Ultimate Butterscotch Cake

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This Butterscotch Cake is a moist, from-scratch brown sugar cake topped with butterscotch buttercream made with melted butterscotch chips! The cake is covered in more butterscotch chips and totally to die for!

Ultimate Butterscotch CakeWhole Butterscotch Cake

I have been wanting to share a butterscotch cake for so long, it’s hard to remember when I even made the first version. All I know is that it was several years ago. I wasn’t having the success I wanted with a moist cake that was full of butterscotch flavor, so I held off. Fast forward to now. I went back to the butterscotch cake drawing board and this cake was born! I started with my newest Moist Vanilla Cake and adjusted things from there.

I have several versions of vanilla cake on this site, but my newest one is a favorite for a few reasons. First, I love the texture of it – so soft and more fluffy than some of the others. Another reason is the simplicity of the ingredients and the use of whole eggs, rather than egg whites. It makes it a pretty simple butter-based cake from scratch and I love it!

How to make Butterscotch Cake

For this butterscotch cake, I swapped out the regular white sugar for brown sugar. Brown sugar is what you’re going to find in butterscotch sauce, so it’s what you’ll find in this cake as well. It gives the flavor here and helps make a nice, moist cake.

The other addition is some butterscotch pudding mix, added as just the powder. You could totally leave it out and still enjoy the flavor of this cake, but there’s no doubt that the pudding mix adds some totally awesome flavor! It’s not over-the-top butterscotch flavor, but it’s that warm butterscotch-y flavor that is so wonderful. And when it’s paired with the butterscotch frosting, it’s like taking a bite of heaven!

Best Butterscotch Cake sliceBest Butterscotch Cake recipe

Speaking of the butterscotch frosting, this is WHERE IT’S AT! Oh em gee. This frosting. I died. So, so good. You seriously won’t want to stop eating it. It’s a classic buttercream made with butter, powdered sugar and some cream or milk, but it’s got the addition of melted butterscotch chips. An entire bag of melted butterscotch chips. 🙂 Oh yes.

When the cake layers and the frosting are made – if you’ve managed to not devour everything already – it’s time to put the cake together. Layer it all together, frost it and then immediately press more butterscotch chips into the sides of the cake. If you wait, the buttercream will form a light crust on the outside and the butterscotch chips won’t stick to the sides anymore. I’d suggest having another full bag (or 2) handy. You probably won’t use them all, but it’d be so sad to run out of them. Not only does the cake look so fun with them all pressed into the sides, they are SO YUMMY! Can you tell I love me some butterscotch?

This might be the most dangerous cake to have come through my kitchen in a while. If there was a fork and the cake nearby, I was eating it. Fortunately my mom was visiting and wanted me to freeze some for her, or I would have eaten entirely too much of this thing. It’s moist, sweet, delicious and totally butterscotch. I’m several months away from my birthday, but at this moment I’m already planning on making this again for that occasion. YUM!!

Butterscotch Cake slice


Read transcript

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close up of slice of Butterscotch Layer cake
Recipe

Ultimate Butterscotch Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Butterscotch Cake is a moist, from-scratch brown sugar cake topped with butterscotch buttercream made with melted butterscotch chips! The cake is covered in even more butterscotch chips!


Scale

Ingredients

Butterscotch Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 3.4 oz butterscotch instant pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (337g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk

Butterscotch Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 11 oz butterscotch chips, melted
  • 6 1/4 cups (719g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk or cream

Additional

  • 1214 oz butterscotch chips, for decorating

Instructions

1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. Combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Add the butter, brown sugar and vegetable oil to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
6. Add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
10. To make the butterscotch frosting, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
11. Slowly add the melted butterscotch chips and mix until well combined.
12. Add about half of the powdered sugar, the salt and half of the milk or cream and mix until well combined.
13. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
14. Add the remaining milk or cream as needed to get the right consistency of frosting. Set frosting aside.
15. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat, if needed. The cakes should be pretty flat already. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
16. Spread about 1 cup of frosting into an even layer on top of the cake.
17. Add the second layer of cake on top of the frosting.
18. Add another cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread into an even layer.
19. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
20. Press butterscotch chips into the sides of the cake immediately after frosting it.
21. Use the remaining frosting to pipe shells around the border of the cake.
22. Store cake in an airtight carrier. Cake is best when eaten within 3-4 days.


Keywords: butterscotch dessert, butterscotch dessert recipe, holiday cake recipe

Enjoy!

 

Butterscotch Cake collage

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Recipe rating

95 Comments
  1. SSM

    I made this at 6inch and 4inch and both perfect! Lovely taste..not made frosting yet but had to taste the sponge haha one is for my birthday tomorrow so I am allowed 😉

  2. Maya

    Which pan do you use ? Can you please recommend which to use for baking this cake? Also can i use parchment paper instead of greasing the pan?

