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Kentucky Butter Cake

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close up shot of a whole cake
This simple, classic Kentucky butter cake is irresistible with a rich cake that is topped in a sweet, buttery sauce for an old-fashioned homemade dessert.
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Table of Contents
  1. Kentucky Butter Cake Ingredients
  2. Substitutions & Additions for Butter Cake
  3. How To Make This Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storing this Recipe for Kentucky Butter Cake 
  6. More Recipes You’ll Love
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

This rich, homemade Kentucky butter cake is a deliciously moist pound cake that is perfect to serve anytime you crave something sweet. Drenched in a buttery glaze, it has a slightly crispy outside and a sweet, tender center. 

close up shot of a whole cake

Kentucky Butter Cake Ingredients

Kentucky Butter Cake raw ingredients that are labeled

Kentucky Butter Cake features a rich buttery flavor that is complemented by a delicious glaze.

Its simple ingredients come together to create a delicious dessert that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

For our butter cake recipe, you’ll need:

For the Cake

  • 2 cups of sugar  
  • 4 eggs  
  • 1 cup of salted butter, softened to room temperature  
  • 2 teaspoons of rum extract  
  • ½ teaspoon of butter extract  
  • 1 cup of buttermilk  
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour  
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder  
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda  

For the Glaze

  • ¾ cup of sugar  
  • ⅓ cup of salted butter  
  • 3 tablespoons water  
  • 2 teaspoons of rum extract  

Substitutions & Additions for Butter Cake

RUM EXTRACT: You could use rum or bourbon liquor in place of rum extract. You’ll want to use six teaspoons of liquor in place of two teaspoons of extract. 

BUTTER EXTRACT: If you can’t get hold of this, you could use vanilla extract in a pinch, but your cake won’t taste quite as buttery. 

BUTTERMILK: If you don’t have buttermilk, use a cup of regular milk and add either a tablespoon of vinegar or a tablespoon of lemon juice. 

BAKING SODA: If you don’t have baking soda, just add an extra half tablespoon of baking powder. 

POWDERED SUGAR: If the outside of the cake has any imperfections, you could dust it with powdered sugar to hide them and make it look pretty. 

How To Make This Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe

Kentucky Butter Cake is a classic Southern dessert that has been around for generations.

Here’s how you make our recipe for it:

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside. 

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The ingredients will be easiest to combine if everything is at room temperature. If you have time, bring the butter, eggs, and buttermilk to room temperature before you begin.

STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, eggs, butter, rum extract, butter extract, and buttermilk. Using a handheld mixer on the highest speed setting, cream together for two minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

wet ingredients being blended together in a measuring cup

PRO TIP:

Be careful not to overmix the cake batter or your cake will be tough.  

STEP THREE: Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Turn the hand mixer down to a medium-low setting and continue to beat together until no streaks of flour remain. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

dry ingredients being added to the measuring cup of wet ingredients

STEP FOUR: Pour batter into the bundt pan. Place it into the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

cake batter poured in a cake pan then after being baked

PRO TIP:

To check that the cake is done, insert a toothpick. It should come out clean.  

STEP FIVE: Remove the cake from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

STEP SIX: While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a medium-sized saucepan, over medium-low heat, add the sugar, butter, water, and rum extract.

STEP SEVEN: Whisk together, stirring often, until the mixture is melted together and combined. Watch it closely and remove it from the heat just before it begins to bubble.

STEP EIGHT: Set aside a third of the butter mixture in a small bowl. Pour the remaining sauce over the cake while still in the pan.

sauce being poured on top of baked cake

STEP NINE: Once all of the sauce soaks into the cake, carefully turn the bundt pan over onto a serving dish. Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of the cake before serving. 

PRO TIP:

You can serve this delicious cake right away, but it will taste even better if you let it rest overnight before tucking in the next day. 

How To Serve

This is a moist, buttery cake that is bursting with flavor and goes great with a cup of coffee or tea.

Top it with whipped cream and fresh fruit along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

You can also serve with our iced tea, raspberry tea, peach tea, or our strawberry sweet tea on the side.

Check out our other old-fashioned cakes including our applesauce cake and hummingbird cake.

Storing this Recipe for Kentucky Butter Cake 

You can store this Kentucky cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, away from direct sunlight. However, if you live in a warmer climate then you may wish to refrigerate it.

IN THE FRIDGE: If you want to keep the buttery flavor and texture longer, wrap this butter cake tightly in plastic wrap – or put it in an airtight container – before storing in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, allow the cake to come to room temperature beforehand.

IN THE FREEZER: This Kentucky butter cake recipe can be frozen for up to three months.

Be sure to keep the air out by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a heavy-duty freezer bag so that the flavors don’t become compromised.

Note: Make sure to let the cake cool completely before storing, as this will help prevent it from getting soggy.

close up shot of glaze being drizzled on a cake

In this recipe, the magical ingredient to a spongy moist cake is the Kentucky butter cake sauce. Much more than a glaze, the sweet buttery sauce hydrates the cake, creating a divine texture that’s just out-of-this-world.

With its buttery, creamy texture and delightful hint of spice, this delicious treat is perfect for any gathering or special occasion. It’s sure to become a staple in your dessert repertoire.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What size of bundt pan should I use?

A 10-inch/12 cup bundt pan is the size you should use for this recipe.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

This Kentucky butter cake tastes much better if made one day ahead of time – the buttery flavor develops and the cake becomes moister.

Can I turn this into a poke cake?

There are several variations on this recipe that have you poke holes in the cake and if you would like to do that here, you can. Use a wooden spoon, poke holes in the bottom of the cake before you flip it onto a cake plate and then pour your glaze. The sweet butter glaze will soak into the holes in the cake to make it extra moist.

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close up shot of a whole cake

Kentucky Butter Cake

5 from 2 votes
This simple, classic Kentucky butter cake is irresistible with a rich cake that is topped in a sweet, buttery sauce for an old-fashioned homemade dessert.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • ½ teaspoon butter extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Glaze

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • cup salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour a (10-inch) bundt pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, eggs, softened butter, rum extract, butter extract, and buttermilk. Using a hand mixer on the high speed setting, cream together the wet mixture until it is light and fluffy. This should take about 2 minutes.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Continue to beat together on medium-low, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until the mixture is combined and no flour streaks remain. Be careful not to overmix the batter or it will yield a tough cake.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Place in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the bundt cake from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, make your sauce by adding a medium saucepan over medium-low heat to the stovetop. Add sugar, butter, water, and rum extract. Whisk together stirring often until the mixture is melted together and combined. You don’t want this sauce to boil so watch it carefully and remove it from the heat right before it begins to bubble.
  • Once the sauce has been removed from the stovetop, reserve ⅓ cup in a small bowl. Pour the remaining sauce over the cake while still in the bundt pan.
  • Once the cake has soaked up all of the sauce, carefully turn the bundt pan over onto a serving dish. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the top of the cake before serving.

Notes

  • The ingredients will be easiest to combine if everything is at room temperature. If you have time bring the butter, eggs, and buttermilk to room temperature before you begin.
  • Be careful not to overmix the cake batter or your cake will be tough.  
  • To check that the cake is done, insert a toothpick. It should come out clean.
  • You can serve this delicious cake right away, but it will taste even better if you let it rest overnight before tucking in the next day. 

Nutrition

Calories: 607kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 889IU | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg
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