And yes, this is my take on the classic Kentucky Butter Cake. My internet sleuthing reveals that the first mention of a Kentucky Butter Cake was when Ms. Nell Lewis won the 1963 Pillsbury Bake-Off with it. Though, I can’t really find out why it was called Kentucky Butter Cake because Ms. Lewis was from Missouri.
I couldn’t just share the recipe without putting my own spin on it, though. So I’ve taken one of my classic pound cake recipes, added some finely chopped pecans (because butter and pecans go so well together), and used a very similar butter sauce that Ms. Lewis used in 1963.
And like I said before, it’s seriously amazing. This delicious confection lives somewhere between a bundt cake, a poke cake, and my Pineapple Juice Cake.
After baking the cake, you poke holes all in it and drizzle the butter sauce down into the holes, adding some serious moisture and amazing flavor. I always save a little of the sauce to drizzle over the outside of the cake once I take it out of the pan, too. It looks pretty and adds a little crunch to it once it’s cooled.
Like most pound cakes, I think this one is better after it has some time to rest. It’ll last on the counter for 4 to 5 days or so. I’m sure there’s some science-y reason for that, but I can’t say for sure. I think it’s kind of like how soups and stews taste better the next day. Some say the time allows the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the cake and that it has an effect on flavor and texture as well. I just say, it’s delicious.
Bama Butter Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cup sugar
- 5 large egg, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
For the butter glaze
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and flour a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan.
- Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at at time, mixing well after each addition.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Turn the mixer on low, and add about half of the flour mixture. Mix well. Add about half of the buttermilk and mix well. Then add the reaming flour mixture and mix well. Add the remaining buttermilk and mix well. Add the vanilla and pecans and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes - or until the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Use a skewer or the handle of a small wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake.
- Make the glaze by combining the sugar, water, and butter. Cook over low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has just dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla; stir well. Pour the glaze over the cake while it is still in the pan - paying special attention to make sure the glaze drizzles down into the holes. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the glaze for later. Allow the cake to cool for about 30 minutes in the pan before placing a serving platter over the pan and inverting the cake onto it. Drizzle the reserved glaze over the cake.