Kentucky Butter Cake

This tender, moist cake is saturated with a rich butter sauce. Truly, there is no cake like this one.

Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake on a platter to serve with a serving cut out
Photo:

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
12

Few cakes compare to the moist, buttery flavor of Kentucky Butter Cake.

This dense Bundt cake is a breeze to put together. Then, once it is baked, it is soaked with a vanilla-butter glaze to create a phenomenally flavorful cake with a noticeable sweet coating.

This cake has been a favorite of bakers for decades, dating back to the 1960s with a winning recipe in a baking contest. Using your favorite Bundt pan and an ingredient list of items you likely have on hand in your kitchen already, see for yourself why people can’t get enough of this outstanding Kentucky Butter Cake that will be the perfect addition to your next gathering.

Ingredients

Cake

  • Baking spray with flour (such as Pam for Baking)

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 5 large eggs

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. Make the cake batter:

    In a medium bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake sifting together the dry ingredients

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Stir together the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake stirring together the buttermilk and vanilla

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on a medium-high speed until light and airy, about 3-5 minutes.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake beating together the butter and sugar

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  4. Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl often.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake after adding the eggs to the batter

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake adding the flour to the batter

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake adding the buttermilk to the cake batter

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.

  6. Bake the cake:

    Generously coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with baking spray.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake spraying the pan

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Transfer batter to the prepared Bundt pan.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake batter in prepared pan before baking

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Bake for 60-70 minutes until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake in the pan after baking

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  7. While the cake bakes, prepare the glaze.

    Combine sugar, butter, and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved, making sure not to let the glaze boil.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake making the glaze

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Stir in vanilla.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake stirring the vanilla into the glaze

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  8. When cake has finished baking, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Using a large skewer, immediately poke deep holes all over the cake without removing from pan.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake poking the holes in the cake

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  9. Glaze the cake:

    Slowly pour half of the glaze (about 3/4 cup) over the top of the cake, giving the cake time to absorb before adding more glaze. Allow the cake to rest for 10 minutes to allow the glaze to absorb fully

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake pouring the glaze over the cake while it's in the pan

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Be sure not to let it sit in the pan longer than 10 minutes, or the glaze could cause the cake to stick inside the pan.

    Southern Living Butter Cake out of the pan on the serving platter

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  10. Loosen the sides of the cake, then invert the cake onto a plate or serving platter. Warm the remaining glaze up slightly, then slowly pour over the top of the cake.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake on plate to serve just after the rest of the glaze has been poured over the cake

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  11. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

    Southern Living Kentucky Butter Cake cooled and ready to serve

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

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