Incredible Butterscotch Cake

LAST UPDATED: Oct 23, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Sep 30, 2019 | By: Julie Blanner

This is a moist and decadent Easy Butterscotch Cake Recipe that your family will clamor over. Inspired by vintage recipes and covered in Butterscotch Frosting, it’s baked in a jelly roll or 9×13 and couldn’t be easier! 

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate, crumbs on plate.

An Easy Butterscotch Cake Recipe

Well, I’ve been on a bit of a cake kick lately. I can’t get enough of them, and my hips don’t lie! Developing recipes is one of the best parts of my job and this is especially true when it comes to fall baking. While my family is thrilled when I put my stretchy baking pants on, I do have to think in terms of moderation. However, when it comes to this easy butterscotch cake recipe, it’s hard to stop at just one slice! 

Before there was a trend towards salted caramel sauce, butterscotch was the ultimate dessert indulgence. Don’t get me wrong- I love salted caramel (passionately, I might add). But the simplicity and buttery richness of a butterscotch dessert is unforgettable! Don’t skip this moist, easy brown sugar butterscotch cake recipe.

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate.

What is Butterscotch? 

What’s the difference between caramel, toffee and butterscotch? There are subtle but significant differences that can cater to a variety of tastes. 

While each of these three sweet candies or sauces is created with a delicious concoction of sugar and butter, caramel generally includes white granulated sugar, cream and vanilla flavorings for a creamy, delicate balance. Butterscotch is a little deeper in flavor because it’s created with brown sugar (which contains molasses). A butterscotch dessert is richer and more flavor-focused for that reason!

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate.

While butterscotch and caramel are often used interchangeably, butterscotch is probably best differentiated by the absence of milk or cream. Toffee is generally considered to be butterscotch that is cooked for longer. It can create a sticky, rich sweet sauce that pairs beautifully with many old-fashioned butterscotch desserts.

Gold jelly roll pan on a metal cooling rack, filled with a sheet cake.

Butterscotch Cake Recipe Ingredients

Many of the old-fashioned butterscotch cake recipes call for butterscotch pudding. Personally, I find that packaged pudding flavor to be a little inauthentic and wanted a cake with a richer, deeper flavor. With that said, this cake focuses on the true ingredients of homemade butterscotch: butter and lots of dark brown sugar. 

  • All-Purpose Flour- no need to sift. Don’t get me wrong- you can definitely add this extra step, but I rarely do.
  • Baking Powder- helps this cake rise to fluffy perfection.
  • Salt- this recipe calls for a little salt to balance out the sweetness of all that rich brown sugar.
  • Butter- I know it’s not a typical rule for baking, but we like salted butter in our house. Room temperature, always! 
  • Dark Brown Sugar- Dark brown sugar is really important here. It’s what creates that rich, moist flavor of butterscotch!
  • Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil- you can use either but I like canola oil and happened to have it on hand.
  • Vanilla- it’s so easy to make your own homemade vanilla extract!
  • Eggs- these help the cake rise and add to the moisture content.
  • Milk- milk adds a creamy density to this butterscotch cake recipe! I used whole milk but you can use whatever you have on hand. 

Gold jelly roll pan filled with cake and frosting slathered on top.

The Best Butterscotch Frosting

You really can have your cake and eat it too. In fact, you can have your butterscotch cake and top it with as much butterscotch frosting as you want- that’s the joy of being a grown up! This easy butterscotch frosting is decadent, creamy and perfectly balanced. 

Butterscotch frosting on a metal mixer attachment, edge of metal bowl showing at bottom.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Butterscotch Chips- these are super important to the rich, buttery flavor of this frosting. 
  • Butter- you’ll want room temperature butter. This is not a full buttercream frosting, just a little butter for added creamy flavor! 
  • Powdered Sugar- this is the finely powdered confectioner’s sugar that keeps your frosting and icing recipes silky smooth and lump-free.
  • Milk- I used full fat milk in this butterscotch frosting recipe. You can do less or more milk depending on the thickness you’d like to see in your butterscotch frosting! 

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Melt butterscotch chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl. Start with one minute and then melt in 10 second increments, so you don’t burn/overcook.
  2. Add melted butterscotch/butter mixture to your mixing bowl. 
  3. In alternating increments, add powdered sugar and milk until fully combined.

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate.

How to Make a Butterscotch Cake

  • Prepare your sheet pan with baking spray to grease the bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside while you mix wet ingredients.Close-up of flour mixture in a mixing bowl.
  • Add your butter, dark brown sugar and canola oil to your mixer bowl and beat together until fluffy and blended, light in color. This usually takes 3-4 minutes- be patient.
  • Add your eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.Mixing bowl filled with butterscotch cake mixture.
  • Add your milk.
  • Add your remaining dry ingredients, slowly until fully combined. You don’t want to overmix but it needs to be smooth and well incorporated. 
  • If you’re using a jelly roll pan for a thinner sheet cake, your bake time should be approximately 15 minutes. For a thicker cake (9×13) you’ll bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.Gold jelly roll pan, filled with a sheet cake.
  • After removing cake from the oven, place on a wire cooling rack for up to 5 minutes. Make your frosting and smooth onto cake after it has cooled completely.

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate, crumbs on plate.

More of The Best Cake Recipes

Like I said, I’ve been really into vintage-inspired cakes lately. Here’s a few more delicious cakes you should try next! 

Gold jelly roll pan filled with cake and frosting slathered on top.

Love This Butterscotch Dessert? Try These!

Love the sweet, buttery flavor of butterscotch and caramel? Check out these ideas for more desserts to love!

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate, crumbs on plate.

What do you think? Are you nostalgic for vintage-inspired desserts like I am? If you make this butterscotch cake recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Be sure to come back and leave a comment and review!

Slice of frosted butterscotch cake on a white plate, crumbs on plate.

Incredible Butterscotch Cake

Julie Blanner
This is a moist and decadent Easy Butterscotch Cake Recipe that your family will clamor over. Inspired by vintage recipes and covered in Butterscotch Frosting, it's baked in a jelly roll or 9x13 and couldn't be easier! 
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 people
Calories 282 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar packed
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs large
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Butterscotch Frosting

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • Prepare your sheet pan with baking spray to grease the bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside while you mix wet ingredients.
  • Add your butter, dark brown sugar and canola oil to your mixer bowl and beat together until fluffy and blended, light in color. This usually takes 3-4 minutes- be patient.
  • Add your eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add your milk.
  • Add your remaining dry ingredients, slowly until fully combined. You don't want to overmix but it needs to be smooth and well incorporated. 
  • If you're using a jelly roll pan for a thinner sheet cake, your bake time should be approximately 15 minutes. For a thicker cake (9x13) you'll bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • After removing cake from the oven, place on a wire cooling rack for up to 5 minutes. Make your frosting and smooth onto cake after it has cooled completely.

Butterscotch Frosting

  • Melt butterscotch chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl. Start with one minute and then melt in 10 second increments, so you don't burn/overcook.
  • Add melted butterscotch/butter mixture to your mixing bowl. 
  • In alternating increments, add powdered sugar and milk until fully combined.

Notes

  • If baking in a 9x13, check your cake at 25 minutes. Every oven is different! 

Nutrition

Calories:282kcalCarbohydrates:46gProtein:3gFat:10gSaturated Fat:5gCholesterol:47mgSodium:158mgPotassium:139mgFiber:1gSugar:35gVitamin A:279IUCalcium:69mgIron:1mg
Keywords cake, dessert, easy dessert
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped