Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cake

brown sugar butterscotch cakeI’m the kind of woman who bakes her own birthday cake. This year, I wanted a brown sugar cake with butterscotch, and so I made one.

Homemade butterscotch is easier to make than you might think. Mine turned out thicker than I expected this time, probably because I cooked it over higher heat than I should have. Since my sauce ended up thicker and less appropriate for drizzling over the top of my cake, I remedied it by stirring in some heavy cream to thin it out – and it worked very well.

This recipe yields about 3 1/2 cups of batter, which made one 8-inch round cake and two cupcakes. You could easily double it to make two 8-inch rounds for a taller layer cake and would still have some batter left over for cupcakes.

Brown Sugar Cake


  • 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


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment, and grease the parchment. Flour lightly.

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.

Pour 3 cups of batter into the pan; make cupcakes with any batter that remains.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Vanilla Almond Buttercream


  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream*

* You can omit the tablespoon of heavy cream if you like, but I’ve become a big fan of heavy cream in buttercream lately. It yields a very smooth, creamy texture that is easy to pipe and spread. 


In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.

Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, then add heavy cream and beat for another minute or two.

Butterscotch Sauce

**If your butterscotch has become too thick to drizzle, add heavy cream, about 1 tablespoons at a time, and stir to thin it to a drizzling consistency.

To assemble your cake:

Slice your cake in half lengthwise and handle it very gently; my cake began to crack just a bit when I separated the top from the bottom.

Place one layer upside down on a cake platter and top with frosting, spreading frosting to about 1/4 inch of the edge.

Top frosting with about 1/3 cup of butterscotch sauce. Place the second cake layer on top; frost the top and sides.

Before serving, drizzle slices of cake with butterscotch sauce; you could also just drizzle the sauce over the top of the cake if you like.

Store in the refrigerator for up to three days; bring to room temperature before serving. When storing cakes in the fridge, they can dry out, so it’s best to use them within a day or two once they’re refrigerated.


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