablespoons melted butter with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of milk until smooth and pourable. Drizzle over the cooled cake then set for 30-60 minutes before slicing.


  • Grease the pan well for an easy cake release.
  • To test for doneness, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, it’s ready.


  • Calories: 375kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 82mg
  • Sodium: 368mg
  • Potassium: 100mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 35g
  • Calcium: 45mg
  • Iron: 1mg

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
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 :)

2 thoughts on “Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe”

  1. The picture of the cake..is that a separate glaze then? The recipe calls for you to pour the warm butter sauce over the cake while still in the Bundt pan and not to remove until cooled.


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