Kentucky Butter Cake


October 25, 2022

Some things just never go out of style, and this sweet, old-fashioned Kentucky Butter Cake is one of them!

It’s sweet and syrupy and so simple it might just blow your mind. If you’re a pound cake lover, then you NEED to try this recipe!

There’s something special about this buttery-soft cake. As a dessert lover, I’m always on the hunt for something that’s a bit more jazzed up than the normal stuff. Cake is great, and pound cake is better, but it gets old sometimes!

As old-fashioned as this Kentucky Butter Cake is, it just doesn’t get old. Buttery, moist, with just the right amount of sweetness—I could rave about it for days.

The syrup just infuses into the cake, leaving it sticky and sweet, moist but not too dense. It’s like pound cake but BETTER. If you thought pound cake couldn’t get better, then you’ve got to try out this recipe.

What You Need To Bake A Kentucky Butter Cake

This Kentucky Butter Cake recipe is so simple that any baker, novice or experienced, can do it. If you’re an avid baker or a dessert person, you likely have all the ingredients you need already—but if not, a quick trip to the store will do the trick.

There’s nothing fancy to it. All the magic comes from the cake recipe itself!

You can whip up this Kentucky Butter Cake with a stand mixer or even by hand. Then, the batter gets poured into a bundt cake pan and left alone. And it smells amazing when it’s baking. Try not to get tempted.

While it’s still warm, you’ll drench the pound cake in a sweet syrup and let the cake absorb it. The heat of the cake will make the top glaze over, almost crisp in a way. It adds to the texture and to the sweet, buttery flavor of the cake!

Serve It Up Tomorrow!

The hardest part of making this cake is waiting. When you pull it out of the oven and you’ve let that syrup sink into it, you’ll want to cut into it right away!

If I did this the first time… No, I didn’t.

But seriously! Kentucky Butter Cake is way better on the second day. When the syrup and the rum have infused and saturated the whole cake, it’s like a dream.

If you’re making this for yourself, you don’t have to worry about serving it the next day. This cake will last for a few days covered—or however long it takes you to eat it—and you’ll be able to taste the difference in flavor for yourself.

But if you’re serving this to guests or for a party, I really recommend you wait to serve it until the second day. The dessert lovers of the world will thank you!

I can’t wait for you to try out this Kentucky Butter Cake. It’s the best pound cake recipe I’ve whipped up so far!

How to make Kentucky Butter Bundt Cake

In a bowl with a paddle attachment, or even a hand mixer, you’ll combine the cake ingredients and beat for about 3 minutes then pour into your greased and floured pan. You can use a loaf pan, but I like the classic and traditional look of a beautiful bundt. You’ll level the batter with a spatula then bake until the skewer you insert in the center comes out clean. This will take somewhere between 60-70 minutes, depending on your oven.

While waiting for the cake to bake, you’ll make the butter sauce by combining sugar, butter and vanilla with water in a saucepan until the butter just melts, being careful not to let it boil because you don’t want the sugar to completely dissolve.

Then, as soon as the cake comes out of your oven, leave it in the pan and gently poke it with your skewer all the way through about 15-20 times. Slowly pour the warm butter sauce over the cake. This is the secret to the this moist cake. This is a technique you can use with other bundt or pound cakes or layer cakes as well.

So now you need to wait. Wait until the cake cools completely. This may take an hour or so, so be patient. It will be worth it. Do not turn over and unmold before it is ready or the cake will fall apart and all your hard work goes to waste.

When you finally do turn it over to umold, make sure there is zero warmth to the touch before you decorate with a sugar glaze or even powdered sugar. You’ll only risk the glaze going all runny on you and the sugar melting before your eyes.

Wrapping it up

This bundt cake tastes just as good as the first day when you store it properly. If you are storing it in a cake dome like my wife likes to do, only display a portion of it, especially if you like to pre-slice it. Store the rest tightly wrapped in plastic until you’re ready to replenish the dome. Pre-slicing doesn’t make it go bad, but you’ll lose some of that moistness inside the cake that you worked hard to achieve.

This is a beautiful cake that’s easy to make, albeit it does take time: 1 hour in the oven, time to completely cool. But the end result is impressive and gives a wow-factor. Serve it on a pretty cake stand. My wife collects vintage milk glass cake stands from antique markets and thrift stores, but this one she just saw is on sale right now and has the vintage jadeite vibe.

Glaze the cake right before your guests so you can totally WOW them with your skills (*wink, wink). You did all the work previously, make the garnishing look effortless as the coffee is brewing.

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kentucky butter cake

Kentucky Butter Cake

  • Author: Rafael Gonzalez


A classic butter bundt cake recipe that’s easy to make yet truly impressive.



1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened, plus more for greasing the pan

3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan

Non stick cooking spray (optional)

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda


3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. In the bowls of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cake ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. Pour into pan, level with a spatula and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert in in the center of the cake, about 60-70 minutes.
  3. Before the cake is done baking, start making the butter sauce: combine the sugar, butter and vanilla with 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Don’t boil it! You don’t want the sugar to dissolve completely.
  4. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, leave the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in its pan poke it all the way through about 20 times with a long wooden skewer. Slowly pour the warm butter sauce over the cake. 
  5. Allow this to cook at least one hour before unmolding.
  6. Right before serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

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