Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake is a simple, moist and delicious buttermilk Bundt cake. What makes this cake so special is that you poke holes into the cake, just out of the oven, and drizzle a glaze over top that will seep into the holes. Then, the entire outside of the cake is brushed with the same vanilla sugar glaze, once it cools it creates a delicious sugar crust. Save a little glaze and pour over your slice! To. Die. For. It’s like your favorite glazed doughnut meets cake.

I’m not sure why it is called Kentucky Butter Cake.

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Could it be because it’s delicious buttermilk cake? Or perhaps it’s the luscious vanilla-sugar-glaze that gets drizzle all over and inside this cake? Either way, this is hands down my favorite cake in all the lands. Years back my friend Colleen surprised me with a mini-Bundt version of Kentucky butter cake and it was quite literally, love at first bite.

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I’ve since made it a dozen or so times. It’s my go-to cake and I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t fall in love with it too.


For the cake batter you will need 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 whole large eggs, 1 cup buttermilk and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

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First prep the pan! This is my go-to method when greasing a Bundt pan: I melt a tablespoon or so of butter and used my pastry brush to coat the inside of the pan generously. Avoid using to much to where it pools in the bottom, you do not want that. Be sure you have butter in all the nooks and crannies before adding a heaping tablespoon of flour into the pan. Shake and tap to coat, tip out any excess and set the prepared Bundt pan off to the side.

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In a medium bowl whisk together the 3 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, then set off to the side.

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In a bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in all the egg, buttermilk and vanilla, mix until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through and also right before slowly add the dry ingredients. Stop once the batter is just about combined. Use a rubber spatula to finish working in any last little bits of flour.


The batter is super thick, so I like to spoon the Kentucky butter cake batter into already prepared Bundt pan [affiliate]. I tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter before I smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake at 325Ā° for 50 to 60 minutes or until it is nice and golden and a cake tester comes out clean.


With 5 minutes left on the clock, make the glaze. In a small saucepan combine 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Heat over low, stirring until melted. Do NOT bring to a boil.


Once the cake is baked and is hot from the oven, use a skewer and poke holes all over.


Then spoon the glaze over the cake. The glaze will seep down into those holes and leave little pockets of deliciousness.


Let your cake cool completely or until it’s just a little war before you turn it out onto the cooling rack. Then reheat the second half of the glaze over low heat.

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Brush some of the remaining glaze over the entire cake until it’s nice and glossy. I usually do two coats šŸ˜‰ .

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So pretty! Now its time to slice a piece…

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See that glaze pocket? Goodness me!

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I like to drizzle a little (or a lot) of the leftover glaze onto still warm slices of this cake.


For more cake recipes, check out my growing collection here.

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Enjoy! And if you give this Kentucky Butter Cake recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

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My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: about 8-10 servings

Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake
Kentucky Butter Cake is a simple, moistĀ and delicious buttermilk Bundt cake. WhatĀ makes this cake so special is that you poke holes intoĀ the cake,Ā just out of the oven, andĀ drizzle a glaze over top that will seep into the holes.Ā Then,Ā the entire outside of the cakeĀ is brushedĀ with the same vanilla sugar glaze, once it cools it creates a delicious sugar crust. Save a little glaze and pour over your slice! To. Die. For. It's like your favorite glazed doughnut meets cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat your oven to 325Ā°. Brush an even layer on the inside of you Bundt pan with melted butter. Add in a tablespoon of flour, turning and tapping the pan to coat. Tip any excess flour out of the pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in all of eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides half way.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between each addition. Mix until just combined, then use a spatula to mix in any last bit of flour.

Spoon the cake batter into your prepared Bundt pan.

Bake on the middle rack in your pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

With 5 minutes left on your timer, prepare glaze by combining the sugar, butter, water and vanilla in a small sauce pan. Heat on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Do NOT bring to a boil.

Once the cake is baked, poke wholes while it's still warm. Spoon about half of the glaze all over, making sure the glaze seeps into the holes.

Let cake cool COMPLETELY before inverting the cake onto a plate or cake stand.

Once removed, re-heat glaze over low heat and brush over entire cake until there is no glaze left. Save any remaining glaze to pour over slices of cake!

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51 Responses to “Kentucky Butter Cake”

  1. #
    Nichole B — March 31, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I'm so excited..I'm making this for easter!

