Celebrate derby day with an impressive Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake.  A slight departure from the original Bourbon Butter Cake, this version is layered with cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce.

The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner.  I’ve never been but I really think it would be my thing….if I could ever get myself there.  It’s the most excited I get for a sporting event all year and I can’t even tell you why.  Maybe it’s the gorgeous horses or the brightly clad spectators…there’s just something special about Derby Day to me.  Plus….you get to wear a stunningly huge hat that would be utterly ridiculous on any other day of the year.  Seriously…you can’t even get away with it at some of the local horse events that happen right in my own back yard.  Trust me, I’ve tried. 🙂  I like big hats and I can not lie.  (Ok, I know…that was lame but I couldn’t hold back.)

During the winter months, I always begin planning a derby party….just so I can pretend I’m there and wear a gigantic hat without getting the side eye from strangers.  I know my friends and neighbors would totally dig it but this year…it’s not happening.  Again.  Life always seems to throw a wrench into my derby plans, so maybe…just maybe….next year.  Or, if some miracle happens…I’ll actually get to attend the REAL Kentucky Derby.  I can’t even imagine…that would be killer.  Like this cake. This cake is made with Kentucky bourbon…and then soaked in, you guessed it, Kentucky bourbon.  It wants to go to the derby too.

Most Bourbon Butter Cakes are made in a bundt pan.  I felt that was too simple for derby day.  Seriously, where’s the flash, the Lilly Pulitzer-esqe fancy pants frosting.  The pecans, the caramel sauce.  I mean really…I needed to dress up the cake a bit and decided a simple layer cake with cream cheese frosting was perfect.  And don’t be intimated with all the swirls and crushed nuts…they’re hiding things.  🙂  Like some of the crumb that still peaked through my frosting…even though I put a crumb layer on the cake first.  And the fact that I still haven’t perfected the perfectly smooth top so I added a swirl of caramel sauce.  But then it bled a bit because the cake wasn’t chilled so I did the swirls along the edge…and I think it looks pretty darn amazing.

Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Caramel SauceIngredients

For the cake:

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon. baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup Plugra unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

For the cake soak:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup Plugra unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons Plugra unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center position.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next one. In a small bowl, whisk together the bourbon and heavy cream. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in thirds alternating between the flour mixture and bourbon/cream mixture until everything has been added.
  4. Pour the batter into two 9 inch cake pans coated with butter and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the cake soak:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and bourbon for the cake soak. Brush the bottom of a cake with 1/2 the soak and then repeat with the remaining layer. (Cake can be made in advance and wrapped in plastic wrap after this point, keep at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)

You can find complete recipes of this Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Caramel Sauce in thesuburbansoapbox.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *