Leah Chase’s Butter Cake

Southern Kitchen
Leah Chase's Butter Cake

Serves: 12 - 16


2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled but soft to the touch, plus more for greasing the pan

1 pound powdered sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 2/3 cups cake flour, sifted once after measuring, plus more for flouring the pan

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 teaspoons vanilla


Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable shortening or soft butter, and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

Cut the sticks of butter into 6 to 8 tablespoons each, and place all the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high until the butter is in one mass, 1 minute. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of the mixer so you don’t get showered with sugar. Start on low speed and blend the sugar to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium and let the mixture beat until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium-low until blended. Stop the machine after every two eggs are added and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining eggs. With the machine off, add the flour to the mixture. Add salt, if desired. Mix on low speed to incorporate the flour, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, and beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula, and turn the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top and bake until the cake is well browned, the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of the pan, shake the pan gently to loosen the cake, and turn it out onto a plate. Place a cooling rack over the plate and flip the cake so that it is top-side up on the rack. Let cool 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

About the recipe

This recipe was shared with Southern Kitchen by Anne Byrn, and mentioned in her April 2017 story “Taste of a Place: Leah Chase’s Butter Cake.” You can purchase Anne Byrn’s cookbook, American Cake, at Amazon.