  2. #
    Mary — April 2, 2010 at 2:50 am

    What a gorgeous cake! I thought I was on a bundt cake strike, but I am going to have to make this, especially for that glaze.

  3. #
    Janet — April 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    This is definitely going on the "to do" list.

  4. #
    Nichole — April 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I made it-it was wonderful and everyone loved it!

  5. #
    Anonymous — September 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I happened upon on Tasty Kitchen and then visited your blog. You pictures are lovely and make me want to run to the kitchen and bake this yummy looking cake. šŸ™‚

  6. #
    MamaLaf — January 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for this recipe. Im making this tonight for my daughters second B-0day cake with the in-laws. I found you on tasty Kitchen and I check your blog almost everyday. I have also used a few of your recipes a few times now.
    Thanks Alot for a great Site…
    Laurie Lafrenaye

  7. #
    Wendy — May 22, 2011 at 5:46 am

    This looks delish! Can I ask what brand of bundt pan you used for this recipe? I love the shape and the way the cake turned out.

  8. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — May 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Hi Wendy! I believe it's a Nordicware!

  9. #
    Madeline — July 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I really want to try it soon! I'm wanting to pour mashed strawberries sweetened with sugar all over the top! I'm drooling while typing, haha! Thanks for the butteryness šŸ˜€

  10. #
    Debbie — February 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Simplicity at its best! This cake was absolutely DELICIOUS and everyone who tasted of its goodness LOVED IT and begged for more!!!

  11. #
    Jacqueline — April 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

    This Bundt cake and glaze recipe, is the best. I use this recipe exclusively (Bundt or layered cakes.) Great recipe! Instructions are simple and easy.

  12. #
    Brenda — December 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Can I use cake flour instead of flour, sugar,etc.

  13. #
    Brenda — December 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

    thanks for the quick response – one more question – if I do use the cake flour, do I omit the baking powder,baking soda and salt?

    • simplyscratch replied: — December 30th, 2013 @ 11:34 am

      Nope, cake flour is basically an aerated mixture of flour and cornstarch so everything else stays the same šŸ™‚

  14. #
    Elizabeth — April 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    When using cake flour add two( 2) tablespoons additional cake flour per cup of all=purpose flour. The opposite is true when a recipe calls for cake flour and you want to substitute all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour use two (2) tablespoons less flour.

    When the recipe calls for:
    1 cup sifted cake flour = 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
    1 cup pastry flour = 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour plus
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon pastry flour

  15. #
    Mony — June 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I want to make 2 dozen Boston Cream cupcakes with this recipe. Do you recommend me doubling, tripling the recipe?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 10th, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

      I’m not a hundred percent but I think it would work. It’s hard to say without ever testing it out šŸ™‚

  16. #
    Beth Stamper — July 9, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Can’t wait to try this cake. It looks amazing!

  17. #
    Laura Tabacca — August 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    This looks wonderful and I am hoping to make it tomorrow. One question: why cool it in the pan? I have never seen that direction for a bundt cake before…

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 26th, 2014 @ 8:51 am

      Hi Laura! Great question! If the cake was too hot the glaze that you brush on after would just slide right off. This way it sticks to it a little better and the cake should slide out easier this way too I believe:)

  18. #
    NancyinSTL — October 16, 2014 at 12:12 am

    This looks like it could be a winner. I am seeking a recipe to replace my favorite boxed cake mix. I have vowed to never buy it again, because I am very annoyed that the amount in the box has been decreased. That caused me to adjust my recipes that used it. To me, that’s like only getting eleven eggs in a dozen. I would have preferred a simple increase in price.

  19. #
    Earlene — October 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    This is an old-time cake recipe that is so delicious! You won’t be disappointed. Wonderful with a cup of hot coffee or tea. Enjoy and come visit KY!

  20. #
    Norma — October 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Instructions missing.
    After the third paragraph it should read to add the dry ingredients to the butter mix.
    Is missing.
    Most experienced cooks won’t have a problem. I did not and the cake is great, but maybe it will be a good idea to correct it.
    Best regards!

  21. #
    Mindy — October 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    mmmmmm! really good!

  22. #
    Polly mcgurden — October 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I think this cake is delish!

  23. #
    Linda — February 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    The buttermilk, butter, eggs would not cream. The butter was soft the buttermilk room temp but the eggs were straight from the fridge …was this my mistake the cold eggs?

