Food & Drink

Kentucky Woodford Pudding

Makes 1 9-by-13-inch baking dish (8-10 servings)

A crowd-pleasing dessert from Woodford County, Kentucky

Sarah Baird wants you to know that Kentucky cuisine is more than just mint juleps and burgoo. “I want to showcase our whole culinary history,” she says. “It’s rich and it’s underexplored.” For Kentucky Sweets, her dessert-focused new cookbook, she mined communities across the Bluegrass State for lesser-known favorites such as hickory brittle and sorghum taffy to include alongside the obligatory bourbon balls and apple stack cake.

As a culinary historian and part-time comedian, Baird has a knack for colorful Q&As and factoids. (Looking to cure a hangover? Some Kentuckians swear by a half-and-half blend of buttermilk and Coca-Cola.) And as a lifelong cook, she also has plenty of hard-earned lessons to impart in the lists of tips and tricks that accompany many of her recipes. If you’re afraid that your buttery Transparent Pie is rising too much in the oven, don’t worry—the crust will sink back down once it cools. If you can’t quite master marshmallow-based, Louisville-born Modjeskas, maybe the air outside is too humid.

And if you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert, look no further than Baird’s recipe for Woodford Pudding. No, there isn’t any whiskey in this old-fashioned dish—like Woodford Reserve bourbon, it takes its name from Woodford County, Kentucky. But the rich pudding certainly does pair nicely with a cool glass or two of the brown stuff.


  • Cake

    • 1 stick butter or margarine, softened

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 3 eggs

    • 1 cup blackberry jam

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour

    • 1 tsp. cinnamon

    • 1 tsp. allspice

    • 1/2 cup buttermilk

    • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • Sauce

    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar

    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    • 1/2 stick unsalted butter

    • 2 tbsp. evaporated milk

    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter, dust it with flour, and set it aside.

  3. Using an electric handheld mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each egg. Fold in blackberry jam, beating on slow speed until combined. Sift flour, cinnamon, and allspice into the wet mixture and beat on medium until completely integrated. Pour in buttermilk, and add baking soda and mix until the batter is thick and free of lumps or streaks.

  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine sugar and flour in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup of boiling water and salt, and using a whisk, mix until ingredients are completely combined. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Once the desired thickness is reached, remove the mixture from the heat, add butter, milk, and vanilla, and stir until combined.

  6. Serve pudding warm with a generous amount of sauce on top. The cake will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container. The sauce can be stored for up to a month and is delicious over ice cream.

Recipe from Sarah Baird’s Kentucky Sweets.