Kentucky Bourbon Cake #BundtBakers

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

I’m trying so hard not to talk about the weather, because it’s so boring, I know, but I just can’t help myself.  It’s frigid here in NYC, and I’m just not ready for it. Yesterday marked the lowest recorded high temperature since 1882.  That’s right, at a muggy 33 degrees, this time of the year has not seen these kind of temperatures in over a century.  So what can we do to keep ourselves warm? I’ll tell you what – drink (responsibly of course).  Because when life brings you frigid temperatures, keep yourself warm with a strong drink and a slice of this Kentucky Bourbon Cake.  It’s cold outside, and bourbon keeps you warm, it’s really just science.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

I love baking with bourbon, it’s sweet and spicy flavor goes so well with baked goods.  Last year I made Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels, and they remain one of the most popular recipes on this site.  And the Bourbon Buttercream frosting I made for these Old-Fashioned Cupcakes is by far my favorite icing. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a Kentucky Bourbon Cake from Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes for quite some time, but I never really had a reason to make it (not that you need a reason to bake!). But these past few days has given me every reason to hibernate, and do anything I can to stay warm. Baking a cake with bourbon seems like the most reasonable course of action here.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

The cold weather wasn’t all terrible timing though, because this Kentucky Bourbon Cake that is not only keeping my apartment warm, also fit perfectly in to this month’s theme for #BundtBakers!  If you haven’t seen my last two BundtBakers posts, this group is an online food blogging group that is devoted to all things Bundts.  Every month we get together and bake up a bundt cake with a common theme.  This month’s is Booze, probably my favorite theme to date.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

This vintage cake is absolutely delicious.  It’s so easy to make, and includes most or all ingredients that can be found in your pantry (so hopefully you don’t have to brave the cold to pick up supplies).  Keep in mind that this cake is not kid-friendly.  While the bourbon bakes out of the cake, the glaze has a strong bourbon flavor, which is great for keeping us warm, but probably not great for the kids 🙂 Kentucky Bourbon Cake

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, and you don’t want to face going out in the cold, you can easily substitute 1 cup of regular milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar for the buttermilk.  Simply add the lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk, whisk and allow to sit for 5 minutes, and you’re all set with a bundt-perfect buttermilk! 

Adapted from Vintage Cakes


For the cake:

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the glaze

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon


For the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour a 9 or 10 cup bundt tin and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until combined.  Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, with a stand mixer or hand held mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed until combined.

4. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, buttermilk and bourbon, and whisk to combine.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk/bourbon mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour.  After each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure flour is evenly mixed. When the last addition of the flour is almost mixed in, complete the mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cake is just golden brown, and springs back when touched.

For the glaze:

1. While the cake is baking, make the glaze by combining butter, sugar and bourbon in a small nonreactive saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly until butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in pan.  With a wooden skewer, poke holes deep into the cake all over.  Pour three-quarters of the glaze slowly over the cake, reserving the remaining glaze.  Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes, then flip it out onto a serving plate so that the glazed part is on the bottom.  Brush the top with the remaining glaze (if the glaze has thickened, re-warm over low heat).

Cake with keep for 3 days at room temperature, stored in an air-tight container.

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