Butterscotch cake is an easy dessert made with pantry ingredients, baked in a 13x9 pan, and topped with fluffy butterscotch frosting.
This is an old fashioned dessert, rich with dark brown sugar, butter and cream, baked and then covered with a frosting of melted butterscotch chips, butter, powdered sugar and more cream.
Butterscotch Cake Highlights
I've adapted a butterscotch cake recipe from Allrecipes--tweaking it slightly by removing the pecans and adding a tablespoon of molasses and increasing the vanilla extract.
You'll love it as is out of the oven unadorned for its strong butterscotch flavor thanks to the brown sugar and molasses and butter.
The fluffy frosting takes this cake over the top.
It's sturdy enough to eat a square with your paw instead of a fork while holding a cup of coffee.
I took this dessert to work where it was devoured in minutes. No one bothered to grab a fork.
Also, never underestimate the power in bringing cake to work, especially on a Monday.
Monday morning work cake makes people So Happy.
If you like cake recipes, try St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake (aka The Cake You Won't Stop Eating) or Lemon Blackberry Cake (Easy) or this easy peach pound cake.
If you need a really festive cake recipe, consider a rainbow smash cake.
There are a lot of butterscotch cake recipes floating around on the interwebs.
Many of them call for a package of butterscotch dry pudding mix.
But I wanted this to be a cake you could throw together without making a trip to the store.
To be clear, we are using butterscotch morsels for the frosting. Butterscotch morsels look like chocolate chips.
Don't use the butterscotch hard candies that your elementary school secretary kept in a crystal candy jar on her desk. They will not work at all.
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- brown sugar
- whole milk or cream
- vanilla extract
- Butterscotch morsels (I used Nestle, there are more brands)
- Milk or cream
- Powdered Sugar
See recipe card for quantities
How to Make Butterscotch Cake
First, prepare a 13x9 pan by spraying it with a non-stick baking spray.
Fit the pan with parchment paper and giving it one more spritz with the spray to ensure your cake doesn't stick to the paper.
Prepare your pan first. The cake needs to go into the oven as soon once the batter is finished.
- Whisk your dry ingredients salt through all-purpose flour.
- Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and add vanilla extract and molasses.
- Add dry ingredients beating until the mixture has come together.
- Add milk and beat for just another minute. The cake batter will be fluffy and will taste like butterscotch.
- Pour batter into parchment-lined 13x9 pan.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. (Check cake midway through, oven temperatures vary).
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack. This will take at least 3 hours. To hasten this process, you could refrigerate it after it rests at room temperature for two hours.
- Once completely cool, frost and serve.
You'll only use half the package of butterscotch morsels. Use your leftover cup of morsels to make Magic Bars Recipe.
- Butter - use an equal amount of shortening. The original recipe calls for shortening.
- Dark Brown Sugar - use light brown sugar if you have no brown sugar.
- Molasses - swap for dark corn syrup or an additional tablespoon of vanilla extract.
- Whole Milk - I used a half cup of cream mixed with a half cup of water.
Tools for Cake Making
A hand mixer or stand mixer.
Store this cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.
You can freeze the cake, unfrosted, for up to three months.
How to Melt Butterscotch Chips in the Microwave
Tip: make sure the bowl that you're using is clean and dry. Even a bit of dirt or oil or a dab of water can cause the butterscotch chips to seize up and clump together instead of melting.
When you're making the frosting, be sure that you melt the butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl such as a glass bowl. A paper bowl would be microwave safe but it won't protect your butterscotch chips from scorching.
Set timer for 30 seconds and then stir the butterscotch morsels thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
If the morsels still have kept their shape, heat for 15 more seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
Butterscotch is a confection made with brown sugar, butter and cream. It comes in many forms, including a sauce for ice cream. Old fashioned forms of butterscotch were made with treacle or molasses.
Butterscotch includes brown sugar, butter and often cream. Caramel is made with white sugar or granulated sugar, butter and cream.
No. Cake batter needs to be baked immediately after being made. Allowing cake batter to sit will adversely affect how much a cake rises and will also affect the texture. In fact, you should have your pans greased, floured and ready to go in the oven before you make your cake batter.
Butterscotch Cake Recipe
- 1-½ cups dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 2-¼ cups all purpose flour
- 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- Butterscotch Frosting
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 6-7 Tablespoons whole milk or cream
Prepare a 13x9 pan with baking spray and parchment paper.
Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, this will take about 3 minutes on medium speed with stand mixer or five to six minutes using a hand mixer.
Add eggs one a time, vanilla extract and molasses. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients, salt, baking powder and flour. Mix until just combined.
The last step before baking is to add the milk and stir until you have a thick, fluffy batter.
Pour batter into parchment-lined 13x9 pan and bake immediately at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so start checking cake after 20 minutes.
Cake will be golden brown with tan edges when done.
Let cool on wire rack for at least two hours, possibly three hours. Cake must be cool to the touch before you try to frost it.
Wait until cake is cool before preparing the frosting.
To Make Frosting:
Melt 1 cup of butterscotch chips in microwave for 45 seconds stopping after the first 30 seconds to stir thoroughly, being sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
Stir until smooth.
Add butter and stir until combined. Butterscotch mixture will thicken.
Put mixture in a large mixing bowl.
Add powdered sugar and begin mixing on medium speed.
Working a tablespoon at a time, add the milk or heavy cream to the butterscotch powdered sugar mixture. You may need slighly more or less milk or cream.
Beat until fluffy.
Pour frosting onto cake and spread in an even layer using an offset spatula.
When you're making the frosting, be sure that you melt the butterscotch chips in a sturdy, microwave safe bowl such as a glass bowl. A paper bowl is microwave safe but it will be too flimsy to protect your butterscotch chips from scorching.
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Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 269Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 22mgSodium 157mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 1gSugar 36gProtein 3g
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