Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes.

Super-moist brown sugar cupcakes filled with homemade butterscotch sauce, topped with vanilla frosting and more butterscotch. 

Butterscotch Filled Brown Sugar Cupcakes by

I recently asked all my fans on Facebook if they liked butterscotch.

And I got an outpouring of butterscotch love! I knew I loved all of you for a reason. Butterscotch freaks can unite today. 

I’ve been trying to think of an excuse to make homemade butterscotch sauce for weeks now. Smooth, rich, buttery. Everything butterscotch should be. I was originally going to pour it on top of whole wheat pancakes, but thought many of you would find that weird. It’s not. Try it.

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce recipe by Smooth, buttery, rich, and delicious!

Then I thought about drizzling it on top of brownies. Have you ever had chocolate and butterscotch together? Oh my lanta, try that too! I have a killer chocolate/butterscotch recipe in my upcoming cookbook. Worth every second on the treadmill, trust me.


I finally landed on a spot for my homemade butterscotch sauce. Cupcakes! Easy homemade cupcakes sweetened purely from brown sugar.

Butterscotch Filled Brown Sugar Cupcakes by

This cupcake recipe should actually be quite familiar to you. It’s my go-to standard vanilla cupcake recipe that I use all the darn time. No frills, nothing fancy, no mixer required, no strange ingredients, nothing. Just pure, simple, homemade vanilla cupcake love. The only change I made was to use only brown sugar to sweeten them. It gives the cupcakes an even moister texture, as well as a slight flavor kick-in-the-pants of molasses. Super slight, you won’t even taste it. But you’ll know it’s there.

If you have a solid vanilla cake or cupcake recipe in your life, the options are endless. I’ve used my basic recipe to make strawberry shortcake, cookies ‘n cream, snickerdoodle, very vanilla, funfetti cake, and tie-dye cake. But I think this brown sugar, butterscotch-filled, vanilla buttercream topped version is my favorite. 🙂

Let’s break down these cupcakes into three parts and go from there.

First, the cupcake batter. Put that cake mix away. I promise you’ll never pick it back up again to make cupcakes. From-scratch not only tastes better, but is much easier than you ever imagined. All you do is melt butter, whisk in some brown sugar, 1 egg, yogurt, milk, & vanilla. Then whisk in your dry ingredients.

The cupcakes bake for about 20 minutes, give or take. They’re quick.

Butterscotch Filled Brown Sugar Cupcakes by

Now, the homemade butterscotch. Have you ever had butterscotch on top of ice cream before? Did you like it? Of course you did. Now you can make it at home and have nightly ice cream sundae parties whilst buying bigger sized jeans. Not really, but maybe. (Yes I just said “whilst.”)

Making butterscotch sauce at home is quite similar to making homemade caramel – you’re pretty much using the same ingredients too! However, butterscotch sauce is not as hands-on as homemade caramel. In fact, it’s very hands-off! For most of the time, you’re just watching butter, cream, and brown sugar bubble.

Awful lighting, sorry:

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes-13

Once your homemade butterscotch sauce is done, let it come to room temperature. You could also make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week. Once your cupcakes are baked, fill them with the butterscotch.

I use an empty condiment bottle to fill the cupcakes like you see in the picture above in this post. I bought it for $1 at Walmart. If you do not want to buy one, use a skinny piping tip. If you don’t want to buy either, just drizzle the cupcakes with the homemade butterscotch instead. I promise, they’ll still be the best cupcakes you’ve ever had. Yeah, I just said that. The BEST.

Filling Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

So far we’ve covered the cupcakes and the homemade butterscotch. Now… the frosting! You’ll need butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. That’s it! Two very crucial notes: (1) make sure your butter is softened and not melted in the slightest.  I simply took my butter stick out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes as I baked and cooled the cupcakes.  (2) Use heavy cream. You *could* use half-and-half or milk, but heavy cream will give the frosting the best possible texture. You’ll also have leftover cream from making your butterscotch sauce anyway.

A wonderful thing about this buttercream is that you have full control over its texture, sweetness, and thickness. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency, more cream for a thinner consistency. Add salt to make it less sweet. Add more vanilla for a stronger vanilla flavor. Beat the frosting for longer to obtain a creamier texture. It’s not rocket science, it’s just frosting!

