Kentucky Butter Cake
Kentucky Butter Cake the BEST cake you can make in a Bundt pan! It is a rich, buttery, crazy moist vanilla poke cake infused with luscious butter sauce that soaks through the cake AND is smothered on the cake leaving an irresistible sugar crust on the outside. This sweet, tender cake is stand-alone delicious or fabulous with berries and whipped cream. This Kentucky Butter Cake is easy to make and tastes even better the next day – perfect for stress free entertaining or holidays (like Easter!). Tips and tricks, Step-by-Step Photos, How to Make Ahead, How To Freeze all included!
Servings Prep Time
16slices 15minutes
Cook Time
60minutes
Servings Prep Time
16slices 15minutes
Cook Time
60minutes
top view showing how to make Kentucky Butter Cake by brushing it with butter sauce
Ingredients
Cake
  • 24tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
  • 2cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3cups all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1cup buttermilk or sour milk*see notes
  • 1tablespoon vanilla extract
Butter Sauce/Glaze
  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4cup water
  • 1/2cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2teaspoon cinnamonoptional
  • 1/8teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously and thoroughly grease and flour a 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan. See Notes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Whisk vanilla with buttermilk and set aside.
  3. Add butter and sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for at least 3-4 minutes (no shorter!), until light and fluffy, scraping down sides occasionally. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each egg.
  4. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with buttermilk in between each third. Beat just until combined, giving the batter a final stir by hand to get any flour at the bottom.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan and tap pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 325 degrees F until a wooden pick inserted near the center of cake comes out with a few crumbs, 50 – 60 minutes.
  6. Place cake on a wire rack and let rest 5 minutes then poke holes all over the cake, going about 3/4 of the way down using the thin end of a chopstick. You may also use the back of a utensil or a skewer, but you’ll want wiggle it around so the holes become larger.
  7. Immediately after poking holes in the cake, make the Butter Glaze. Add sugar, butter, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Heat on low until melted, stirring occasionally, without letting the mixture boil. Once melted, stir in the vanilla and optional cinnamon.
  8. Remove 1/4 cup Glaze to use later. Spoon the remaining Glaze all over the bottom (which is now the top) of the cake, moving slowly so it has time to seep into the holes and not run over the edges of the cake.
  9. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes (no longer or the glaze can stick and harden like glue) then run a knife around the edges of the cake, shake a few times until loose then invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand.
  10. Once the cake has cooled completely, rewarm the Glaze (DON’T let it boil) and brush it evenly all over the cake, moving slowly so it has time to seep in. Let the cake sit for at least one hour before serving, but it is much moister and more flavorful if allowed to rest overnight. If not serving immediately, tightly wrap cooled and set cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
  11. Serve cake plain or amazing with fresh berries and whipped cream or strawberry or raspberry sauce.
Recipe Notes

*DIY BUTTEREMILK

You can make DIY buttermilk/sour milk by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup then adding milk to equal one cup.  Give it a swirl and wait 10 minutes or so until bubbles form on the top.    

GREASE PAN WELL!

Please grease and flour your pan instead of using cooking spray because this cake is sticky!   I also SUGAR my pan. To do this:

  1. Brush an even layer of softened butter all over the inside of the pan (about 1 ½ tablespoons). Make sure you get every nook and cranny!
  2. Next, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar – starting with the top edges of the pan so it trickles down the pan – make sure you do the same to the tube too, and tap and turn the pan to evenly coat.
  3. Repeat with one tablespoon of flour. Tap a few times to remove any excess.  You probably don’t need the flour if using sugar, but I always use it for insurance.

You can also follow the same technique and omit the sugar and just use 2 tablespoons flour.

What To Serve With Kentucky Bunt Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake is delicious in its buttery vanilla simplicity, but I also love it with:

  • A dusting of powdered sugar
  • Fresh berries:  strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries
  • Strawberry syrup or raspberry syrup – insane!
  • A dollop of whipped cream (and berries!)
  • Vanilla ice cream (and berries!)
  • Lemon curd (and berries!)
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Caramel sauce

Make-Ahead Instructions

  1. Once cake is cool and the glaze is set, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap.
  2. Store at room temperature until ready to serve.
  3. This cake keeps well for several days, but is best the second day.

How to Freeze

  1. Let the glaze on the exterior of the cake set completely.
  2. Double wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap. 
  3. Freeze cake for up to 3 months.   
  4. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then unwrap and come to room temperature on the counter before serving.
  5. Note that the crackly sugar coating will not be as crunchy once frozen and defrosted.