Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kentucky Butter Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I didn't realize how old this recipe was until I began backtracking to its source. While it appears throughout the blogosphere, most of the recipes you see are simple riffs of a cake created by Nell Lewis for the 1963 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Over time, the bourbon she used in the cake was replaced with vanilla or rum extract. If you peruse the ingredient list below, you'll see this cake uses a lot of sugar. I decided to revert to the original recipe, hoping bourbon or rum would help neutralize its sweetness. I also thought the cake needed something more than vanilla flavoring, and, as I do not like the flavor of rum extract, I decided to use the real thing. Rum extract is one of my "Princess and the Pea" triggers, and because I so dislike its flavor, I will not use it in my baking. Fortunately, I had plenty of dark rum left from my holiday baking, so I decided to use it in the cake I made for the Silver Fox and friends. This is an easy cake to make and if you have a nagging sweet tooth, you will enjoy it. I do hope you will give it a try. It would make a perfect base for macerated fruit, particularly peaches. Here is how the cake is made.

Kentucky Butter Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nell Lewis and Pillsbury

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla or rum extract, or 1/4 cup dark rum or bourbon
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons vanilla or rum extract, or 1/4 cup dark rum or bourbon

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan with a nonstick spray that contains flour. Set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3) In bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar for 3 minutes at medium speed.
4) Lower mixer speed and add eggs, one at a time. Continue to beat for 1 minute.
5) Combine buttermilk with extract or bourbon/rum. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with flour.
6) Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7) Meanwhile make glaze: In a small saucepan, combine sugar and butter. If using extract, combine it with water and add to pan. If using bourbon or rum, simply add to pan.butter, water and vanilla or rum extract. Heat mixture, but do not boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
8) When cake comes out of oven, prick it with a wooden skewer or fork. Pour glaze slowly over cake. Let cake cool completely before removing it from pan. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

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From the Kitchen said...

I agree with you re rum flavoring. My aunt used to make a similar cake (she lived in KY) that, while I liked the texture, I didn't like the taste of the rum flavoring.
I'll pull out the real thing and try your recipe. Go
American Pharoah!


David said...

Mary, Great looking cake! That dark rum and the glazing ensure a rich sweet taste...and I'm sure that the cake is nice and moist. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Francie Newcomb said...

How interesting! Mrs. Lewis was a friend of our family and lived in our town at the time she went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off. My copy of her recipe calls for one-half cup light rum in the glaze, and no rum in the cake batter. I remember she was disappointed that the contest rules did not allow her to use real rum in the cake, so she had to use rum extract, and the flavor wasn't as good. Mrs. Lewis was a lovely, generous, and dignified lady.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Francie, thank you so much for letting us know more about Mrs. Lewis and her cake. I'll wager the glaze with the additional rum is something to be remembered:-) Hugs and blessings...Mary

Pondside said...

I've made a version of this cake every winter for as long as I've been married, but will be glad to try your version the next time. It's a cake that I believe is better on the second day.

bellini said...

When I was a teenager by brother used to make a rum cake that was quite similar. Substitute bourbon and it is very Southern. I will have to give this a try some time.

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