Have you ever had the butter cake from California Pizza Kitchen? If not, you should. There’s a lot of good food on CPK’s menu, but California Pizza Kitchen’s butter cake takes the cake. (Get it?!)

Then, if you love it as much as I do, you should make it at home with this recipe. It’s not exactly like the butter cake from CPK (it never is), but it’s pretty darn close and is the best butter cake recipe I’ve made. (And in the restaurant, it’s the best dessert.)

And of course, I add condensed milk to my butter cake recipe because every dessert is better with condensed milk. (Some people like cream cheese, but I like condensed milk at room temperature.)

Keep in mind, at CPK the cakes are made individually for single servings and not a large cake for an entire family like this.

If you want to see what this pairs well with or need some gluten-free substitutions, keep scrolling!

easy cpk butter cake

For cake pans, I suggest using this set for less than $20 on Amazon. This recipe is for one 9-inch cake pan, however, the butter cake from CPK is made in a smaller cake pan.

butter cake cpk pans

With these, the only thing that changes in this recipe is the cooking time if you use the smaller 4-inch or 7-inch pan. The cooking time will be much less, but your butter cake will be more similar to the one at CPK since its portions are much smaller than 9 inches.

Butter Cake from California Pizza Kitchen Recipe (Copycat)

CPK Butter Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks of butter (softened)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of milk (you can substitute thicker milk, like buttermilk)
  • 1/4 cup of condensed milk (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

cpk butter cake

how to make butter cake from cpk

california pizza kitchen butter cake

CPK Butter Cake Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Use non-stick spray or butter the bottom of a round cake pan (Mine is about 9 inches.)

3. Sprinkle some sugar on the bottom of the cake pan and the sides of the pan (This is what creates the light crust of caramelized sugar as a top layer. Parchment paper will prevent sticking, but I don’t use it.)

4. At low speed, mix all of the ingredients (in the order listed) in a large bowl or electric mixer. Note: As you add each item to the mixer you should be mixing them one by one – not waiting until the end to mix them all together.

    • softened butter
    • sugar
    • flour
    • eggs
    • vanilla extract
    • milk
    • condensed milk (optional – this is not a key ingredient)
    • baking powder

5. Pour batter into the cake pan

6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the golden brown middle comes out clean

7. Enjoy your warm butter cake right away with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or set it on a cooling rack to save for later!

cpk butter cake copycat

At the restaurant, it’s served warm with vanilla ice cream on top. I highly recommend eating it this way… sooooo good!

It’s so easy, even a three-year-old can make it. Seriously, click here to see if you didn’t watch the video!

Besides butter cake, what’s your favorite cake? Red velvet cake, pound cakes, a bundt cake, lemon bars, triple layer chocolate cake, or even key lime pie? Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and let me know what your favorite sweet dessert is.

When it’s a special occasion, I know my husband is going to surprise me with this gooey butter cake. It’s always a good choice.

If you like this post, I suggest checking out my recipe for banana bread. It’s my favorite! For more copycat recipes, click here.

Drink to Serve with CPK Butter Cake

What if I told you that there’s a way to enhance this delightful experience even further? Yes, by carefully selecting the right beverage, you can elevate the flavors of butter cake to new heights.

Here are five options to serve.

Classic Pairing: Coffee

When it comes to classic pairings, coffee is a natural choice. The robust and slightly bitter notes of a well-brewed cup of coffee contrast beautifully with the rich sweetness of butter cake.

Opt for a medium to dark roast for a full-bodied experience, and consider adding a touch of cream or milk to balance the flavors.

Elegant Match: Tea

For those seeking a more refined pairing, tea offers a sophisticated alternative to coffee. The delicate and nuanced flavors of various tea varieties can harmonize wonderfully with the subtleties of butter cake.

A fragrant Earl Grey or a floral jasmine tea can provide an aromatic and refreshing counterpart to the cake’s richness. Alternatively, choose a robust black tea like Darjeeling or Assam to complement the buttery flavors and add a hint of malty depth.

Indulgent Delight: Hot Chocolate

Indulgence knows no bounds when pairing butter cake with a luscious cup of hot chocolate. The velvety, chocolatey goodness of this drink serves as a decadent companion to the cake’s buttery crumb.

