Kentucky Bourbon Pound Cake

This simple, yet delicious, and boozy pound cake makes a great dessert for potlucks, family get-togethers, bridal and wedding showers, or to munch upon while watching the Kentucky Derby.

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Kentucky Bourbon Pound Cake with a bourbon soak and a lemon glaze, sitting on a white cake plate.

We are planning on watching the Kentucky Derby, sans fascinators, with a few Mint Juleps and Southern Cheese Squares to start. Benedictine Spread and crudite platter will follow and then a delicious, cheesy Kentucky Hot Brown for dinner. It sounds like an amazing day!

Why This Recipe Works

This cake has everything a pound cake should have…a velvety crumb, a golden exterior, and a moist, buttery interior that’s rich and tangy. Now add a hefty bit of bourbon in the cake batter, followed by a sweet bourbon soak, topped with a lemony glaze and you get how over-the-top amazing this pound cake really is.

Back in the day, the cake got its name because it was made with a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, and a pound of flour. Basically, it was a dessert that our grandmothers could throw together using pantry staples. It was a heavy, dense, and filling cake.

Today, there are recipes all over the internet using cream cheese, sour cream, pudding mix, all types of flavorings, and even different flours like almond or coconut. 

One slice of Kentucky Bourbon Pound Cake on a white plate.

Ingredients Needed

  • Cake flour – you can use all-purpose flour, but cake flour gives a more tender and delicate crumb. I used King Arthur’s cake flour.
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Kosher salt – you may need more if you are using unsalted (sweet) butter
  • Salted butter
  • Granulated sugar and powdered sugar
  • Vanilla bean paste – you can also use good vanilla extract.
  • Large eggs
  • Buttermilk – use full-fat. The buttermilk adds moisture, helps it to rise, and gives it a tangy flavor.
  • Lemon
  • Bourbon – use a brand that you enjoy drinking. I used Makers Mark.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  • Make the cake by greasing a bundt pan and preheating the oven.
  • Sift together the dry cake ingredients.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time.
  • Combine the buttermilk and bourbon.
  • Mix the bourbon mixture and the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating between the two.
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until golden.
  • Make the bourbon soak. Make a simple syrup by mixing the water and sugar together in a small pot. Bring to a low boil until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the bourbon.
  • When the cake is done and still hot, poke holes in the top with a wooden skewer.
  • Pour the bourbon syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in.
  • Allow the cake to cool and then invert it onto a serving platter.
  • Make the glaze. Whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Drizzle over the cake and let the glaze harden before serving.
Kentucky Bourbon Pound Cake with a bourbon soak and a lemon glaze, sitting on a white cake plate.

More Cake Recipes To Try

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