  3. Neva

    I have a problem. My son in law who he and my daughter has done so much for me. Moved me to where they are. His birthday is Monday we have been 4 or 5 stores looking for instant butterscotch pudding mix. To make him your butterscotch cake can’t find it any where   My daughter brought two boxes yesterday but they were cook and serve. Do you have any suggestions of any kind.  I love your recipes.  I know by know you probably have your new baby girl. Hope everyone is doing fine

    1. Lindsay

      I wish I did have a suggestion, but I don’t. I’m so sorry!

      And baby girl has been quite stubborn. She’s coming out tomorrow though!

  4. Jennifer

    Is this frosting stiff enough for piping cupcakes? Just a née swirl? I want to try it but I’m worried the melted butterscotch chips might make the consistency on the softer side. 

    1. Lindsay

      It’s definitely stiff enough. Once the butterscotch chips cool within the frosting, they aren’t “soft” anymore. They firm up.

  5. Tammy Precise

    Sarah, Simply cut the recipe in half. If it still makes more than you need, then make cupcakes out of the remainder of the batter and freeze them for a later date. I own a bakery and I do this all the time.

    Lindsey, I can’t wait to try this cake! thanks for sharing!

    1. Nadia

      Hi! Can I sub the butterscotch pudding mix? If yes, with what? We don’t get butterscotch pudding mix where I live and I am DYING to bake this for my birthday 😊

  6. Mary Wetzel

    I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday.  I used 3- 9 inch pans because it’s what I own.  It is beautiful and absolutely delicious.  I stuck with the recipe and it came out perfectly.  Thank you.

  7. Maria

    The recipe mentions to add eggs and mix for the cake mix. We do not need to beat the eggs? Planning to try this recipe.

  8. Sandie

    I made this cake today and it nearly gave me a heart attack. During the whole cooking time in the oven the cake was rising perfectly and then about 5 minutes before the cooking time done both cakes sunk in the middle. Both layers wers well cooked and I’ve been baking for a long time and I’ve never experienced something like that. However, once both layers were cooled they seemed alright and the flavour and texture of the cake is amazing so this cake recipe is definitely a winner.

    I think next time I will substitue the butterscotch pudding mix for a white chocolate pudding mix instead. I’m curious how that would turn out.

  9. Sarah

    Hello Lindsay, I see in some earlier comments, there is a discussion about cake size, would you happen to have a version of this recipe for a smaller cake, you mention a 6 inch size, or even smaller? I want to make just a mini cake for myself, my husband does not care for butterscotch and I really would prefer not to eat an entire large cake on my own. LOL Goodness, I would be roly poly! Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve been meaning to play around with 6 inch cakes because I’m asked about them a lot, but haven’t had a chance yet. I’m not sure how to adjust. I’m sorry!

      1. Sarah

        Hello Lindsay, no to worry, I am going to attempt to adjust this cake recipe into cupcakes this weekend. Would you like me to let you know how it goes? -Sarah

  10. Sally

    This looks great and I am excited to try it. Do you know about how many cups of batter the recipe makes? I am planning on making it in a different shaped pan and I am trying to figure out if I need to double the recipe. Thank s!

  11. marion

    im kind of concerned to make this cake, it looks absolutely delish but it is for my grandfathers 74th birthday and i want to make sure that it is delicious! he absolutely loves butterscotCH but some people are commenting that the icing is too sweet and the cake is dry, ahhhhh.

    1. Lindsay

      Well, I do not think that the cake is dry when made correctly. But I will attest to the fact that the frosting is sweet. But that’s because it’s made up of butterscotch and sugar. However if you’re a big fan of butterscotch, which is very sweet, I would think you would like this cake.

  12. Jen

    The cake is divine. The frosting was too sweet for my taste, would’ve been heavenly with whipped cream.

  13. Nila lad

    If I was to make butterscotch sauce from scratch (which I do often) would I put in the same measurement of sauce as I would the pudding mix?

  14. Priscilla Mackenzie

    Made this cake!!!!! Perfect plus!!! I used sugar free butterscotch pudding . I could not find any regular instant butterscotch . Turned out perfect! I was concerned about the cake batter being too thick…. not to worry !This cake will be made again????

  15. Lilivan

    This was delish! I did get the cooking kind of pudding mix by accident, but the cake was still lovely. Yyyyyyum

  16. Dechu

    Hi thanks for the recipe. I didn’t get the pudding mix so tried it without the mix…. Turned out fine. Everybody enjoyed it.

  17. Suzy-q

    Hi, Lindsay! I made this butterscotch cake for New Years. My son loves anything butterscotch and it was a big hit. Everyone enjoyed it and they are still talking about it two days later! A very moist and flavorful cake, a definite hit! Thank you!

  18. RUTH E MCDONALD

    I need to make this cake in a half sheet size. Will I need to modify ( double or triple) the recipe to do that?

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t think so, I think it’ll be fine, but I haven’t made this cake in that size to be able to say for sure.

      1. Komal

        Mam, please let me know the what ingredients do the instant butterscotch pudding consists of..?

      2. Lindsay

        I’m honestly not sure. The butterscotch flavor is a tough one to add to cake, which is why I used the pudding mix. There’s really good flavor in the frosting though, so you could do the cake with brown sugar and the same frosting.

