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This Kentucky Butter Cake recipe has been around for a long time because it is such a great cake!  Butter cake is very moist and the rum just makes it even better.  This recipe is a keeper.  Great to serve to family, friends and guests.


Ingredients for the Kentucky Butter Cake

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened
2 teaspoons rum, can use more(If you don’t use alcohol, you can substitute vanilla extract or rum extract)
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a large bowl cream sugar, eggs, butter, and buttermilk together with mixer.  Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla or rum and mix.  Pour batter into a well-sprayed bundt pan or pan of your choice.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes until done.  Let cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before removing. 

Rum Sauce Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons rum, can use more (If you don’t use alcohol, you can substitute vanilla extract or rum extract)
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until fully melted.  Do not boil!   Pour over cake.  (Note:  I take a skewer and poke holes in the cake, then use a turkey baster to put sauce into holes but you can just pour it over the cake)  The cake will soak up the sauce.   YUMMY!   Enjoy!
Don’t Forget to Pin!  kentucky-butter-cake-with-rum-sauce
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  1. You always have the BEST recipes!!! Thank you….Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you so much Scarlett. I am happy you enjoy the recipes. Merry Christmas to you and yours and Happy New Year, too.

  2. Should dry ingredients be sifted?

  3. Emily Marchant says:

    This is a family favorite now. I don’t buy butter milk so I use milk with a splash of vinegar in it. It’s a go to substitute & comes out wonderful!

  4. Can I use milk instead buttermilk?

  5. Could you use bourbon instead of rum?

  6. For those who asked about the metric weight of a cup of butter :
    1 cup of butter = 220 grams of butter.
    I usually replaced the 1 cup with the “local” 200gram block of butter with great success

  7. My mom passed this recipe to me, and I have been baking this cake for over 40 years. I always made in a tube pan, and used vanilla flavoring instead of rum (I am going to try with rum)! I poke holes in the cake and drizzle the icing on while the cake is still in the pan and still warm. This is a wonderful cake with fresh strawberries, or homemade ice cream. A wonderful coffee cake. There is never a crumb left!

  8. Robin Blizzard says:

    Have you tried freezing this cake? This cake sounds really good and it would be nice make it and take out of the freezer when you need it.

    • The Southern Lady says:

      No, I have not tried freezing it, sorry. You might try freezing a little of it to see how it does. I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze it but I might not put the rum sauce on it if I did.

    • I have had this recipe for years. It does well is the freezer! It is good to eat frozen as well with a warm cup of coffee.

  9. Just made this Rum Cake: so easy even a GUY can do it!
    Thank you: it’s delicious.

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you so much, Victor. So happy you like the recipes and enjoy the cake. Happy to have you on the site. Have a great week ahead.

  10. I just took this out of the oven. This is so good. This is a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Nancy Tatch says:

    Great recipe, loved every bite

  12. I used vanilla in place for the rum. I didn’t have butter milk so I subed with milk & a little vinegar added to it. This is now Hubby’s favorite cake. I made one last week & last night he wanted to know when I was making it again!! Lol! Thank you for this easy & yummy recipe!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Happy you all are enjoying this recipe, Emily! Thank you for letting me know and make that man another cake. lol

  13. Do you use dark or light rum

  14. So making this today!!! Yummy

  15. Luisa Diebert says:

    Love your website and follow you on facebook but am unable to print your recipes according to your directions. Good luck with the technical difficulties; and they say that computers make your life easier. Luisa Diebert

    • The Southern Lady says:

      If you click on the printer icon at the bottom of the recipe, you should have no trouble printing or saving the recipes Luisa.

  16. Just saw the recipe, read it to my husband, so now he’s off to the liquor store! Guess what I’m baking tonight???

  17. Can I use lemon extract instead of vanilla .

  18. Made it for Christmas, it was DELISH!!! It was a hit with the family:)

  19. Does this cake need to be refrigerated?

  20. Marijac Whatley says:

    Planning to try this cake. Wondering if anyone out there has determined if it needs more rum than the 2 teaspoons in the recipe. I have used another recipe that uses a cake mix that calls for 1/2 cup of rum in the cake and the glaze! Quite a difference ! I prefer to use this one from scratch. Thanks

  21. How to make it with more rum? How to sub the liquid?

  22. When I “shared” this cake recipe on my Facebook page, one of my friends had seen it and asked me to make it for her birthday cake. I just finished writing down all the ingredients & directions. Her birthday is in December. After she has a chance to eat some of this cake, I’ll get her response on how she liked it and post her comments.

  23. I tried the Butter Cake this weekend, and had great reviews…Loved it…even though it was a little more golden than yours. Thanks for this wonderful recipe 🙂


  25. Edith Zwernemann says:

    do you have a Easy Pumpkin Pound Cake Recipe using a Cake Mix.? If so please Post it.

    • The Southern Lady says:

      There is a pumpkin cake listed under cakes but it is not a pound cake. All cakes are listed under Cakes, Candy and Cookies on the right hand side of any page on the site.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I have always said “there’s nothing better than a Southern Lady or Church Lady cookbook. You know going in ALL recipes are amazing!

  27. Q: Have you ever tried it with Brandy instead of Rum for the sauce? I’ve got some Brandy sitting here from an Amish Friendship Cake Starter recipe & not sure what to do with it (other than what most might do & drink it – LOL!), so wondered if this might be a good substitute…

  28. I recently switched to using organic flour in cakes and cookies and have used half a cup of sugar then half a cup of splenda was wondering if when using organic flour in your cake would that alter the taste and also the splenda?

  29. Close to the Rum Cake I make…….but I pour about l cup of chopped pecans in the bottom of pan….then I pour in batter……Yum

  30. I’ve done a cake like this before, and I use either a regular dark rum, or a spiced dark rum, and either way, it turns out great.

  31. Carolyn Terrones says:

    My grandma in Somerset, KY made a butter cake when I was a little girl and I loved it. I’m going to make this and hope for all those wonderful memories.

  32. The rum cake is out of this world! I would love that lemon rum spice cake recipe….please 🙂

  33. how much is a stick of butter – 1/2 cup or what?

  34. Wonderful cake used your recipe many times and love it , close to my aunts lemon rum spice cake and yes it can be altered to be low cholesterol but sometimes ya just don’t want to! Lol thanks again for the post!

  35. hi, this cake looks amazing! when do you add the rum sauce?

  36. So nice all your recipies But i don’t know how much is the weight of the blocks of butter…or sticks…sorry here in Greece maybe we have diferent measurments Thank you so much for your nice recipies..<3

  37. I made the cake today. I used Coconut Rum (because I had just enough to do the cake and wanted to finish the bottle before buying a new one). It is excellent!!!

  38. Is tha rum flavoring or the alcoholic rum?

  39. How long will this cake keep with the rum sauce? I am looking for a recipe that I could ship after baking…

  40. Perhaps I’m just a stickler for the Oxford comma, but are you saying to use rum, but may use vanilla extract if no rum? Or are we to use rum extract?

  41. Wanda Kopta says:

    I do this recipe but using a cake mix and a few other ingredients added. I use the same rum sauce with it.

  42. Just finished my rum cake!!! It’s delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!

  43. Looks Yummy I will make it. Anything that gets a little liquor before it comes to the table sounds wonderful to me !!!! Thanks

  44. My youngest daughter used to make this cake when she was learning to cook. It really is a wonderfully delicious cake!

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