Nailed it: Butter cake an overwhelming success

Our Sunday School class was having a potluck social after church and I signed up to take a dessert.

I decided I would make something I’d never made before and pulled out my dessert folder. That thing is about eight inches thick so I really need to curb my recipe clipping habit for a while, but that is sooooo hard.

Those of you that have the same addiction know how hard it is to pass up a recipe that looks good thinking you just might make it someday, if you have time, if you have the ingredients, if you have the energy, if it sounds good when you look at the recipe again.

I wanted to make something that didn’t need to be warm (i.e. fruit pie) when served, and something that would feed a crowd of hungry adults and some kids.

After sifting through I don’t know how many recipes and pulling about five out of the stack, I settled on Kentucky Butter Cake. It sounded similar to my pound cake recipe, but included a yummy sounding butter sauce poured over it.

Part of the appeal of this recipe was all the ingredients go in one bowl. There was no cream this, add this and mix just until blended, add alternately, etc. in the directions. On Saturday afternoon, after the butter had softened I put everything in the bowl of my stand mixer and turned it on low. After about 30 seconds, I turned the speed up a bit and let it go for three minutes.

While the cake was mixing, I greased the bundt pan. The commentary with the recipe stressed greasing the pan heavily, so I did just that, then I floured the pan and set it aside.

When three minutes were up, I poured the batter into the cake pan and put it in the oven, setting the timer for 65 minutes. When the timer sounded, I tested the cake and realized it need to bake a little longer.

When the timer sounded for the second time, I removed the cake from the oven. The cake looked pretty similar to the pound cake I make and smelled wonderful.

Now it was time to make the butter sauce. I placed all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and turned the heat to medium. As the butter began to melt I started stirring and turned the temperature down to low so the sauce would not boil. I continued stirring until the sugar finally melted. I turned off the heat and removed the pan from the stove.

Instead of using a knife to poke holes in the cake, I used a meat fork — the kind you use to hold the turkey while you carve it. It had long tines and I figured that would be easy to use. I poked holes all over the cake (while it was still in the pan) and drizzled the sauce all over the cake.

There was a tiny bit of sauce left in the pan and I decided to have a taste. Oh. My. Goodness! That stuff was dreamy. It was so good, if I’d tasted it before pouring on the cake, I’m not sure it would have made it to the cake. At that point I was convinced this cake was going to be the bomb.

When I was satisfied the cake was completely cooled, I ran a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it. Then I placed a large plate on top and turned it over. The entire time I was hoping the thing had not stuck and would slide right out.

Once the cake pan was turned over, I tapped the bottom and the sides of the pan, for good measure and gently lifted the pan off. Even though I thought I greased the pan really well, some of the cake stuck to the pan. Oh well. I figured the powdered sugar I was going to sprinkle on top would cover that mistake.

I covered the cake and headed to bed.

After church on Sunday, our class gathered for the potluck. The people who’d graciously agreed to get everything ready for meal looked at me and said they left my cake alone because it was obvious that I wasn’t finished with it (I’d taken the powdered sugar in a sugar shaker and they couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to work). I sprinkled the sugar on top and we were ready to eat.

After a great meal, I headed to the dessert table and got a piece of my cake and a piece of Ann Fryer’s pecan pie.

After eating the pie (which was very good) I took a bite of the Kentucky Butter Cake. I looked at Brad and told him I didn’t think it had any taste. He just looked at me.

I looked around to see if anyone else was eating cake so I could ask their opinion, I didn’t see anyone sampling it. So I kept eating my piece and still didn’t feel like it had much taste — maybe it was all the flavors I’d just had during lunch.

Anyway when the fellowship was over and I gathered my things up to go home, half of the cake had been eaten, but I have no idea who tried it. My son Daniel came over that evening and he said he thought it tasted like pound cake, and would have liked some fresh berries with it. I had some in the refrigerator, but I’d forgotten about them until he mentioned that.

The next day, I sampled the cake for breakfast, with some fruit — yes, dessert for breakfast is great! This time I could taste the cake and it was good. I really didn’t taste the butter sauce, but it seemed to make the cake moist.

I decided I’d take the rest of the cake to The Winchester Sun staff and get their opinions. When I got to The Sun office, I dropped the cake off at the front desk and left word to give it to Whitney Leggett and mentioned she could share with who ever wanted to taste it.

Later in the day I got an e-mail from Whitney and this is what she had to say “Well, I’ve already had three pieces of your cake and it’s delicious! I haven’t heard from anyone else, but I can say if they don’t eat it soon, there might not be any left for long!”

So in the end, and with Whitney’s blessing, I nailed this recipe and it will go into my self-made cookbook. And that butter sauce? It will definitely be made again and again to pour over almost anything, or maybe I’ll just drink it. Yum, yum, yum.

Kentucky Butter Cake

Cake ingredients

1 cup butter, cubed at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

Butter glaze Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Powdered sugar (optional for dusting cake)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a 10 inch bunt pan with butter or shortening very liberally.  Dust the pan with flour and set aside.

Place all the cake ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean.

When the cake is done, make the glaze.  Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir continuously until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.  Do not bring to a boil.

Poke holes all over the warm cake using a knife and pour the glaze evenly on the cake while still in the pan.

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

The recipe author suggested making the cake a day in advance, as it becomes more moist overnight.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.