  19. Tracy loomes

    Hi im in England, is butterscotch pudding the same as angel delight over here as o would like to try this recipe.

  20. Sharon

    I tried this cake for Thanksgiving and was really disappointed. The cake was dry, and the icing with the butterscotch chips plus the extra chips pressed into the sides made it SO sweet. I followed the recipe exactly, baked in 8 in pans.. whole milk.. butter… and oil.. cake was not over baked, just golden.. very disappointing.. If the dryness could be resolved, and leave off the extra butterscotch chips and maybe have some salt roasted pecans on top would be good…

  21. Tara

    I made this cake for Thanksgiving.  It was very sweet (which I love!).  It was moist and delicious!  I think next time I might try it without the butterscotch chips on the side of the cake.  I’m going to try your chocolate Oreo cake recipe for our family Christmas party! 

  22. Rachael

    The cake looks beautiful and I’ve read through the other comments regarding leaving out the instant pudding (I usually have some but am out currently – thought I had some but was wrong – and went online looking for a recipe for my husband’s birthday today after going to town shopping yesterday!) so we’ll see how it works out without. 🙂 Anyway, this is meant as a helpful (I hope) site critique as I read you had just made some new changes (my first time here so didn’t know what is was like before) – in trying to print the recipe, it wants to print the ads, and why the host site uses cookies, etc. I can’t edit them out and it makes printing take two pages because the ad displaces the the instructions. I understand ads, but because it was a dynamic ad, not just static, it not only took room, it took time to download it. I have not had that issue before when downloading a recipe from a site so thought you might want to know about it. Cheers!

  23. Priscilla

    Hi! I’m super hyped to try this recipe.. I was wondering if it would be ok if I made the cake batter at night and put it in the fridge to bake in the morning? How would that change the end consistency? I would make the frosting earlier as well most likely. Thank you!

  24. Janice Smith

    Hello,

    I did make this cake and took it to my church Home Coming. It was a hit ! Delecious and very Moist. I did use the Instant Pudding Mix. Thank you so much , I will be making again !!
    Janice Smith

  25. Agatha

    Hi , this recipe sounds amazing. Can I use buttermilk instead of regular milk ? You are awesome and my inspiration to bake. Thank u

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it in this particular recipe, but I think it’d be fine. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Agatha – glad you enjoy the recipes!

  26. Joan Alexander

    I am about to try out this recipe. Would it work in a 9 x 13 pan or do anticipate any adjustments? Can’t wait!

  27. Manali

    Hi Lindsay,

    I have tried a few recipes of yours and they have turned out to be awesome! thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and important tips and tricks 🙂

    With respect to this recipe, we don’t get butterscotch pudding mix in my area. Can i substitute it with something else? Or if i skip it completely will it affect the texture / consistency of the cake?

    Love,
    Manali

    1. Lindsay

      You could just leave it out. It shouldn’t adversely affect the texture, the cake just won’t have as strong of a butterscotch flavor. There’s a good bit in the frosting though, so it should still be tasty. 🙂

  28. Liam

    If I wanted to make this as a two layer cake and use the remainder batter as cupcakes, do you suggest any alterations to cooking time/temp, etc?

    1. Lindsay

      If you’re adding the same amount of batter to the cake pans, it would be the same baking time and temperature. Not sure about cupcakes, but probably 15-20 minutes.

  29. Valerie S

    I just made this. It is another triumph like the butterscotch cheesecake! I am always on the edge of my seat waiting to see what is next, Lindsay! You made my week!
    Thank you for the recipes. My daughters always say now, “what would Lindsay make?” when we want something sweet!

  30. Lidija

    I’m wondering if you could use this recipe to make vanilla cake.  So using vanilla pudding rather than butterscotch pudding and white sugar rather than brown sugar? 

      1. Louise

        I made this recipe for my boyfriend’s birthday, I’m in the UK so the butterscotch chips were imports and expensive but boy was it worth it! Those we shared it with have requested this cake again it was super yummy 🙂

  31. Jack

    Just wondering. I have been following your recipe site for more than a year now and cannot figure out why almost all of your cakes are 8in. instead of 9in.? I know you have a good reason but I seldom ever bake an 8in. cake. But your recipes really do sound good. Thank You.

    1. Lindsay

      8 inch is just the size I’ve chosen to use. I know lots of people make all 6 inch cakes. It’s just a preference. I did once ask readers that follow on Facebook if they had a preference between 8 and 9 inch cakes because I considered doing more 9 inch cakes, but there didn’t seem to be a preference. That said, any 8 inch cake could be made in 9 inch pans. It’d just either be less tall, or you could increase the recipe a bit.

      1. Janice

        I wish you had said INSTANT !! I went and bought what I needed to make this cake to carry to church and I bought the Cooking kind. Does it really matter ??

      2. Lindsay

        I’m sorry for the confusion. I think the cooking one should be fine, it might just change the texture of the cake a bit.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12