Opt for a high-quality cocoa powder or melt a bar of your favorite chocolate to create a rich, creamy hot chocolate. You can even top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an extra touch of luxury.

Hot Chocolate with butter cake

Fruity Harmony: Berry Infusions

If you’re looking to add a touch of brightness and tanginess to your butter cake experience, consider pairing it with a refreshing berry-infused drink. Whether it’s a berry iced tea, a sparkling berry lemonade, or a fruity herbal infusion, the vibrant flavors of berries can cut through the richness of the cake and create a harmonious balance.

Experiment with different combinations like raspberry, strawberry, or mixed berry blends to find your perfect match.

Liquid Luxury: Dessert Wine

For those special occasions that call for a touch of elegance, dessert wines make a delightful pairing with butter cake.

Opt for a sweet wine such as a late-harvest Riesling, Moscato d’Asti, or a luscious Sauternes. The honeyed sweetness and complex flavors of these wines complement the cake’s buttery notes, resulting in a luxurious and indulgent combination.

Cheers to the perfect union of cake and beverages!

dessert wine with butter cake

Gluten-Free CPK Butter Cake Substitutions

Living with gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joys of indulging in a delicious cake. With a little creativity and the right ingredient substitutions, you can transform your favorite cake recipes into gluten-free delights.

I’ll explore some key ingredient swaps and techniques that will help you achieve a moist, tender, and scrumptious gluten-free butter cake… or any cake you decide to bak at home.

The Flour Swap

The most crucial step in making a gluten-free cake is finding a suitable replacement for all-purpose flour. Opt for a gluten-free flour blend specifically formulated for baking.

These blends usually contain a mixture of rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum or guar gum. If you prefer to create your own blend, you can combine alternative flour like almond flour, coconut flour, or oat flour.

Keep in mind that different flours have varying absorbency levels, so it may require some experimentation to find the right combination for your desired texture.

California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake Recipe

Adding Moisture

Gluten-free cakes tend to be drier than their traditional counterparts, so it’s essential to incorporate moisture-enhancing ingredients. One popular choice is adding applesauce or mashed bananas to the batter.

These ingredients not only provide moisture but also contribute to the cake’s flavor profile. Other options include yogurt, sour cream, or even vegetable purees like pumpkin or sweet potato.

Experiment with different additions to achieve the desired moistness and texture.

Binding Agents

Gluten plays a crucial role in providing structure to baked goods, so it’s essential to incorporate binding agents in gluten-free baking. Xanthan gum and guar gum are commonly used to mimic the binding properties of gluten.

These ingredients help prevent the cake from becoming crumbly. Add about ½ teaspoon of either gum per cup of gluten-free flour to maintain the cake’s integrity.

Leavening Agents

Leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda play a significant role in ensuring a light and fluffy cake. However, when baking gluten-free, it’s important to double-check that these ingredients are gluten-free as well, as some brands may contain traces of gluten.

Look for certified gluten-free baking powder or make your own by combining baking soda with cream of tartar and a bit of cornstarch. This ensures that your cake rises properly without any unwanted gluten.

Flavorful Enhancements

To elevate the taste of your gluten-free cake, experiment with flavorful additions. Consider adding a dash of vanilla extract, citrus zest, or even spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

These additions not only enhance the overall flavor but also help mask any subtle differences that might arise from gluten-free substitutions.

California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake Recipe

By making a few ingredient swaps and following these tips, you can create gluten-free cakes that are just as moist, tender, and delectable as their traditional counterparts.

So, dust off your mixing bowls, gather your gluten-free ingredients, and embark on a delightful baking adventure.

Happy baking!

  1. shernell says:

    I love homemade desserts. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Emily says:

    I’ve never had the Butter Cake at CPK but you have me intrigued! I wonder if I could make a copy-cat healthier version of it! 😀

  3. Constance says:

    Wow– this looks amazing! Reminds me of 7-up cake! Totally making this one! Yummy!

  4. Katelyn says:

    Does this use all purpose flour or self rising flour

  5. Constance says:

    Really good. Loved the flavor. Would be nice served with fresh strawberries sliced and blueberries.

  6. Michele Lowrey says:

    What size cake pan?

    • Hi Michele, I used a standard, round cake pan. Around 8″ or so.

