I’d like to think that the topic of “butter cakes” is one of my areas of specialty. As a young girl, I requested the classic “Kentucky Butter Cake” every year on my birthday. I didn’t need birthday cake frosting, colorful frosting flowers or decor. I simply needed a rich cake with a touch of sweetness.
When my first son started becoming aware of “birthday cakes” I tried to introduce this cake classic to him, with a twist: I tried to make it healthier.
You CAN make it “healthier” but the classic Kentucky Butter Cake experience has its limits when it comes to the department of whole grains and whole sugars. I will tell you what those limits are. 🙂
We reached our limit on Frederick’s 4th birthday when I took a whole grain butter cake to his preschool to celebrate. It was made with 100% spelt flour (a wheat-like flour that bakes up a little more lightly than regular wheat). I used a slightly-refined sugar — not quite white, not quite the molasses-heavy sucanat. For the syrup topping, I used honey in place of the traditional sugar syrup. I topped the cake with “raw sugar,” you know, for texture.
I have never seen so many kids complain about a cake. The teachers liked it (or so it appeared). My son liked it. I liked it.
I remember one kid saying, “This tastes like sand!” as he tasted some of the raw sugar in one of his bites. He threw the plate in the trashcan.
I expect we reached the limit that day of health “Kentucky Butter Cakes.” It is important on a child’s birthday that other party-goers actually like the birthday cake and, in this particular case, I did push it too far.
Here are your options for your own butter cake:
For the syrup: