Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake Recipe

The Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake is a perfect marriage of sweet caramel and rich buttery goodness, making it a favorite among dessert lovers. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the kitchen, this guide will help you create a mouthwatering masterpiece that’s sure to impress.

The Origin and Popularity of Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Butter Cake, a Southern gem, has long been a cherished staple at family gatherings and festive occasions. Originally hailing from the heart of Kentucky, it is celebrated for its dense, moist texture and rich, buttery flavor. Over the years, the traditional recipe has undergone a remarkable evolution. Particularly, the introduction of salted caramel has transformed it into an irresistible fusion of sweet and savory notes. Consequently, this variation of the Kentucky Butter Cake not only honors the timeless love for buttery cakes but also embraces the modern twist of salted caramel, elevating it to the status of a contemporary classic. For those who are intrigued by the unique qualities of this dessert and wish to delve deeper, exploring a guide to the perfect sweet treat will offer comprehensive insights into baking and enjoying this Southern classic

Through this seamless blend of tradition and innovation, Kentucky Butter Cake continues to capture the hearts of dessert lovers. It stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of Southern baking while adapting to contemporary tastes and preferences.

Step-by-Step Recipe for Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (plus extra for drizzling)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, which should take about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drizzle half of the salted caramel sauce over the batter. Use a knife to gently swirl the caramel into the batter.
  7. Add the remaining batter and drizzle the remaining salted caramel sauce over it. Swirl again to create a marbled effect.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once cooled, drizzle more salted caramel sauce over the top and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Baking Time: 55-65 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Kcal: 350 kcal | Servings: 12 servings

Close-up of a slice removed from a glossy Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake.

READ ALSO: Kentucky Butter Cake Crumbl: A Gourmet Cookie Adventure.

Baking Tips and Tricks

Creating the perfect Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake is an art that combines skill, patience, and attention to detail. Here are some refined tips and tricks to help you achieve baking excellence:

Ingredient Preparation:

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: For a smooth and even batter, ensure that all ingredients, especially butter and eggs, are at room temperature. This helps the ingredients blend more seamlessly, avoiding a lumpy batter.
  • Proper Measurement: Accurately measure your ingredients. Use a kitchen scale for precision, especially for flour and sugar, to avoid a cake that’s too dense or too sweet.

Bundt Pan Preparation:

  • Thoroughly Grease the Pan: To prevent the cake from sticking, generously grease the bundt pan, making sure to get into all the grooves. You can use butter or non-stick spray for this purpose.
  • Dust with Flour: After greasing, lightly dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. This additional layer helps in the easy removal of the cake after baking.

Mixing and Baking:

  • Creaming Butter and Sugar: Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This process incorporates air and gives the cake its light texture.
  • Gentle Mixing: Once adding flour, mix gently to avoid overworking the batter, which can result in a tough cake.
  • Bake to Perfection: Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. Avoid opening the oven frequently as fluctuations in temperature can affect the cake’s rise.

Making the Caramel Sauce:

  • Consistent Heat: Cook the caramel sauce over medium heat to ensure even cooking. Too high heat can burn the sauce, while too low might not allow it to thicken properly.
  • Constant Stirring: Stir the sauce constantly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

Post-Baking Care:

  • Cooling Time: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a short time before inverting it onto a wire rack. This helps it to set and reduces the risk of breaking.
  • Wrapping for Moisture: Once slightly cooled, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. This traps moisture, ensuring a moist cake.
  • Serving and Storage:
  • Best Served Fresh: While this cake stores well, it’s best enjoyed fresh, ideally within a day or two of baking.
  • Storage Tips: If storing, keep it in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, you can refrigerate it, but ensure it’s wrapped properly to retain its moisture.

Creative Serving and Pairing Ideas

Elevating the experience of enjoying your Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake goes beyond just perfecting the bake. Presentation and pairing can transform this delightful dessert into an extraordinary culinary adventure. Here are several innovative ideas to serve and pair your cake, ensuring it becomes a memorable treat:

Accompaniment with Ice Cream:

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: A timeless choice, vanilla ice cream superbly complements the rich, buttery flavor of the cake. Moreover, the cool, creamy texture beautifully contrasts with the warm, dense cake.
  • Salted Caramel Ice Cream: Specifically for caramel aficionados, pairing with salted caramel ice cream intensifies the caramel flavor, creating a harmonious blend of similar tastes.

Coffee Pairings:

  • Caramel Coffee Creamer: Significantly enhance your coffee experience with a caramel coffee creamer. This pairing establishes a delightful balance between the strong, aromatic coffee and the sweet, buttery cake.
  • Espresso or Dark Roast Coffee: Conversely, the intensity of an espresso or a dark roast coffee can skillfully cut through the cake’s sweetness, offering a palate-cleansing contrast.

Decorative Toppings:

  • Caramel Drizzle: Additionally, a final drizzle of caramel sauce over the cake not only enhances its visual appeal but also adds an extra layer of sweetness.
  • Powdered Sugar Dusting: Alternatively, a light dusting of powdered sugar can impart a touch of elegance and a subtle additional sweetness.

Fresh Fruit Accompaniments:

  • Berry Compote: Similarly, a tangy berry compote can add a refreshing contrast to the rich cake. Berries like raspberries or strawberries contribute a tartness that balances the sweetness.
  • Sliced Apples or Pears: Furthermore, lightly sautéed in butter and cinnamon, sliced apples or pears can add a warm, autumnal feel to the dish.

Serving Styles:

  • Individual Plating: Cutting the cake into elegant slices and plating individually allows for a personalized touch with toppings and garnishes.
  • Dessert Buffet: Alternatively, offering the cake as part of a dessert buffet with various toppings and sides enables guests to customize their own dessert experience.

Seasonal Twists:

  • Summer Refreshment: Serving with a scoop of lemon sorbet creates a refreshing summer dessert.
  • Winter Comfort: Lastly, pairing with a hot cup of spiced cider or mulled wine makes for a cozy winter treat.

If you’re looking for more creative dessert inspirations, particularly for festive occasions, checking out candy corn cake recipes and decorating ideas can provide you with a plethora of colorful and innovative baking concepts.

Nutritional Information and Healthier Alternatives

While indulgent, this cake can be tweaked for a healthier version:

  • Substitute some sugar with natural sweeteners.
  • Use whole wheat flour for added fiber.

FAQs Section

What is Kentucky butter cake made of?

Kentucky Butter Cake is a deliciously rich dessert made with staple ingredients found in any baker’s kitchen. The foundation of the cake includes all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, and eggs. Additional elements such as baking powder and vanilla extract contribute to its light yet moist texture. What sets this cake apart is the generous use of butter, giving it a distinct, rich flavor and a velvety crumb.

What does the Kentucky butter cake taste like?

The taste of Kentucky Butter Cake is a delightful symphony of flavors. It boasts a deep, buttery essence, perfectly balanced with the sweetness of sugar and a hint of vanilla. The texture is dense yet soft, melting in your mouth with each bite. When infused with salted caramel, the cake takes on a new dimension, offering a harmonious blend of sweet caramel with a touch of saltiness, creating a sophisticated and indulgent experience.

Why is it called Texas cake?

There seems to be some confusion here as Kentucky Butter Cake and Texas Cake (often Texas Sheet Cake) are different. Kentucky Butter Cake is known for its dense, buttery nature and is typically baked in a bundt pan, while Texas Sheet Cake is a larger, sheet-style chocolate cake that’s known for being quick and easy to make. They are distinct both in their origins and their characteristics, with the former hailing from Kentucky and the latter from Texas, reflecting their respective culinary traditions.

Why is butter cake called butter cake?

The name ‘Butter Cake’ stems from the cake’s primary ingredient: butter. This key component not only imparts a rich, creamy flavor but also contributes to the cake’s tender, moist texture. In traditional butter cake recipes, butter is beaten with sugar to incorporate air, providing a lightness to the cake’s structure. The high ratio of butter in the recipe is what distinguishes butter cake from other types of cakes, giving it its name and characteristic taste and texture.

The Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavors and traditions. Whether for a special occasion or a cozy family gathering, this cake promises to be the highlight. We invite you to try this recipe and share your delightful creations with us. Happy baking!

For those who can’t get enough of caramel’s rich delight, explore our Caramel Bread Pudding recipe for another layer of caramel goodness. Don’t forget to share your baking masterpieces with us!


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