Kentucky Butter Cake is a soft, moist buttermilk pound cake infused with a sweet vanilla butter sauce that glazes around the outside and hardens leaving it slightly crispy along all of the edges.
Kentucky Butter Cake
I know this is not the prettiest cake you've ever seen. But trust me when I say, pictures do not do this sticky, sweet bite of heaven justice.
Kentucky Butter Cake is a lusciously moist pound cake with a sweet, vanilla butter sauce that soaks through the cake. The glaze dries around the outside and bottom of the cake creating crispy, crunchy sweet vanilla bites.
While most cakes taste better right after they're baked, this cake tastes even better the next day! Of course, you can serve it right away, if you just can't wait. But that extra day for the glaze to soak and set makes a huge difference.
What is Kentucky Butter Cake?
If you aren't familiar with Kentucky Butter Cake, it's basically a vanilla pound cake soaked in a sweet butter sauce. The sauce crystallizes on the outside, making it crispy, kind of like a donut.
It was originally made by Nell Lewis in 1963 who entered it into a Pillsbury Bake-off contest in Missouri and won (obviously. Once you taste it, you'll see why!).
What sets Kentucky Butter Cake apart from your average pound cake is the sweet vanilla butter sauce that infuses into the cake itself, making the most wonderfully moist, melt-in-your-mouth cake. The glaze also get crispy around the outside and bottom, giving it extra texture and decadence.
Those crispy sweet edge bites... They're the best ones!
Does It Need to be Refrigerated?
Nope. Once the cake is completely cooled, you can just cover tightly with plastic wrap, with an overturned bowl, or place in a cake carrier, and store on the counter.
This cake keeps well for about 5 days, but is best on the second and third days.
How Can I Decorate a Kentucky Butter Cake?
I know these cakes aren't much to look at, no matter how delicious they are. To add a little pretty to your cake, try some of these serving ideas:
- A dusting of powdered sugar
- Fresh berries - any berries will work! Try strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or any combination of them!
- Fruit Preserves
- A dollop of whipped cream
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Lemon Curd
- A drizzle of chocolate ganache
More Cake Recipes You'll Love
- 7 Up Pound Cake - a sweet lemon pound cake, extra light and fluffy from the carbonation, drizzled in sweet lemon glaze.
- Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake - the most epic chocolate cake ever. The frosting is to-die-for.
- Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes - vanilla cupcakes filled with pastry cream and topped with a rich chocolate ganache.
- Tres Leches Cupcakes - vanilla cupcakes infused with 3 milks and topped with a fluffy whipped mascarpone frosting.
- Butterfinger Cake - a chocolate poke cake, infused with sweetened condensed milk and caramel, and topped with whipped cream and Butterfinger pieces.
Kentucky Butter Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Sweet Butter Glaze
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and sugar a large bundt pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Add half of the buttermilk. Mix until combined. Repeat adding flour mix and buttermilk until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour into prepared bundt pan.
- Bake for 1 hour (60 minutes), until cooked through.
- When cake is done and removed from the oven, prepare the butter sauce.
To make the butter glaze:
- Combine sugar, water, and butter, in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla
- Poke holes in the cake with a knife or skewer or straw. Drizzle butter sauce over the cake.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then invert (dump out) onto a serving platter.
- This cake is best made 1 day ahead. (Though it can be served right away, if you just can't wait)
- Butter your bundt pan LIBERALLY. Since it has to cool completely in the pan before flipping, it is harder to get out intact.
- I also recommend applying a layer of sugar after greasing your bundt pan, just to coat the sides then dump out the rest, for extra non-sticking assurance (Sugaring bundt pans works better than flouring, in my experience).
- Storage: Allow to cool completely and glaze to set. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer Instructions: Allow the exterior glaze to set completely. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in refrigerator, still wrapped, overnight. Then remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and allow to come to room temperature on the counter before serving.
Never Miss a Thing!
Join our newsletter to get new recipes, tips, tricks, and tutorials every week!
This is the best cake ever! It gets tastier the second day. It is simple and easy to make and people love it.
Made Kentucky Butter Cake today. Well, couldn’t wait until tomorrow. My husband and I had to try today. It was delicious!
I have wrapped the rest up until tomorrow.
I have never baked a cake using butter and sugar to grease my bunt pan. It worked! Very pleased with this cake.
Nancy lagyak says
Oh yum! The texture of this cake looks absolutely fantastic. You had me at sweet vanilla butter sauce.
I love everything about this cake!! My whole family was also impressed!
I love this cake!! Really amazing! The vanilla butter sauce is a must-make!
Tayler Ross says
I made this over the weekend and oh my goodness was it delicious! Definitely making again soon!
That looks gorgeous! I bet it tastes amazing.
This is so gloriously tasty and simple. The perfect cake to have with tea after a meal! Or an afternoon snack, lol..
Louise Cayzer says
Buttery and soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside. So delicious and perfect with coffee.
Gina Abernathy says
Yum! This cake is so good! I added some fresh berries and cool whip to my piece.
This was so good and a really huge hit at my house! Thanks for the recipe!