Butterscotch Filled Brown Sugar Cupcakes by

The last thing you need to do for your brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes is smother them with your homemade butterscotch sauce. And I mean, completely smother! The more butterscotch, the better.

From the brown sugared cupcakes, to the butterscotch filling, to the creamy vanilla frosting, and the butterscotch drizzle on top – I really don’t know which part I like best? It’s all so buttery! Luckily we don’t have to pick favorites. Have it all. Go ahead, indulge!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the ingredient list. Most of the ingredients are repeats of each other.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

Super-moist brown sugar cupcakes filled with homemade butterscotch sauce, topped with vanilla frosting and more butterscotch. Indulgent, show-stopping, perfect.


Butterscotch Sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

  • 1 and 2/3 cup (210g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk*
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 cups (360-480g) powdered (confectioners') sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • salt, as needed


To make the butterscotch: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, then whisk in cream then let mixture bubble and thicken for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and salt. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 12-count cupcake pan with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

To make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in the brown sugar vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Divide batter between 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or more) if frosting is too sweet.

Fill & frost the cupcakes: Fill a plastic squeeze bottle or piping bag (with a filling tip) with butterscotch sauce and push tip of bottle into top of each cupcake, applying enough pressure to fill each cupcake with sauce. Top with vanilla frosting and drizzle with remaining butterscotch sauce. I used a Wilton 1M tip for my frosting.

Cupcakes remain fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 4 days. Store any leftover butterscotch in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes:

*Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk is OK.

*Sour cream OR nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek or regular yogurt is OK.

*Heavy cream preferred in frosting for optimal texture. Milk or half-and-half are acceptable substitutes, but your frosting won't be as creamy or fluffy.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Here are a few more recipes you’ll love:

Soft Gingersnaps with Butterscotch Chips

Soft Gingersnaps with Butterscotch Chips by Sallys Baking Addiction #cookies


Easy  Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting-4



Q: What are your weekend plans?

Kevin has some studying to do all weekend, so I’m seeing my friend Erin on Saturday, grabbing coffee with my friend Kristen on Sunday, and we have big plans for homemade pizza tomorrow night! 🙂


  1. I baked these gorgeous cupcakes for my boyfriend’s family, and they loved them! His dad took one bite and said, “She’s a keeper.” I made the recipe exactly, except that I used dark brown sugar instead of light, and I filled the cupcake with butterscotch sauce at 3 points of entry, so they’re REALLY filled with it! Thank you so much, Sally, for sharing your passion and talent! 🙂

  2. I really love the sound of this… Do you think the batter would be enough for two 6-inch pans that were 2″ deep? Or should the recipient be doubled?

    • You *might* be able to stretch this batter into those pans. But I am not 100% sure. Give it a try. I think you should be OK.

  3. I cannot figure out for the life of my why the lumps never go away…

  4. Just making the butterscotch filled cupcakes they smell beautiful! Will definatly be using youe recipes again!

  5. HI Sally,
    I love this recipe! I made them last year for my son’s birthday and they were a huge hit. This year I’d love to use the same recipe but I want to make cakes in a 9×13 pan (minus the butterscotch filling). Could this recipe work for that? Would I double it?
    Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Kate, you’d likely have to double the recipe. Only fill the pan about 1/2 – 2/3 full. Use any extra batter for cupcakes. I am unsure of the bake time for this size pan.

  6. Hi Sally. I really hope you would be able to reply this. I had tried your recipe and followed everything to the T; especially the mixing method. I had baked 4 batches of this and yet all the time the cupcakes came out very dense and wet. It was completely different from the texture in your photos. Yours looks very dry and crumbly and fluffy. I would like to achieve this texture. Would you be able to advise me on why mine turned out off?

    • It sounds like the cupcakes were underbaked. Do you have an oven thermometer? I suggest purchasing one and testing your oven temperature. Cupcakes are very particular and need to be baked at the proper temp. I would bake them for a little longer if you try them again.

