Extra moist and crumbly pound cake with a sweet butter glaze and dusted with powdered sugar. A deliciously addictive bundt cake that’s perfect for all holidays!

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Kentucky butter cake with crispy butter glaze.

About Kentucky Butter Cake

Bundt cakes are always popular, and for very good reason. Not only do they make some of the most deliciously dense and velvety cakes, but they’re also elegant and just plain pretty. The bundt cake was clearly invented to impress.

And all of this couldn’t be more true for this Kentucky butter cake. Made with moist vanilla pound cake and coated in a butter glaze crust, this is the type of cake that’s always crowd-pleasing and delicious all year round.

Vanilla pound cake.

What type of cake pan should you use?

This recipe is designed for a bundt cake pan, and you can you any variety (simple, decorative, etc) that’s at least 10 inches in diameter or has a 10 to15 cup capacity. I personally used this 10-inch classic bundt cake pan.

How long is Kentucky Butter Cake good for?

Once prepared, this butter-glazed cake can be stored on the counter in a sealed container for up to five days.

And keep in mind, many baked goods taste better the day after baking, and this cake is no exception.

Can you freeze Kentucky butter cake?

Yes, you totally can! Cakes are amazing for freezing.

Once prepared and cooled, wrap the whole cake (or individual pieces) in plastic wrap, then store it in a sealed container or a freezer bag for up to six months.

When ready to eat, transfer the cake to the refrigerator to thaw overnight, then place it on the counter to come to temperature.

Dusting pound cake with powdered sugar.

Tips for ensuring cake release

One of the trickiest (and potentially devastating) parts of cake making is ensuring that the cake will cleanly release from the pan. And this problem increases ten-fold when you’re dealing with a deep, decorative bundt cake pan.

But fear not! There are a couple of tips, methods, and tricks to help ensure that the tops and sides of your cake are as pretty as the bundt pan itself.

Properly inspect and prep your bundt cake pan for baking, which means:

  • Check the condition of your bundt cake pan. Most modern bundt pans come with a nonstick coating, but continued use or certain methods of cleaning (like the dishwasher) can erode this layer away. For tips on checking the condition of your bundt cake pan, see this article: When to Throw Away Nonstick Pans. It’s written for items like frying pans, but the same basic concepts can apply to any cookware with a coating.
  • Coat the pan with either baking spray, homemade cake release, or a layer of butter and dusting it with flour. If you’re the type that tends to have bad luck with cakes releasing – and there’s no shame in that, because I’m raising my hand right along with you – feel free to be generous in how much you use. The worst thing that will happen is that the outside of the cake might appear a darker color, but that’s much better than releasing your cake only to find that half the cake is still stuck inside the pan.
  • For best results, wait to coat your cake pan with the above methods until just before you’re ready to pour in the batter. So prepare the batter, coat the pan, then pour.

Once baked, help a stubborn cake release from the pan by:

  • Always allow the cake to cool completely in the bundt cake pan before attempting to release it. Be prepared that this may take a while. You can try to speed up the process by placing the cooling cake in the refrigerator.
  • Place the bundt cake pan (with the cake still inside) in the freezer for 30 minutes. This should cause the cake itself to shrink, helping it pull away from the sides of the pan and allow for easy release. You can repeat this step as needed until the cake has enough room to release. And don’t worry, the cake will bounce back to its intended size as it comes to room temperature.
  • Submerge the top half of the bundt cake pan in hot water (and just to be clear, submerging the top half of the pan means keeping the bottom of the cake facing toward the ceiling). This should help the material of the bundt cake pan expand, pulling it away from the cake and allowing for an easy release. This method is sort of the opposite of freezing and whether either method works could depend on the type of cake or the material of the bundt cake pan.
  • If you have a thin spatula made of silicone or soft plastic (avoid sharp metal objects) you can gently poke around the exposed bottom and sides of the cake to help free some areas it may be stuck. However, this method has iffy results, since you can only safely access a small portion of the cake.
  • When in doubt, let gravity do the work. If you’ve tried the above methods and the cake still won’t drop, place a few kitchen towels on a wire cooling rack and rest the bundt cake pan, cake side down, on top of the towels. The cake may just need the help of its own weight and the towels will help cushion (and lessen the distance) as the cake falls out of the pan in its own time.
Slice of Kentucky butter cake dusted with powdered sugar.