  24. #
    Linda — February 28, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I tried again….everything room temp including the eggs… is a liquid mess. What am I doing wrong?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 28th, 2015 @ 12:25 pm

      Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear this recipe is giving you problems. I’m not sure what’s going on. It’s hard to say without being with you in the kitchen. But if you’re up to giving it another go, maybe try this approach: beat the butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale in color, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Combine the remaining dry ingredients, then alternate adding the buttermilk and vanilla (combined) with the dry ingredients. I really hope this helps and PLEASE keep me posted!!

  25. #
    ericka davis — March 19, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Hi! This looks sooo good! My question is about the glaze..I will be making my niece’s bday cake next week. Do you think I could use the glaze like I would a simple syrup to keep my cake moist?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 20th, 2015 @ 8:36 am

      Hi Ericka! Great question! I would personally stick to a simple syrup, only because this recipe has more sugar than water and could possibly leave your cake with a crisp, sugary outer layer. If you wanted to, you could add a little vanilla to the simple syrup for more flavor. I hope this helps! šŸ™‚

  26. #
    bookie — March 31, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    look yummy!!!!!!!!

  27. #
    bookie — March 31, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    making this for easter sunday the church will love this

  28. #
    Colleen S — May 30, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Why do so many of the recipes not have printable on them? I have a book for my favorites.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 3rd, 2015 @ 8:58 am

      I’ve double checked and the orange printer icon is on the recipe printable. Let me know if you’re still having issues with this! Thanks!

  29. #
    Jan Gathing — June 21, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I am desperately searching for the bundt cake pan used for this cake I love it and want to add. It to my collection. I have Nordic ware with no success. Any suggestions? I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  30. #
    Jan Gathing — June 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I have checked Nordic ware with no success.

  31. #
    Joy Absaln — July 21, 2015 at 7:32 pm
  32. #
    job — September 1, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I really want to try this in a couple days for company, but I only have an old bundt pan that cakes generally stick to and get too dark. I don’t want to buy another because I rarely use them. Could I make this in something other than a bundt pan, and, if so, what would the baking times be? Thanks in advance!

  33. #
    Gracias Merci — October 5, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I LOVE that you do not use any confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) in this recipe, which I think tastes bad and ruins perfectly good food. There are a few of us out there somewhere that hate powdered sugar, and my challenge to all others is, pay attention, ask yourself, does this icing taste good or terrible? If terrible, what is it causing that bad flavor. Huh? Probably the confectioner sugar. Thanks again. I look forward to trying this recipe. I found it by googling for a made from scratch melted butter cake recipe, and here you are! Merci. Gracias.

  34. #
    Tina — January 25, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Can I use buttermilk that I make from a recipe for instance, I see a recipe for regular milk and lemon juice, or do I need to use the real stuf… Thanks

  35. #
    Danielle — April 8, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I made this cake and it was a hit. I like the bunt pan that you use so I ordered it off of Nordic ware….when I received it… was a smaller version of a regular size bunt pan can you please tell me what size your bunt pan is? Thank you

  36. #
    Tiann — August 18, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Hi can I use this version for mini bundt cakes?

  37. #
    Martha — October 27, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Made this cake yesterday,it is soooo good almost gone

  38. #
    Joyce Washington — December 8, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Should I eliminate the 1 teaspoon of salt if I use salted butter?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — December 8th, 2016 @ 9:22 pm

      Hi Joyce! You could, but maybe try reducing it to 1/2 teaspoon?

  39. #
    Georgia — June 30, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I have made this cake for years and years! It is my go-to cake for every occasion. The only difference–I make mine with rum flavoring. Rum flavoring, not rum liquor. The cake tastes like the Butter Rum Lifesavers. I’ve never tried it with vanilla, but I think it’s time to try it! Why don’t you try it with the rum flavoring (I usually use about 2-3 tsp. in the cake and 2-3 tsp. in the glaze) and let us know what you think. By the way, I’m betting that you use REAL vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla. There’s just no comparison!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 3rd, 2017 @ 8:33 pm

      I’ll definitely give your rum version a try! And yes, I always use real vanilla! šŸ™‚

  40. #
    Patricia Vasilj — August 2, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I have made this cake for years. It is easy to make and always makes a hit.

  41. #
    Elaine — August 6, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Can this recipe be used to make mini bundt cakes?


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