HEY THERE!  I’ve Updated this recipe to taste even more like the CPK version!

You can check it out by clicking here:

California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake

Do I need to say anything else?  Butter and Cake – I’m in, are you with me?  Add to it a thin, crispy sugar crust and I will eat the whole cake.

This all started with a trip to the California Pizza Kitchen last summer when a friend and I took our kids there to celebrate a birthday.  The kids had sundaes and she and I split the Butter Cake for dessert.  It was incredible and I have been kind of obsessing over it ever since.  I had to figure out the recipe but never got around to (I wonder how many times that phrase has appeared in this blog….) until this past month, and now I’ve made a “few” butter cakes in the crusade to create the perfect butter cake.  Funny thing is that it had been so long since I had actually had the cake at CPK that I sort of forgot what it was like.  I thought I might be able to find a copycat recipe online but nothing was doing it for me.  I wanted rich buttery taste and a crisp sugar crust.  After a couple of so so attempts from various sources I came upon an Epicurious.com recipe from Gourmet for butter cake.  It delivered the intense butter flavor but not the crisp crust, so improvised.

Voilà, my perfect Butter Cake.

Its pretty dangerous to have this in the house so give your kids a slice, make it for a crowd on Easter.  If you don’t you will be tempted to eat it for breakfast, and lunch, and maybe dinner too.

Butter Cake

Butter Cake


  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/3 C Sugar
  • 1 3/4 C Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 Whole Egg Plus 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 C Whole Milk


  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Line a 9 Inch Springform Pan with parchment paper, clipping side onto the base after the paper. Trim excess. (Or Cut a circle to fit a 9 inch round cake pan)
  3. Rub the first 1/2 stick of softened butter on the bottom and sides of the pan, leaving a thicker layer on the bottom, as evenly as you can. Pour 1/3 C sugar into the buttered pan, swirl it around to lightly coat the sides and leave a heavier, even coating on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. With and electric mixer or in the bowl of a standing mix, beat the remaining 1 and 1/2 C butter and 1 C of sugar until pale and fluffy (5 minutes).
  6. Add egg and yolk and vanilla, beat until combined.
  7. At a low speed, add flour mix and milk alternately until just combined.
  8. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  9. Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
  10. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes then turn out upside down on a plate. Remove parchment paper and let cool.


Adapted from Gourmet, March 2008 Butter Cake Recipe


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