Butterscotch Cupcakes

butterscotch cupcakesSay hello to one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made: the butterscotch cupcake. Last month, I tried and failed to make a butterscotch cake, and these treats are my redemption. They’re one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, and that’s really saying something.

Big thanks to Sally over at Sally’s Baking Addiction for the original recipe. I tweaked both the cupcake and frosting recipes just slightly, using sour cream instead of yogurt in the cupcakes and going with an adapted version of my own classic vanilla buttercream.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own butterscotch sauce, don’t be. It’s incredibly easy, and the results are beyond delicious. I have about 1 cup of butterscotch left over, which will keep in the fridge for a week. Now we’ll just have to figure out how to use it up…maybe in another batch of these cupcakes?


For the butterscotch sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the brown sugar cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the creamy vanilla frosting

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

*To bring an egg to room temperature in a short amount of time, place it in a bowl and cover it with warm water. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. 


Make the butterscotch sauce: in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar, then heavy cream. Allow mixture to come to a gentle boil and cook without stirring for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Allow to cool completely before using; I stored my sauce in the refrigerator overnight before making the cupcakes, but it doesn’t have to be cold to use it.

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe made 21 cupcakes for me.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter, whisking until no lumps remain. Whisk in egg, sour cream, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly whisk in flour mixture until batter is completely smooth; it will be fairly thick.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared cupcake pans.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove from pans immediately; cool completely before filling and frosting.

Make the frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar all at once, then beat on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes. Scraped down the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add vanilla and heavy cream, then beat for another 1-2 minutes.

To fill and frost the cupcakes: Place butterscotch sauce in a squeeze bottle or pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Push the tip into the center of each cupcake and pipe in the sauce.

Fit a 14-inch piping bag with a Wilton M1 tip and fill with frosting; pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Drizzle tops with butterscotch sauce.

Store at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days; I’m keeping mine in the refrigerator until they go to the office with me tomorrow.

butterscotch cupcakes 2Here’s a cross-section of the cupcakes; check out the awesome fluffy cupcake texture and channel of butterscotch sauce down the center.


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