Kentucky Butter Cake

I believe that anything with the word “butter” in its title is delicious.

Kentucky butter cake.

Who knew something this amazing existed in the world?

A dense buttermilk cake, soaked in a melted butter and sugar bath…

I had decided to make this cake without fully inspecting the ingredient list.

Never a good way to start.

I realized I didn’t have buttermilk.

But I DID have milk and fresh lemons…which are the only things you need to make your own buttermilk!

I was super excited when I found out I could make buttermilk myself and didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store.

You may have known about this little lemon juice + milk = buttermilk, but I sure didn’t.

So before you mix in the buttermilk…you cream the butter and sugar, slowly add the eggs and vanilla…

Then you alternate the flour/dry ingredients with the buttermilk.

So here is your (super condensed) lesson of the day:


Buttermilk is slightly sour milk. The proteins in the buttermilk are slightly curdled which is why buttermilk is thicker that regular milk. It is also much lower in fat that regular milk and heavy creams are.

We love buttermilk in baking because the lactic acids in the buttermilk react with the baking soda and when heated, cause the soda to release carbon dioxide which in turn releases tiny bubbles that expand and lift whatever it is you’re baking.

So if you are ever in a pinch and need to make some buttermilk from scratch, here’s what to do:

Pour 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into a 1 cup measuring cup. Pour milk until you reach the 1 cup line and let sit for a couple minutes. You will see that the milk has curdled a bit after those couple minutes and you will be ready to go with your made-from-scratch buttermilk!

Once everything is combined you pour it into a well greased and floured bundt pan.

Pop that baby in the oven and then make the butter sauce:

Butter, sugar, vanilla and water.

Once the cake is done, let cool for about 10 minutes.

Use a chopstick (or end of a wooden spoon) to poke about 30 holes into your cake.

Then evenly pour the butter sauce over the entire cake.

Let sit for as long as you can possibly handle!

I let it sit over night.

I think you should plan to let it sit over night, and if you can’t, make it early in the day so it can sit for as long as possible before you take it out of the pan and eat it.

The next day the cake has a nice crusty glaze over the top of it.

It took some elbow grease to pry this thing out, but the whole thing stayed in one piece really well.

Check out that ooze of butter in the middle and the bottom layer of butter glaze.

The bottom of this cake is so filled with buttery, gooey, kentucky butter cake goo.

It reminded me of those really dense doughnuts that you buy at the grocery.

You know, the kind in the box that is always on a clearance shelf by the check out…

The doughnuts that have that magical ingredient that keeps them “fresh” for years.

So fresh that you literally can’t find/don’t think they have an expiration date…

Yeah, this cake smelled like those doughnuts.

However this cake was super fresh and would not be very good after about 3 days.

I recommend you save the bottom of the cake for last!

That’s where the most butter sauce was trapped and it was definitely they best part.

Recipe: Kentucky Butter Cake

1 Cup Butter, softened

2 Cups Granulated Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

4 Eggs

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Cup Buttermilk

Butter Sauce

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Butter

3 Tablespoons Water

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 325 Degrees.

Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

Cream together butter and sugar for about 3 minutes in an electric mixer.

Add in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides and mixing well after each addition.

Add vanilla extract.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and add alternately with buttermilk. I began and ended with the flour, doing 2 additions of the buttermilk between.

Once well combined, add to prepared bundt pan.

Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before poking holes and adding sauce.

Directions: Sauce

Melt butter, sugar, water and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. For a thicker sauce, let sauce boil around the sides for a couple minutes.

I wanted a more fluid sauce and removed from the heat as soon as I saw the edges bubble.

Once cake has cooled for 10 minutes, use a chopstick to poke 30-40 holes into the cake and pour the pan of sauce over the cake.

Let sit overnight. Scrape down sides and inside of pan before flipping onto a plate.

Once the cake is right side up, slice and serve!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs,  Amandeleine .


7 thoughts on “Kentucky Butter Cake

  1. Yum! Cannot wait to try this. Oh, and the fact that you didn’t know you could “make” buttermilk in a pinch with lemon/vinegar, confirms that I failed you as a mother!

  2. I never had this cake when I lived in Kentucky; however, when my daughter was in 5th grade in Mississippi and studying the states, she had to do a presentation on Kentucky and take a food popular in Kentucky. We found this recipe then. YUM! I ran across it again the other day and pulled it to make it again soon.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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