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These brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes are filled with homemade butterscotch sauce and topped with vanilla frosting. They’re buttery, rich, and flavorful, plus using all brown sugar keeps their texture super moist!

brown sugar cupcake topped with vanilla frosting and butterscotch drizzle

We’ve used a basic cupcake recipe to make strawberry shortcake cupcakes, cookies ‘n cream cupcakes, snickerdoodle cupcakes, and very vanilla cupcakes. It’s consistently delicious and makes the perfect blank canvas for a variety of flavors. Brown sugar butterscotch was next on our list!

Tell Me About These Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

  • Flavor: These cupcakes have a comforting buttery vanilla flavor that all bakers love. But we don’t stop there! We use all brown sugar to sweeten them and fill each with homemade butterscotch sauce. If you love butterscotch as much as we do, you’ll enjoy today’s cupcakes and you should try this homemade butterscotch pudding too!
  • Texture: Yogurt and melted butter guarantee a perfectly moist cupcake with a buttery dense and cakey crumb.
  • Ease: These brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes have a few moving parts, but each are completely doable– even if you’re a beginner! Most of the ingredients are repeated in each layer/component and you don’t need a mixer for the cupcake batter. (Though you’ll definitely need to pull it out for the frosting.)
brown sugar cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting and butterscotch drizzle with one cut in half showing the inside


Homemade Butterscotch Sauce & Vanilla Frosting

  1. Butterscotch Sauce: This part of the recipe is quite similar to making homemade salted caramel and you’re pretty much using the same ingredients too. However, butterscotch sauce is not as hands-on as caramel. In fact, it’s very hands-off. For most of the time, you’re just watching butter, cream, and brown sugar bubble. 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 the cupcakes have baked and cooled, fill them with the butterscotch. (Any extra? I recommend drizzling it on whole wheat pancakes. What a treat!)
  2. Vanilla Frosting: You need butter, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a little salt. Two very crucial notes: (1) make sure your butter is softened and not melted in the slightest. Reviewing our room temperature butter post is always helpful before making a butter-based frosting. (2) Use heavy cream as the liquid in the frosting. You *could* use half-and-half or milk, but heavy cream will give the frosting the creamiest texture. You’ll 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 confectioners’ sugar for a thicker consistency or more cream to thin it out. And add salt to taste.
butterscotch filling in a white bowl with a spoon
3 images showing how to make butterscotch filled brown sugar cupcakes


Overview: How to Make Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it quickly so you understand each step before we get started. 

  1. Make the butterscotch.
  2. Preheat and line the cupcake pan.
  3. Make the cupcake batter
  4. Bake, then cool the cupcakes.
  5. Make the frosting as the cupcakes finish up cooling
  6. Fill and frost the cupcakes. Fill the cooled cupcakes using a plastic squeeze bottle or a piping bag & tip. Top with frosting and drizzle with butterscotch sauce.
brown sugar cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting and butterscotch drizzle

More Butterscotch Recipes

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brown sugar cupcake topped with vanilla frosting and butterscotch drizzle

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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 or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

  • 1 and 2/3 cup (209g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk*
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 34 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Make the butterscotch sauce: 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 12-count cupcake pan with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Beat in a pinch of salt, taste, then beat in another pinch if desired.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. Yogurt: Sour cream OR nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek or regular yogurt is OK.
  2. Milk: Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk is OK.
  3. Heavy Cream: 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.
  4. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes, butterscotch cupcakes

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Wow! These are so pretty and whole they are a total sugar bomb, they’re worth it! They were easy to make and look so impressive when done. If you need a showstopper dessert, this is a fantastic choice. Plus, I had lots of butterscotch sauce leftover so I’m saving it for over cream. Yum!

    1. These are the best cupcakes ever!!! I love love love butterscotch flavor and this is thee best recipe I have found on the net for butterscotch flavor…. I used cream cheese frosting in a container and just added some of the butterscotch sauce and it was heavenly.

  2. These cupcakes are amazing! I subbed out the butterscotch sauce with your salted caramel recipe and also folded in some caramel with the frosting instead of doing the drizzle. I added a melted sugar round for decoration and they were a huge hit!! The only cupcakes I make now!

  3. Made these with a Homemade Maple Frosting and they were sooooo good! It was the perfect cupcake to go with the sweet frosting. Never used sour cream in cupcake recipe before and the cupcake was light and fluffy and didn’t disappoint! Thank You!

  4. I would love to experiment making a layer cake out of this! How would you suggest adjusting??

    1. Hi Monica! This cupcake recipe should make just enough batter for a three layer 6 inch cake. You can check out this blog post for details!

  5. I made these today and they were amazing! I just wish I had injected more of the sauce into the cupcakes. Definitely will next time.

  6. How can I adjust the recipe to make double the cake batter? Will doubling all ingredients work or should it be adjusted differently. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jamie! Double the ingredients should work fine, but for best results, we suggest making 2 batches instead of doubling to ensure the batter is properly combined but not over-mixed.

  7. I made these for a baby shower and they were a huge hit! I followed Sally’s instructions for putting the butterscotch into the middle but next time I might try putting it at three different points like another person suggested to get that extra butterscotch punch in the cupcake. Can’t wait to make this as a 6 inch cake next!

  8. Hi, would love to make this cake for my daughters birthday, how long should we bake it for 6 inch cake and how to convert this recipe to accommodate 3 layers of 8 inch cake. TIA.

      1. Thank you for the reply. How to calculate the baking time for the 8 inch cake.

  9. These cupcakes sounds delicious! I wanted to know if I can make them ahead of time and freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for a week – 10 days? Thank you

    1. Hi Vandana, Cupcakes can be covered tightly and frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before filling and frosting.

    1. Hi Kate, we don’t recommend omitting the vanilla extract completely, but you could try swapping some of the vanilla for maple extract. The ratio would depend on how prominent you’d like the maple flavor. Let us know what you try.

  10. hi, what is the best way to cool down the sauce? Can I stir it to make it cool down faster and put it in the fridge or should I leave it on the counter untouched? Also, any suggestions om how i can thicken it up some more?

    Thanks! This has been my go- to recipe foe many years+

    1. Hi Iqra, We suggest making the sauce first and then letting it cool at room temperature while you prepare and bake the cupcakes, it’s fine to stir it while it’s cooling if you wish. If it’s too thin you may need to let it bubble on the stove without stirring for an extra minute.

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