  7. Hi Sally, just what I was looking for, I recently had a butterscotch cake at a Bday, and wanted to try it at home. Your recipe seems perfect, just one query, the cake I had ,had a crunch in it like a toffee in between bites, it was delicious.
    Could you advise what couldit be and how can I get it..maybe nougat,harder ended caramel/ butter scotch sauce, don’t know…

  8. These were incredible! I cannot typically bake (literally – if required to cream butter and sugar, I somehow fail) but these came out so perfectly! I couldn’t even wait to make the frosting, and just smothered them with thick butterscotch sauce. They’ve been devoured and I have just made my second batch this week. Thank you so, so much! I’ve never had a ‘go-to’ cake recipe before but now I do!!!!

  9. Okay I just have to say I baked these yesterday and they were absolutely delicious. One of the tastiest things I’ve ever baked. I used 2% milk and lowfat vanilla yoplait yogurt and they turned out perfect. I read your note about the leftover butterscotch, i stored it in the fridge, and I also had leftover frosting too. I put the frosting in the fridge, but how long is it good for? A week just like the butterscotch? Just wondering because I plan to bake these again in 2 days for my parents. Thanks! Great recipe Sally these were bomb!

  10. is making butterscotch essentially the same as making caramel sauce? the butterscotch sauce looks about the same you make for your caramel frosting

    • Making butterscotch sauce at home is quite similar to making homemade caramel – you’re pretty much using the same ingredients too. However, butterscotch sauce is not as hands-on as homemade caramel.

  11. These cupcakes were great! i made one little revision I’m not a big fan of American buttercream so I switched it up with cream cheese icing! They were still great and I got an order for another batch! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  12. Oh my goodness! These look positively divine! I am going to try to make these for a cupcake night at my friends. In the pictures these cupcakes look fairly dense. Are they?

  13. Hi. Can what can I substitute the yogurt and sour cream with

  14. Hello,
    Can I prepare the butterscotch sauce ahead of time and store in the refrigerator? Would it solidify/harden?

    Also, If I fill cupcakes with the sauce and put them in the fridge-would the sauce harden? Should I bring the cupcakes to room temp before serving?


    • The sauce will not harden in the refrigerator. I would bring them to room temperature before serving, yes.

      • These cupcakes turned out super moist and tasted wonderful!! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

        Can I bake this batter as a cake instead of cupcakes? Would I have to tweak the recipe?


      • Absolutely! Use a 9×2 inch cake pan (or even a 9-inch springform pan). Unsure of the exact bake time– around 30 minutes.

  15. WOW! These were amazing! Your cupcakes are always the moistest and tenderest (is that a word?), I halved the recipe for my family so we didn’t have too many sitting around because they would of course get eaten, and each of them took one bite and said “WOW”. I didn’t have many ingredients on hand but was in a baking mood (when am i not in a baking mood?), so I made a few substitutions. For example, I didn’t have icing sugar so I made a ermine–boiled milk and flour (super duper creamy)–frosting with brown sugar. Paired with your butterscotch sauce it was seriously HEAVENLY and the cupcakes turned out beautiful!! I love your blog!!

  16. Hi Sally,
    Your cupcakes really look delightful.
    But i want them to be eggless. Can u please tell me what can i substitute in place of egg.

  17. Just finished cooking and icing these wonderful butterscotch cupcakes and they tasted amazing. They turned out just like you said, light and fluffy and full of flavour. Just the best.
    Thanks once again for sharing this recipe.
    They will definitely be on my list to bake again.


  18. Loved this recipe! it was sweet but really delicious. Is there any other recipe which i can re-use the left over butterscotch – I have so much leftover!

  19. Can you double or triple the recipe?

  20. Hi Sally, I want to make your cupcakes for a party on Saturday, but i was wondering if i can make them a day early and refrigerate them? Or will they go bad?

  21. Hi Sally,

    this was such a great recipe and was a hit at my work fundraising day.
    I did have a problem with the butterscotch sauce though. I found that my consistency was not lovely like yours. After letting it cool the butter seemed to of separated from the sauce and hardened up a little making it difficult to drizzle over the cupcakes. What did i do wrong??! Thank you 🙂 x

  22. Hi!
    My cousins and I are having a bake off, and I am planning on making these along with chocolate cupcakes.
    First of all, would premade butterscotch work?
    Secondly, would brown sugar or vanilla cupcakes go better with chocolate.

    • Pre-made butterscotch works. Either sound great with chocolate in my opinion!

