This cake was winner of 1963 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

Adapted from Nell Lewis, Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 1996)

Kentucky Butter Cake

Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 1 hr Rest Time 30 mins Total Time 1 hr 50 mins





  1. CAKE:
    • Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.  Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour, or coat generously with butter then flour/sugar mixture.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.  Set aside.  (Note that the mixture may start to look curdled as it sits; that's okay.)
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to combine. 
    • Add the softened butter and half of the buttermilk mixture and mix on low speed until moistened but still a little crumbly, about 1 minute. 
    • With the mixer running on low, gradually add the remaining buttermilk mixture, then increase the speed to medium and mix for three minutes, stopping once to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  
    • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
    • Set the pan on a cooling rack. 
    • Using a skewer or toothpick, poke about 40 holes in the bottom of the still-warm cake, going about 3/4 of the way down. 
    • Spoon half of the glaze evenly over the bottom of the cake. 
    • If the glaze starts to pool on the surface, poke more holes to help it sink in. 
    • Leave the cake on the rack to cool for 30 minutes. 
    • Invert the cake onto a serving platter. 
    • Brush or spoon the remaining glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake, letting it soak in as you go.  (Go slowly so that the glaze gets absorbed.) 
    • Let the cake sit for at least one hour before serving. 
    • OPTIONAL:  Right before serving, use a fine sieve to dust the top of the cake with confectioners sugar.
  2. GLAZE:
    • In a small saucepan, combine the butter, granulated sugar, water, and vanilla.
    • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
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