      • Sandy says:

        When I made this, I used about a 9 inch wide cake pan but there was too much batter to I had to split it in two pans. Well it totally burned I think because my pans were not deep enough so they cooked too fast. I’m a very novice baker so please tell me how deep the pan needs to be also. This might be obvious to others but idk what I’m doing over here. ????

  7. Rose says:

    Sounds like it’s definitely worth a try. I have all the ingredients so I will make it tomorrow! But I was wondering what size of pan you use? You mentioned in a comment a “standard” round cake pan. I have 8, 9, 10 12, 14 and 16 inch round cake pans. So I’m not sure which the standard is.

  8. Pmquarles says:

    I’ve had CPK butter cake a number of times, and I LOVE IT! Gathering all of the listed ingredients from the list that you provided. What I did not see was baking powder. Unless I’m using Cake Flour, most from scratch recipes call for baking powder.
    Please Advise!
    Thanks- A Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to You 🙂

  9. JO ANNE says:

    Please comment on the baking powder question! How does this cake rise? Thank you!

    • Hi JoAnne… I don’t think I left that ingredient out of the recipe, but the cake does rise. Mine did without it.

      I’ll have to try this recipe again to be sure I didn’t forget to include it in the blog post and let you know to be sure!

  10. Cheryl Barnes says:

    I loved watching your beautiful daughter make and mix this cake. I am going to share it at church for our potluck. I will have to double the recipe though so every one gets a piece. It really looks so good.

  11. Theresa Gilmore says:

    Where is the original recipe that calls for parchment paper under the butter and sugar? It also incorporated cream cheese on the top. I made THAT recipe quite a few times but now it’s been replaced with this. Could you please let me know where to find it. Thank you

    • Hi Theresa. This is the only butter cake recipe that has ever been on my blog, but I think I know what you’re referring to. A link to this post was recently added to a recipe website. It was added because a prior butter cake recipe blog post was deleted and no longer exists. That may be what you’re referring to. I’m sorry I can’t help more.

  12. Richard says:

    I made this tonight and it came out almost perfect. One thing that was missing was salt. I’m not sure if you assumed the butter was salted but I typically only use unsalted butter when I bake. I’m thinking maybe 1/2 should be enough. Also I made mine in ramakins instead of a pan and my bake time was cut about 15 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Nikki says:

    Salted or unsalted butter?

  14. Sarah says:

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I baked it at 375 in a 9″ spring pan. I set my timer for 30 minutes but let it go over. The edges were slightly too done but the rest of the cake was great!

  15. Gizelle says:

    Hello, I’m a 19 year old who likes to bake a lot for fun, so forgive me if this seems a bit obvious. I’m not really understanding the step about putting butter and sugar on the pan. What is it’s purpose? I made it yesterday & again today (it was absolutely delicious, thank you so much for this recipe). The butter & sugar weren’t really giving much taste & I nearly burned it (thankfully I didn’t). Should I he adding more to the pan? Thank you!

  16. Kathryn Adams says:

    Is the milk that you use regular canned milk or sweetened condensed milk?

  17. Debra says:

    Is there a glaze for this cake? Like butter sugar I seen another one that had a glaze and you poke holes in it and brush the glaze on.

  18. Maria says:

    Hello! We love the CPK Butter Cake, so thanks for this! When you say “Mix all of the ingredients (in the order listed) in a mixer”, do you mean for us to beat after every single ingredient is added, or after all the ingredients are added? We mixed after every ingredient and it didn’t come out smooth or pourable. Thanks!

    • Christina says:

      I’m going to be more specific in my post, so thanks for asking. As you add each item to the mixer you should be mixing them one by one – not waiting until the end.

  19. Jayde Porter says:


  20. Cori hirsh says:

    Made this dessert and it was delicious

  21. Ang says:

    It’s so good!! Something to make once a year, something to indulge in.

  22. Natalie Smith says:

    This recipe is amazing! Thanks Christina for this dessert 😉

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I'm Christina!

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 a millennial mom here to inspire you to live your best life without feeling anY mom guilt.

Thanks for stopping by for my unfiltered approach to family and lifestyle where I share what helps me run my family, business, and life while being lazy AF as often as possible. (Bubble bath, anyone?)



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