      • I tried to fill some cupcakes I made with Smucker’s Butterscotch Sauce, and had issues. I should mention when I filled the cupcakes, the sauce was at room temperature (new jar), as were the cupcakes.
        The butterscotch sauce absorbed into the cupcakes, as opposed to leaving a core of butterscotch in the middle. I think the viscosity of the butterscotch filling is really important to getting the butterscotch “core” like yours in your photo. I suspect your homemade butterscotch must be MUCH thicker than the premade variety.

  23. Hi,

    Will this cake recipe make an 8×8 cake in the listed measurements?  I wasn’t sure if it would be too much batter, but noticed I can’t halve it due to “1 Egg” in the recipe for the cake part. 



  24. Hi Sally!
    This recipe looks so amazing and I’m looking forward to making it on my family night. I was wondering if I could use an electric beater instead of a whisk to mix the batter. Would that give the mixture any difference?

  25. I really love this recipe but i would love to try use the self-raising flour. What is the measurement for self-raising flour if i am substituting the flour+baking powder+baking soda? 

  26. I just made these cupcakes and they turned out so lovely!! I will definitely be making them again, and I can’t wait to try some different flavour combinations using the cupcake recipe as a base! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  27. Hi Sally, can you tell me if I can refrigerate these cupcakes after they’ve been frosted?  Will they go dry? Thanks.

  28. Hi! I don’t have yogurt, can i use buttermilk instead? Thank you!

  29. Hi Sally,

    What can I use instead of egg. Like I don’t want to use egg, as my mom does not eat eggs. What can be a substitute? Thanks for helping.

  30. Hey Sally… I had a few questions.
    I was wondering if I could make this as a cake and would it fill 2 9 inch. circle pans? Also If it can be made as a cake can I store it in the freezer or fridge and if so how long on each? Also am I able to store the frosting in the freezer or fridge and if so how long ? Thank you so much !!! Love your recipes

    • Briana, this recipe will fit one 9-inch cake pan. Fill halfway and use any extra batter for cupcakes. Unsure of the exact bake time– maybe 25 minutes or so? Store cake and frosting in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or freeze for 3 months.

  31. Hi Sally! I made butterscotch for the first time today using your recipe and it just tastes AMAZING! I was wondering though, if I halved the recipe for butterscotch, should I let it bubble for 5 minutes or should the time taken be lesser? My butterscotch seems to have turned out thicker than yours. 

    Also, would it be possible to make butterscotch frosting by adding confectioner’s sugar to the butterscotch?

    • Amanda, it’s never a good idea to halve, double, triple, etc candy recipes– or any recipes with cooked sugar syrup like this butterscotch sauce. The added or reduced volume makes it tricky to have perfect success. Can you make the whole recipe and gift half of it in a little jar to someone special? Or use it over ice cream! I can imagine adding confectioners’ sugar would be brilliance– perhaps beat it in with a little heavy cream. Unsure of the exact amounts off the top of my head.

      • Hi Sally, sorry to bother you again. I decided to make butterscotch frosting for my mille crepe with your butterscotch recipe.
        It started out fine enough, the butterscotch was perfect, the frosting turned out ok.. However, after I chilled my assembled mille crepe, the confectioner’s sugar  started separating from the syrup. Would you happen to know why?

      • I’m not sure I understand. The butterscotch sauce was solid and coming off the frosting? Or the frosting was curdled because of too much butter? If the latter, make sure you are using enough confectioners’ sugar to soak up all the butter.

  32. is butterscotch sauce required on these cupcakes? will they taste good with just the cupcake and frosting? what model of kitchenaid mixer do you recommend for a home baker? i was thinking of getting one!

  33. Hi Sally,
    The cupcakes look mouthwateringly delicious. I would love to try this recipe but we are only two people. So can I halve the recipe for 6 cupcakes?

  34. Sally, thank you for this delicious recipe! I made these for my dad & sister’s birthdays, who both love butterscotch, and they were a huge hit! I would make them again & again!

  35. Butterscotch is the best! These look so amazing!

  36. Hi Sally,
    Can I bake 1 layer of a 9 inch round with this? How long would it take?

  37. Hi,Ms. Sally,
    If I’m using all purpose cream, should I chilled it first or just use it in it’s liquid form?Thanks so much.

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