California Pizza Kitchen, commonly known as CPK, has long been renowned for its innovative and flavorful menu items, particularly when it comes to its desserts.
Among them, the CPK Butter Cake stands out as a favorite for its rich, buttery flavor and perfectly golden crust.
It’s a go-to dessert that many aim to replicate at home.
The allure of creating copycat recipes of restaurant favorites means you can indulge in this delectable treat anytime, right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
The secret to perfecting the CPK Butter Cake copycat recipe lies in the precise combination of quality ingredients and the correct baking technique.
A balance of sweetness and a tender crumb, paired with a slightly crisp, caramelized exterior, requires attention to detail.
With this recipe, you’ll bring a slice of CPK’s culinary excellence onto your dining table, impress guests, or simply treat yourself to a scrumptious dessert.
How to Make California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake Recipe
Creating the iconic California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake at home can bring the restaurant’s rich, buttery flavors right into your kitchen.
By using quality ingredients such as unsalted butter and full-fat cream cheese and following the steps carefully, you can achieve a golden brown, warm butter cake that’s ideal for any dessert occasion.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional for added flavor profile)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Non-stick cooking spray (for greasing the pan)
Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Use non-stick cooking spray to generously grease a 10-inch springform pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of unsalted butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and blend with butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract if desired, to enhance the buttery flavor profile with a mild aromatic touch.
Sift together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a separate bowl.
Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the cream cheese mixture on low speed until just combined. Avoid overmixing to maintain a tender crumb.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared springform pan, spreading it evenly.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan before releasing the springform and transferring it to a serving plate. Serve the warm butter cake as is, or elevate it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Side Dishes for California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake
When you enjoy California Pizza Kitchen’s butter cake, complementing it with the ideal side dish can enhance your dessert experience.
Here’s a concise guide to pairing your butter cake with delightful side dishes that cater to both tradition and creativity.
Vanilla Ice Cream
A classic choice, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to the warm, buttery cake.
It provides a creamy and cool contrast to the rich dessert, creating a balance of flavors and temperatures.
For a fruitier touch, consider a berry compote.
The slightly tart flavor of the berries cuts through the sweetness of the cake, adding a layer of complexity and a burst of color to your plate.
If you’re serving individual portions of butter cake, lemon bars can be an excellent side.
Their citrusy sharpness complements the sweet cake, ensuring your palate is refreshed with each bite.
Remember that side dishes should complement, not overpower, the main attraction.
Serve your sides in moderation to highlight the stars of the show – the butter cake and its chosen partner.
If you’re looking to make the butter cake gluten-free, a variety of gluten-free flour blends are available that can be used cup for cup in place of traditional wheat flour.
These blends are designed to mimic the texture of wheat flour, ensuring that your cake remains moist and tender.
In cases where you might be out of vanilla extract, you can use the same amount of vanilla bean paste or double the amount of vanilla sugar as a substitute.
The paste has a more concentrated flavor, so you’ll get the same rich, vanilla taste in your butter cake.
For those who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, unsalted margarine or coconut oil can be substituted for butter in a 1:1 ratio.
This will maintain the cake’s signature richness and moisture without using dairy.
If you’re looking for an alternative to white sugar, try granulated coconut sugar or pure maple syrup.
Keep in mind the flavor of the cake might change slightly, with coconut sugar giving a more caramel-like taste and maple syrup introducing a subtle maple flavor.
For a dairy-free option, consider using flax eggs (a mix of ground flaxseed and water) or chia eggs as your binding agent.
They won’t alter the flavor significantly and will still give the cake the necessary structure.
Remember to measure your substitutes accurately to maintain the texture and taste of the original California Pizza Kitchen butter cake recipe.
How to Store California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake
After thoroughly cooling your California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake on a wire rack, transfer it to an airtight container.
If you have leftovers, place a sheet of parchment paper between the slices to prevent sticking.
Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
When serving, let the cake sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes for the best flavor and texture.
Freezing for Long-Term Storage
Wrap your butter cake tightly in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil, and place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container.
It’s best to freeze the whole cake or sizeable portions rather than individual slices to reduce exposure to air and avoid freezer burn.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
Keeping at Room Temperature
Butter cake can be kept at room temperature for up to two days.
Wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container and set it on your counter, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
This short-term method is ideal if you plan to consume the cake quickly.
Reviving the Cake
Should your cake dry out slightly, place a damp paper towel in a separate bowl, then rest the cake (still in its container) on top and microwave for a few seconds.
This trick can help reintroduce moisture and bring back some of the cake’s original softness.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Overmixing the Batter
When you combine the dry ingredients for your butter cake, mix just until the ingredients are incorporated.
Overmixing can lead to a dense and chewy dessert rather than the desired light and fluffy texture.
Incorrect Oven Temperature
Using a preheated oven is crucial for baking.
Ensure your oven is at the right temperature before placing your cake.
An oven that’s too hot or too cold can result in an undercooked gooey center or a dry cake.
Using Cold Ingredients
For your cake to have a fine crumb and to rise properly, use room temperature ingredients.
Cold butter or eggs can affect how the cake rises and may lead to an uneven cake layer.
Skipping the Water Bath
If you’re making a cream cheese topping, a water bath can help achieve a smooth texture without cracks.
Neglecting this step can result in an uneven or cracked topping.
Overbaking the Cake
Keep a close eye on the baking time.
Overbaking can dry out your cake, making it less enjoyable.
Remove the cake from the oven when a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Forgetting to Caramelize Sugar
If the recipe calls for caramelized sugar, don’t skip this step.
It adds a depth of flavor and a delightful crunch.
Gently heating the sugar to a golden brown will enhance the overall taste and texture.
Improper Pan Size
Using the correct 9-inch cake pan is essential.
A pan that’s too small can cause the batter to overflow, while a pan that’s too large can lead to a thinner, overbaked cake.
Neglecting the Kitchen Torch
For a fancy touch like a slightly toasted cream cheese topping, a kitchen torch is handy.
Not using one when the recipe suggests it can mean missing out on an element of flavor and texture.
California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake Recipe
- 1 cup Unsalted butter
- 2 cups Granulated sugar
- 4 ounces Cream cheese
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 4 Large eggs, room temperature
- Non-stick cooking spray (for greasing the pan)
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Use non-stick cooking spray to generously grease a 10-inch springform pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of unsalted butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and blend with butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract if desired, to enhance the buttery flavor profile with a mild aromatic touch.
- Sift together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a separate bowl.
- Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the cream cheese mixture on low speed until just combined. Avoid overmixing to maintain a tender crumb.
- Transfer the cake batter to the prepared springform pan, spreading it evenly.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.