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!
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!
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!!
You might also like:
Loaded Butterscotch Cheesecake
Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies
White Chocolate Butterscotch Tart
Kitchen Sink Cookies
Homemade Butterscotch Sauce
Ultimate Butterscotch Cake
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
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!
- 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
- 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
- 12–14 oz butterscotch chips, for decorating
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.
- Serving Size: 1 Slice
- Calories: 806
- Sugar: 99 g
- Sodium: 461.9 mg
- Fat: 33.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 123.3 g
- Protein: 6.9 g
- Cholesterol: 132 mg
Keywords: butterscotch dessert, butterscotch dessert recipe, holiday cake recipe
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Can I make this cake with cook and serve butterscotch pudding powder (instead of instant)? I’m having trouble finding the instant pudding! Making this cake for my birthday and planning on a butterscotch ganache drip on top!! Can’t wait!
I haven’t tried it but I’m guessing it would be fine.
What butterscotch chips do you use?
can I bake the dough in order, or do I have to bake 3 parts same time? I just don’t have three baking tins of the same size
You should be able to bake them fine one at a time.
Is there anyway to make this eggless? What can I use to substitute the eggs?
I don’t really work with egg substitutes so I’m not sure. I’m sorry.
Love love this recipe I make it every year for my husbands bday! Just one question, can I freeze the cakes till I’m ready to frost them?
I’m so glad you enjoy it! While I haven’t tried freezing the cake layers myself, I’m guessing they would be fine. Just wrap them well and place in a Ziploc bag before freezing and then thaw them in the fridge before using.
How long can you store the frosting for?
Generally buttercream stays good in the fridge for up to a month and in the freezer for up to three months.
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I am confused about how long is too long to mix a cake batter. I see that instruction in a lot of cake recipes and have wondered about how long I need to mix so as not to overmix?
You basically want to mix just until things are combined and not really lumpy. If you over mix the batter, you can often end up with a tough cake or a cake that falls when you take it out of the oven. If I ever find that something needs a little extra mixing, I will usually stop using my mixer and fold it a little by hand.
I made this cake just as you said. It was pretty over the top sweet. I’m thinking of making it as a bundt cake and using this sauce with it: https://veenaazmanov.com/perfect-homemade-butterscotch-sauce-recipe/
Can I use non instant butterscotch pudding mix?
I have never tried it so I’m not sure how it would turn out.
I made this as cupcakes, and just used a vanilla buttercream frosting instead of the butterscotch frosting described. I also didn’t use any butterscotch chips as garnish.
Even with these changes, these were honestly the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever had in my life! I think the extra butterscotch would have made it too sweet for me.
My only issue was, as cupcakes, the tops were bumpy and hard to frost. I don’t know why that was, but any suggestions on how to fix that would be appreciated!
So glad you enjoyed them! Having not made it as cupcakes, I haven’t seen if that would happen or not. I’m honestly not sure what that would be.