How to make Kentucky Woodford Pudding


Photo by Markus Spiske via Pexels

We all know Old Louisville is a slice of nineteenth-century history with the largest contiguous collection of Victorian mansions in the US, but there’s also an online recipe archive that brings dishes from those mansion’s tables to yours.

The Old Louisville Recipe Book is an archive of dishes from Mary Harris Frazer’s, “Kentucky Receipt Book,” dating back to 1903. The book — filled with recipes from fritters to cordials — can also be traced back to the Seelbach family’s kitchen as they are said to have whipped up a thing or two from its pages.

And there’s one recipe for a spongy, spiced pudding that is sure to bring a piece of Victorian life to your dinner table.

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The pudding cake can be stored for up to five days in an airtight container. | Photo by @thesouthernladycooks

The Kentucky Woodford Pudding is named after the county just outside of Lexington where Versailles and Midway are located + dates back to 1875. The recipe shockingly yields no bourbon, but no one said you couldn’t have an after-dinner pour alongside this old-fashioned treat.

There are several versions of the Kentucky Woodford Pudding recipe — one even uses a teacup as a measuring unit — but we’ve sourced a contemporary version for your modern kitchen from Sarah Baird’s, “Kentucky Sweets,” cookbook.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup blackberry jam (we suggest a locally-made version from Bourbon Barrel Foods or Full Stop Station)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (try a locally-sourced version from the Logan Street Market’s bodega)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with butter, dust with flour, and set aside.
  2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Fold in blackberry jam, beating on slow until combined. Sift flour, cinnamon, and allspice into the mixture and beat on medium until incorporated. Pour in buttermilk and add baking soda. Mix until the batter is thick and has no lumps.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. To make the sauce, combine sugar and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup of boiling water and salt. Then, using a whisk mix until combined. Bring sauce to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes. Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and add butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Serve pudding warm with a generous amount of sauce on top.
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