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

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling

Print Recipe

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.

Additional 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.

© 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! :)


173 Responses to “Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Ashleeposted July 14, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    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


  2. #
    Dhruvposted July 17, 2015 at 11:48 am

    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.


    • Sallyreplied on July 18th, 2015 at 9:03 am

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


  3. #
    Ashleyposted July 24, 2015 at 7:56 am


    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. 




    • Sallyreplied on July 24th, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Fill the pan halfway with batter and use any extra for a few cupcakes on the side.


  4. #
    Codyposted September 18, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    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?


    • Sallyreplied on September 19th, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Cody! Yes, a mixer would be just fine for the batter. Try to avoid overmixing it, though.


  5. #
    Rizanaposted September 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    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? 


  6. #
    Biancaposted November 22, 2015 at 6:35 am

    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 :)


  7. #
    Lariposted November 28, 2015 at 4:42 am

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


    • Sallyreplied on November 28th, 2015 at 11:31 am

      You can refrigerate the finished cupcakes. Though I recommend allowing to come to room temperature before serving.


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