Print Recipe

Original Kentucky Bourbon Cake


  • 2 cups red candied cherries (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups light seedless raisins (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups bourbon, plus more for soaking cake
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 5 cups sifted cake flour, divided (sift before measuring)
  • 4 cups shelled pecans (about 1 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Combine cherries, raisins and 2 cups bourbon in a medium container.
  2. Cover; let stand overnight at room temperature.
  3. Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan; line with wax paper. Grease the wax paper).
  4. Drain the fruits, reserving the bourbon.
  5. In a 5-quart or larger bowl, beat the butter with the granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy.
  6. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Set aside.
  7. Combine 1/2 cup flour and the pecans, coating the nuts well. Set aside.
  8. Sift together the remaining 4 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg and baking powder.
  9. Alternating the flour mixture and the bourbon, add to the butter mixture. Beat well after each addition. Set aside.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold them into the batter.
  11. Fold in the soaked fruit and pecans.
  12. Spoon the batter into the pan.
  13. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  14. Let the cake cool in the pan.
  15. When completely cooled, remove from pan; remove wax paper.
  16. Fill the center of the cake with cheesecloth dipped in bourbon. Wrap the cake and cheesecloth in heavy waxed paper or aluminum foil.
  17. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Check the cheesecloth for moisture occasionally. If dry, saturate with more bourbon.

Yield: 20 to 24 servings

Per serving (based on 24 servings): 540 calories; 20.5g fat (34 percent calories from fat); 8g saturated fat; 90mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 75g carbohydrate; 48g sugar; 2g fiber; 49mg sodium; 53mg calcium; 233mg potassium

Tester's note: We used a 10-inch tube pan, yet had enough batter left to make 24 mini muffins. For best results, use paper liners in the muffin cups and bake for 35 minutes. The mini cakes were delicious right out of the oven.

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