This moist and decadent vanilla pound cake is baked in a bundt pan to get it’s signature shape. Kentucky Butter Cake is rich with a tender crumb that’s soaked in a sweet butter sauce while still warm. This one of a kind cake is a Southern staple that’ll quickly become a family favorite. 

A frosted butter cake on a plate.

Old-Fashioned Kentucky Butter Cake

Famous for its moist texture and sticky sweet buttery sauce, butter cake is one of those great recipes that you can’t believe you haven’t tried. Just a few simple ingredients and a bundt pan and voila!

A beautifully simple, but show stopping cake is sitting pretty on your Kentucky Derby party table. Or any table! This cake is easy, but special enough to make for any occasion.

I first saw this version of butter cake in an old church cookbook that said to just dump everything together, then bake! Talk about easy, but not the best idea. It also said to add the glaze to the top of the cake before inverting, but I disagree. That made it a little too difficult to remove from the cake pan, so I say invert the cake then pour that sweet butter glaze on top. Not only will it be easier to handle, but it’ll be a much prettier presentation. 

You must add the glaze while the cake is warm or it won’t seep into the holes and go down into the cake and give the moist butter cake texture we’re looking for. But, don’t worry if you forget, it’s still delicious on top.

I love to serve this along with a cup of coffee/tea and fresh berries to cut through that butter-sugar sauce. It creates a beautiful balance! If you’re looking for more bundt cake recipes, try my blueberry bundt cake or a hummingbird cake.

A slice being removed from a bundt cake.

Type of Butter Cakes

This is the type of butter cake I grew up with, it’s basically a pound cake with the butter glaze. There are two other types of butter cakes and all three are completely different and I love all three!

  • Kentucky butter cake – a pound cake with buttery glaze made in a bundt pan.
  • St. Louis butter cake – This version has a yeast dough for a base topped with a gooey buttery filling, made in a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Paula Deen’s butter cake – this starts with a yellow cake mix and has a cream cheese filling, also made in a 9 x 13 pan.

Why You’ll Love This Traditional Butter Cake Recipe 

  • Buttery Cake – Sometimes the simplest flavors are the ones we love must. Rich and buttery with just the right amount of sweetness, this is the perfect cake for any palate. We love a good pound cake in the South!
  • Amazing Leftovers – This cake is even better the next day. As the glaze continues to soak into the cake, it becomes even stickier and richer in flavor. Try dunking it into morning coffee!
  • Pantry Staples – If you’re a baker, even a blossoming one, you’re bound to have all the necessary ingredients and tools already! No need to make a special trip to the store. 

Ingredients For Buttery Pound Cake 

The ingredients for a butter cake.
Gather the ingredients.


Cake:

Dairy – Softened butter and a cup of buttermilk, almost all Southern cakes use buttermilk. 

Dry Ingredients – Sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 

Eggs – Make sure they’re room temperature! 

Vanilla – For a pop of flavor! 


Glaze:

Pantry staples – butter, sugar, and vanilla

How To Make Buttery Butter Cake 

Step One: Preheat and Prep

Generously butter a bundt pan getting into all the grooves. Add some flour and tap out excess. 

A bundt pan with butter and flour.
Grease and flour the pan.

Step Two: Cream Butter

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix.

Butter and sugar creamed in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar.

Step Three: Whisk Dry Ingredients

In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. 

Teh dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
Whisk the dry ingredients.

Step Four: Combine Ingredients

​Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing after each addition. 

A bowl of butter cake batter.
Add the flour and buttermilk.

Step Five: Bake

Pour into the prepared pan, making sure the batter lays flat and even and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It should be golden brown. 

Step Six: Prepare the glaze

While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Add the ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has melted, do not boil. 

The butter glaze in a saucepan.
Heat the butter glaze.

Step Seven: Let Cool

Remove cake from the oven and let it sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Place parchment paper under the wire rack.  Once the cake has been inverted onto a cake plate, poke holes into the top of the cake with a toothpick or cake tester.

A baked butter cake in a bundt pan.
Bake until golden brown.
Holes being poked in a bundt cake.
Poke holes in the cake.

Step Eight: Pour Glaze

While the cake is still hot pour the hot butter mixture over the top, let it go into the holes, and drip down the sides. Let the cake cool before slicing. 

Butter glaze being poured over a cake.
Pour the hot glaze over the warm cake.

Tips and Tricks For The Perfect Bundt Cake

  • Lightly tap the pan of batter against the counter to even out the surface until flat and help break up any air bubbles
  • This is basically a super moist pound cake with a buttery sweet glaze, but you could add bourbon or rum instead of vanilla to the glaze to change the flavor.
  • ​Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before starting to ensure the best possible mixing and final product. 
A butter cake on a platter.

Why Is My Butter Cake Dense? 

This is one of the most common questions, even if you’ve baked a thousand cakes! Over mixing is almost always the culprit here. When you over-mix your batter, it can toughen up the gluten strands which leads to a dense cake. When mixing, stop as soon as the ingredients are combined! No need to go any further. 

How To Store Butter Cake 

In The Fridge: Let the cake cool and wrap tightly with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. It will last for several days (if you can wait that long)!

It will also freeze well. You can freeze the entire cake or slice and freeze between layers of parchment paper.

A slice of butter cake being removed.

Old Fashioned Kentucky Butter Cake

This moist and decadent vanilla pound cake is baked in a bundt pan to get it's signature shape. Kentucky Butter Cake is rich with a tender crumb that's soaked in a sweet butter sauce while still warm. This one of a kind cake is a Southern staple that'll quickly become a family favorite. 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 382kcal
Author: Barbara Curry

Ingredients

  • Cake
  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Butter Glaze
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350º. Generously butter a bundt pan getting into all the grooves. Add some flour and tap out excess. 
  • In a stand mixer, cream 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing after each until well combined. Add vanilla and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixing after each addition. 
  • Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Even the surface so that it is flat. 
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It should be golden brown. 
  • Let it sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. Place parchment paper under the wire rack. 
  • While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Add the glaze ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has melted, do not boil. 
  • Once the cake has been inverted, poke the top with holes with a toothpick or wooden skewer. While the cake is still hot pour the hot butter mixture over the top, let it go into the holes and drip down the sides. Let the cake cool before slicing. 

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 360mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 557IU | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @easy.southern.desserts or tag #easysoutherndesserts!

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