notes & tips for this Kentucky butter cake

  • When making cakes like this, I highly recommend using a stand mixer with a flat beater or flat edge attachment. These are ideal for working with large amounts of batter and efficiently creaming butter and sugar. You can read more about different types of attachments here: Which beater do I use?
  • Don’t have any buttermilk? No problem! To make 1 cup of buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup. Next, pour in milk, filling up to 1 full cup. Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to curdle. Give the mixture a whisk to fully incorporate, then use in a recipe as directed.

More great Kentucky Derby recipes

How to make Kentucky Butter Cake

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Step 2 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the sugar and butter until nice and fluffy.

Step 3 – Turn off the mixer and toss in the prepared dry ingredients, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer back on and mix right up until the ingredients look incorporated. Once mixed, be sure to use a spatula to scrape the sides.

Step 4 – Grease a 10-inch bundt cake pan and pour in the cake batter.

Step 5 – Bake!

Step 6 – Once the cake is baked and cooling, prepare the butter glaze by melting butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add the sugar, water, and vanilla, then heat and whisk until the butter is dissolved.

Step 7 – Use a long skewer to poke holes in the bottom of the bundt cake, then pour the butter glaze on top. Lift and tilt the cake as needed to get the glaze in the holes and along the sides of the pan.

Step 8 – Place the cake (still in its pan) on a wire cooling rack and allow the cake to finish cooling and for the glaze to set.

Step 9 – Release the cake from the pan, dust it with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Kentucky butter cake with crispy butter glaze.
4.54 from 50 votes

Kentucky Butter Cake

25 minutes prep + 1 hour 5 minutes cook + 1 hour Setting Time
513 kcal
Yields: 12 slices
Extra moist and crumbly pound cake with a sweet butter glaze and dusted with powdered sugar. A deliciously addictive bundt cake that's perfect for all holidays!


Pound Cake
Butter Glaze


For the Pound Cake
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set bowl aside.
    3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Using a stand mixer with a flat beater (or a hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup salted butter
  • Turn off mixer and add the dry ingredients, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Return mixer to medium speed and mix until ingredients are just combined, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, mixing in any wayward ingredients.
    4 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Generously grease a 10-inch bundt cake pan with baking spray, then pour in cake batter. Use a spatula gently smooth out the top into an even layer.
  • Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (no crumbs).
  • Remove cake from oven and allow to cool, still in the bundt cake pan, on a wire cooling rack. Prepare glaze while cake is cooling.
For the Butter Glaze
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
    1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • Add sugar, water, and vanilla to saucepan. Heat and whisk continuously until sugar has dissolved, but watch heat – glaze should not boil.
    3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons water
Putting It All Together
  • While the bundt cake is still in it's pan, use a long skewer to poke numerous holes in bottom of the still-warm bundt cake.
  • Pour butter glaze over the bundt cake, focusing on the areas with the poked holes. If a lot of sauce has collected around the sides, pick the bundt pan up and gently tilt it left or right to help spread the butter glaze around.
  • Allow cake to cool completely (about an hour) before turning the bundt pan over and removing the cake from the pan.
  • Serve Kentucky butter cake immediately with powdered sugar dusted on top (optional).
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 743IU | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating


    • Leslie
    • 5 stars

    This cake was so easy and so delicious. I believe it will be my new go to

    • Shireen
    • 5 stars

    I used more water for the glaze but overall the recipe is AMAZING!!! Thank you, I LOVE it.

    • Dee
    • 5 stars

    I made the cake. It was a hit. Easy and delish!

    • Kiara

    Hello, these look amazing. Is it possible to turn these into cupcakes without ruining how it comes out?

