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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com. 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.

Anyway.

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. 

Print

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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 (210g) 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 (60 grams) yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk*
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) 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 (60 ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  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 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.
  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.

Notes

  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

205 Comments

  1. Yum, these look super, Sally! I’ve never really had butterscotch before (I just usually stick to chocolate) but it looks a lot like caramel sauce in this recipe.
    One question: how do you poke holes in the cupcakes to fill them with the sauce?
    Can’t wait to try these!

    1. Hi Ikhlas! I actually instructed how to do so twice in this post. Just poke the hole with an empty squeeze bottle or skinny piping tip and squeeze and fill.

  2. Sally, WHY do u present and tempt me with so many choices? My bday is coming up. I thought it was the perfect occasion to try your salted caramel cupcakes (I’ve been dying to try them). But now u posted this! 😛 (is one better than the other?)

  3. I just….I feel like this cupcake would melt in my mouth. I just….I so do. Oh man. so buttery and brown sugary and delicious!

  4. Hey Sally! These look soooooo good. I told myself that I won’t eat sweets until the big turkey day, but I’m not sure how long I can wait to make these! Also, your last “how to’s” on food blogging really pushed me to make my own. So this week I made one! It’s just a little rookie blog, but hopefully it will grow into something bigger and better! So far only my classmates have read it 😛 thanks for all your helpful tips and tricks! And this recipe!

    1. Thanks for your attention to that detail, Sarah! It didn’t take too long, but I had to practice on one or two cupcakes before finding a pattern I liked on top. 🙂

  5. I love butterscotch! Seriously, who on earth could not?!? It is so good and these cupcake look like butterscotch even!! Perfect Sally! 🙂

  6. I don’t even know where to begin, Sally! I lovvvvve butterscotch! Such an under-utilized flavor, too. I love that you made your own b/c let’s face it, homemade is nothing like the stuff you buy in the store. And it’s not that hard and anything that starts out with butter, cream, and brown sugar – I’m going to love. And topped with frosting that’s made with butter, cream, and more sugar. And the cupcakes sweetened with brown vs. granulated – nice touch and I get so moist. There’s just layers of flavor, moistness, softness, butteriness that I have to have these! And the squirt bottle-injection set up. I want to inject that right into my mouth 🙂 Pinned

    1. Thanks Averie! These entire cupcakes are made from cream, butter, and sugar. And they’re nothing short of amazing. My favorite cupcake recipe I’ve ever made. So happy with them. Thanks for pinning!

  7. Butterscotch on whole wheat pancakes sounds absolutely delicious!! These cupcakes look irresistible!

  8. These cupcakes look more than amazing. I love anything and everything butterscotch, but the butterscotch drizzle on these looks so smooth and rich. And, the butterscotch filling? You’re killing me here! I would die for one right now.

  9. I feel like you are writing recipes just for me, Sally, what with the orange/cranberry bread and now this! Butterscotch is absolutely my favorite non-fruit flavor. I don’t understand when people say butterscotch is “too sweet”. Um…it’s a dessert. I don’t even know what that means! 😉 I always prefer cupcakes to be filled, and have a tower of frosting, and a gorgeous drizzle of butterscotch sauce is an extra bonus! 😀 As always, I admire the color and creativity of your photographs, when they could just be in the white/tan spectrum. Great work!

    1. “people say butterscotch is “too sweet”. Um…it’s a dessert” – I don’t understand that either! Sauces like caramel and butterscotch are supposed to be sweet and indulgent. They aren’t fat free salad dressing! That always makes me giggle.

      Thanks for all your kind words about my photography, as always! These cupcakes were very hard to shoot. So much BROWN!

  10. Wow. Just wow. These look incredible! I made something similar recently with salted caramel sauce – can’t wait to try this version!

  11. Amy you’re so sweet. It’s actually a huge cutting board I bought from Target. Those “dots” aren’t really sparkly in real life, they look more like scraps of paper inside a pearlescent cutting board. I like that they look like glitter though 🙂

  12. These look amazing!!! What do you think of adding the butterscotch sauce directly to the vanilla frosting (beating it in?) Do you think you would lose the butterscotch flavor? Hmmm… might try it that way. And also drizzle with more of the butterscotch sauce!

    1. You could definitely try that. No, you wouldn’t lose the butterscotch flavor at all. I would use about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of it. The frosting will be slightly thinner.

  13. I love butterscotch so much, and I’m so glad you made these cupcakes because I feel like people forget about butterscotch sometimes! I actually made some butterscotch brownies just yesterday, but now I wish I had these cupcakes instead. 🙂 Love all that butterscotch sauce! Might have to make some for my pancakes tomorrow morning!

    1. Beth, yes! Butterscotch is the most underrated flavor. People favor caramel over it but to be honest, I’m a butterscotch gal. Enjoy your pancakes tomorrow morning!

  14. I know what I am doing Sunday! I can’t wait to impress my co-workers with this fabulous recipe! I hope we get more updates on your wedding plans. It’s all about the details (and the stunning dress of course).

    1. Thanks Sharon! I’ll continue to post updates about our wedding on my blog and social medias! Thanks for following. And let me know how you (and your lucky co-workers) like these cupcakes!

      1. It was beyond words amazing! My family (especially my fiancé, who ate like 3 already) loved the homemade butterscotch! I kept eating the icing and the butterscotch that I got a stomach ache! That is beyond torture when I wanted to eat one. I think my co-workers liked it because its almost gone! Thank you!

      2. Sharon, it is SO hard to stop eating the butterscotch sauce and frosting. I know exactly what you mean! Happy everyone loves these!

  15. Sally, that picture of the half a cupcake where you can see that little pocket of butterscotch sauce…I can’t even handle it. Too perfect. I am a HUGE butterscotch lover, and I can’t wait to see the butterscotch + chocolate recipe in your cookbook!

    1. Haha! I had a feeling you’d like these cupcakes Ari. You’ve told me before how much you love butterscotch. And I’m not surprised, we love all the same stuff. xo

  16. Hello Sally you’re a big inspiration to me. These look good too. May I know the size of the cupcake papers you use? Because when I use my big cupcake papers for your recipes, , they look quite small in it.

  17. I love your website! It makes me want to start my own blog or start a career in baking! I love your recipes! My sister and I like to bake them together when she comes home from boarding school! While we bake, we blast music and catch up, it is sooo fun! I love the XXL cookies, I just made some for a school bake sale. They were a big hit! I can’t wait to make this butterscotch sauce, my dad will loove it on his ice cream!!! Thank you for spending so much time making this blog great, I check for new posts everyday :).

    1. Nea, baking with siblings, friends, anyone – and catching up while playing music is my idea of a good time. Truly it is. Sometimes I have my friend Erin over and we make homemade pizza listening to new music and just relax. I love the XXL cookies too. They are perfect for sharing. (Or not!) Let me know if you try this homemade butterscotch sauce. I have a bit leftover and can’t wait to pour it onto some frozen yogurt later. Thanks for the kind comment!

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