Easy Kentucky Butter Cake | Cookies and Cups

This Kentucky Butter Cake recipe is CRAZY moist, buttery and coated with a sweet buttery sauce that crusts the outside and soaks into the cake making it amazing for days. What you get is a stunning, sweet, buttery, soft cake that is as perfect on its own as it is topped with strawberries and whipped cream!

Kentucky Butter Cake on a platter dusted with powdered sugar

Kentucky Butter Cake: What To Expect

  • Simple Ingredients. Chances are you have everything in your kitchen right now to make this incredibly delicious cake. 
  • Great to make ahead! I am going to tell you this Kentucky Butter Cake is even better the second day! It gives the cake a chance to absorb all the sugar syrup while relaxing a bit and settling into all its moisture. Certainly it can be enjoyed the same day, but if you have patience, give it a day to become its best self!
  • Flavor. While at heart, this is simply a butter cake, the way all the flavors combine with the buttery sugar syrup makes it extra vanilla, while giving it a slightly crunchy crust. Kind of like a huge glazed donut.
  • So many serving options! Serve this with whipped cream and strawberries for the best strawberry shortcake of your life!

What Is Kentucky Butter Cake? 

Kentucky Butter is the most delicious vanilla pound cake you will ever have. The texture is dense, but tender and it’s topped with a RIDICULOUS butter/sugar/vanilla sauce that soaks into the cake while also leaving it crispy and sweet on top. It’s perfect on its own, along with a cup of coffee, topped with ice cream, or with whipped cream and strawberries. The possibilities are endless.

A slice of butter cake on a cake platter

Ingredients / What You Will Need

Like I said above, this cake recipe is made up of simple ingredients, so I recommend using high quality ingredients. The flavors make the cake! Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to the recipe card for the full ingredient list and instructions. 

  • Butter. I use salted butter i this recipe, but you can also use unsalted if that’s what you have on-hand or prefer. You use butter in both the cake and the butter glaze. 
  • Sugars: Use granulated sugar in the cake batter and the butter glaze, and I also use powdered sugar to garnish the cake when done!
  • Eggs. Use large sized eggs in this recipe as well as all my baking recipes unless otherwise stated. 
  • Vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla bean paste if you have that too. Vanilla bean paste will make the cake and the syrup slightly darker in color due to the vanilla beans. 
  • Dry Ingredients: All purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. 
  • Buttermilk. Using buttermilk in this recipe makes the cake tender. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own at home easily. Use My Homemade Buttermilk Recipe!

How To Make Kentucky Butter Cake

The batter goes together in a snap…

Prep the Pan: Make sure you heavily grease your bundt pan. You can use baking spray/nonstick spray, or you can coat it with butter or shortening and dust it with flour or powdered sugar. You need to make sure your pan is greased liberally because not only will the cake stick, but the sugar syrup can also stick a but too. 

TIP: If you do use nonstick baking spray I recommend that you spray it just before adding the batter. I’ve found this technique helps prevent sticking more than spraying the pan and letting it sit before adding the cake batter.

The batter goes together easily and all the ingredients can be added at the same time just like you would for a cake mix. This cake is pretty foolproof!

Once the cake is baked make the sugar syrup. Cook the butter, sugar, vanilla, and some water together untilt he sugar is dissolved, but doesn’t come to a boil. 

Poke holes all int he warm cake and then pour the sugar sauce allover the top!Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. You can even let it sit overnight in the pan, just run a butter knife around the edges to help the cake from sticking.

Kentucky Butter Cake in a bundt pan cooling

Tips:

  1. Make sure your butter is completely room temperature so you don’t get any lumps! Since you mix everything together at the same time the butter needs to mix in well. If your butter isn’t quite room temperature mix it with the granulated sugar alone to combine and then add in all the other ingredients. 
  2. Allow the bundt cake to cool completely in the pan so the sauce has time to soak in. You can even leave the cake in the pan overnight if you want! The cake gets better the longer it sits!
  3. When it’s time, flip the cake out of the pan loosen the cake at its edges with a butter knife to help the process along.
  4. Dusting it with powdered sugar not only makes it pretty, but helps hide any imperfections in the cake.
Kentucky Butter Cake in a gold serving plate dusted with powdered sugar

Serving Ideas:

The slices are perfect, the flavor is perfect, and you will probably be eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dessert until it’s gone!

  • On its own because it’s perfect!
  • With fresh fruit and whipped cream!
  • Warm with a scoop of ice cream
  • Use any leftover sliced thin for French Toast!

Variations:

  • Add in a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to add a little different flavor!
  • Use bourbon or rum in the glaze instead of water to give it a boozy twist!
  • Add mini chocolate chips if you love chocolate!
A slice of Kentucky Butter cake on a cake platter dusted with powdered sugar

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This recipe was originally posted in 2015, but has been updated with new tips in 2024!

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Description

Kentucky Butter Cake is the moistest vanilla pound cake ever, made with simple ingredients. 


Cake

  • 1 cup butter, cubed at room temperature 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Butter Glaze

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

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Grease a 10- inch bundt pan with butter or shortening very liberally. Dust the pan with flour and set aside.
  2. Place all the cake ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean.
  4. When the cake is done make the glaze. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Do not bring to a boil.
  5. Poke holes all over the warm cake using a knife and pour the glaze evenly on the cake while still in the pan.
  6. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.
  7. I actually like to make this cake a day in advance, finding it to be more moist and flavorful when it rests overnight.

Notes

Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 514
  • Sugar: 47.1 g
  • Sodium: 296.3 mg
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Carbohydrates: 71.4 g
  • Protein: 6.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 118.5 mg

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