Opera cream cake “like” Knotty Pine on the Bayou  

Outside view on a Beautiful day

Opera cream cake “like” Knotty Pine on the Bayou  

A few years ago, a Western Hills reader shared her version for this customer favorite from Knotty Pine Restaurant in Kentucky. “So close you won’t be able to tell the difference”, she said.  Sherri H. is just the latest of readers who continue to request the recipe.

I did make the cake a long while ago and luckily kept my notes.

I made a few changes dependent upon what ingredients I had. Those are in parentheses. You choose which ingredients appeal to you. Don’t be put off by the list of instructions – the cake comes together easily and would be perfect to tote to that Memorial Day picnic. Because it’s baked in a jelly roll pan, it isn’t a real high riser, and is very moist. The browned butter icing elevates it into the kind of cake that begs for “one more bite”. How many does it serve? I got 16 servings and could have gotten more.


Whisk together and set aside:

2 cups sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring to boil:

2 sticks margarine (I used unsalted butter)

1 cup water

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Cool, then add sugar, flour and salt mixture, and blend well.  

Then beat in:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream (plus 1 teaspoon vanilla)

1 teaspoon baking soda

Batter will be thin. Pour into sprayed jellyroll pan and bake in preheated 400 degree oven 20 minutes. 


Boil until golden: 1-1/2 sticks butter (I used unsalted)

(This is what I call “browned butter”: cook in pan over medium heat until butter boils and begins to turn golden. It will foam up a bit. Be careful as it can burn easily. It’s done when butter turns tan color and you see specks of light golden brown on bottom. This takes a few minutes. Remove from heat right away, stir browned bits in, and pour into bowl to cool.)

To cooled browned butter, add and beat until fluffy: (it will look lumpy at first)

1 pound powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

6-8 tablespoons whipping cream (I used evaporated milk)

Spread on cooled cake right in pan. Store in refrigerator.

Tip from Rita’s Kitchen:  A jelly roll pan (about 10×15) is bigger than a cookie sheet and has sides.

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