    Thank you

    • Tiffany M
    • 5 stars

    My son (4) and I made this tonight!!! It turned out wonderful and we had a blast doing it! We will definitely be making this again! Thank you!

    • Hannah
    • 4 stars

    I made this. Loved it. My an old friend of mine said “wow. Oh wow” when he took his first bite, so I would call that a win. However, I had trouble with the glaze. Felt like it got grainier the longer I heated it. How long should it take? Secondly, do you take the cake out of the pan before putting the glaze on? I put it on the flat side, so that it was on the bottom but I’m not sure if that was right.

    • Terri
    • 5 stars

    I made this and took it to a party and it went.
    It was delicious.

    • Lynna

    Good stuff! Had to make a few tweaks…had no buttermilk on hand, used sour cream instead-and we have to do things gluten free so I used a 1 to 1 baking mix in place of the flour. And for the vanilla I halved it and replaced the other half with almond extract in the cake. And that glaze is absolutely amazing! Thanks for putting the recipe here for all of us to enjoy!

    • I’m so glad the cake turned out Lynn! And I love your take on it 😀 I’ll have to remember your trick of using sour cream in place of the buttermilk. Clever! I’ve always just made my own (with milk and lemon) but it never turns out as well.

    • Rosalyn

    You forgot to tell us how much salt.

    • Thank you for catching that Rosalyn! I should be 1 teaspoon salt. I’ve updated the recipe.

        • Kathryn @ Annie & Co.
        • 4 stars

        Considering the amount of Salt you re getting from the butter “1 teaspoon” of Salt seems extreme

      • Robin

      Kathryn, use unsalted butter for this recipe and then you won’t have too much salt for your dietary needs. 🙂

    • Amber | Caleigh’s Kitchen
    • 5 stars

    OH…the crispy sugar coating got me. Now I absolutely have to make this! Looks great!
    Thanks for sharing on #tryabitetuesday link party! Hope to see you back next week!

    • Vickie @Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden
    • 5 stars

    This sounds delicious. A cake that you always know that will be great! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

    • Chef Connie Gordon
    • 5 stars

    D and D festivities usually involve bad pizza and Doritos. You serve Kentucky Butter Cake? I bet that is the best D and D party ever. Love Nerdy game nights. I have not played in forever. We have been playing Settlers of Catan since the games are shorter but I am sure great food would get a good group around the table. Really enjoying your blog.

    • Connie | URBAN BAKES
    • 4 stars

    This is one fine looking cake! I find bundts to be much easier than layered or sheets cakes because there’s usually no frosting involved. Just powdered sugar or glaze, and you’re good to go.

    • Thalia @ butter and brioche
    • 5 stars

    YUM. Never tried a kentucky butter cake before but I can imagine it tastes amazing as it’s appearance. Pinned!

    • Healing Tomato
    • 5 stars

    The two words that really get my attention are “Kentucky” and “Butter”. The first reminds me of Justified and butter is my favorite ingredient. This is a superb recipe and I am always in the mood for some good comfort food.

    • Kate @ Diethood
    • 5 stars

    ~ Reading through the ingredients and drooling ~
    This looks gorgeous!!

    • Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife
    • 4 stars

    Well, this seals the deal: I’ve always put off getting a bundt pan, but I need to make this cake! Gorgeous photos, and the recipe sounds fantastic.

    • Barbara @Spirited Cook
    • 5 stars

    This looks delicious! I love my Bundt pan(s) — I have quite the collection from when my kids were little and I used to bake like mad in the 80’s and 90’s. Not so much now, but this may be just the nudge I needed to get them out again. Keep baking! Cheers!

    • Christine
    • 4 stars

    This is great news for me, too. I have a lovely new bundt pan that I haven’t had the nerve to use yet! This may be the time!!!

    • Ali @ Home & Plate
    • 5 stars

    This dessert sounds delicious and your photos are beautiful. Love the sprinkle of powdered sugar raining down. I’ll take a piece please!