Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake - detail shot

If you could bathe yourself in a warm, oozey sauce of butter, sugar and vanilla, would you? Well, maybe not, it would probably clog your pores, take a lot of time and effort to get it all off later… all sorts of those annoying little consequences that stop us from doing ridiculous(ly awesome?) things. Now what if you were a soft delicious pound cake instead? Maybe exactly what you need is to submerge yourself in buttery sugary goodness… because hey, already being chock full of butter and sugar means that soaking in more could only make you better. Right?

This was my thought process when I learned about the Kentucky Butter Cake. A pretty standard sounding buttermilk pound cake baked in a 10 inch bundt pan… taken to glorious new heights by getting stabbed repeatedly with a chopstick, butter sauce poured all over it and left overnight as the sauce soaks into the cake creating an inner core of extra moist, richness. Oh my.

The cake itself is pretty straightforward, cream 1 c. butter and 2 c. sugar together for 5 minutes..

Add 4 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla and blend until combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl.

Blended Ingredients

 Whisk together 3 c. flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt. Then add the dry ingredients and 1 c.  buttermilk to the wet mixture, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the dry. I usually go dry, milk, dry, milk, dry.

Once all the ingredients are well blended, spread it evenly in a greased and floured 10 inch bundt pan. I love using one of those cooking sprays with the flour built in. I’ve never had problems with sticky cake pans ever since I discovered it.

Bake for an hour at 325 degrees or until an inserted cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean. The cake will look like this:

Once the cake is done, it should sit for a few minutes, so use this time to make the butter sauce. Melt together 3/4 c. sugar and 1/3 c. butter with  2 tsp. vanilla and 3 tbsp. water. That’s how liquid delicious is made.  The original recipe says to not let it boil but I let it get just slightly bubbly. This makes it a little thicker which means that it won’t soak as easily into the cake, but it creates what I like to call “the core of awesome”.

Then, using a chopstick or skewer, poke lots of holes (35-40) into the cake and pour or spoon the sauce over the warm cake. I prefer a chopstick because it makes bigger holes. Bigger holes means that the sauce will be more easily absorbed into the cake.

Chopstick or Skewer

Cake with Buter Sauce

And once it’s cooled and the sauce has had time to soak, you can take it out of the pan. I let it sit overnight to make sure the sauce really got a chance to work its way into the cake.

Completed Kentucky Butter Cake

Don’t be fooled by its calm exterior. There’s a butter sugar party brewing inside, and you’re invited. *winknudge*

Kentucky Butter Cake Slice

Kentucky Butter Cake

Recipe modified from Suzanne Stull’s Kentucky Butter Cake on


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Butter Sauce

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. Cream together 1 cup of butter and 2 cups sugar in a mixer bowl using the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla until blended, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl until blended.
  4. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. (I usually do 3 additions of flour and 2 of buttermilk.) Scrape down sides of bowl and mix for an additional minute or two, just until the batter is clearly blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before poking holes in it, just enough for it to settle a little. Use this time to make the butter sauce.
  6. Butter Sauce: In a saucepan combine the remaining 3/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup butter, 2 tsp. vanilla, and the water. Cook over medium heat, until fully melted and combined. For a more liquidy sauce, make sure not to boil. For a thicker sauce allow to bubble for a short amount of time.
  7. Poke 35-40 holes in the warm cake with a chopstick. Slowly pour or spoon sauce over cake. Let cake cool before removing from pan, or even let sit overnight. The cake tastes best if allowed to sit overnight so that the sauce can really nuzzle itself in there.

2 thoughts on “Kentucky Butter Cake

  1. Pingback: Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake « Amandeleine

  2. I have made this cake three times now and EVERYTIME it is gone. People love it!! My husband now wants it as his birthday cake!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s