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. On behalf of all butterscotch lovers… thank you for these 🙂 Having something else to bake with butterscotch sounds perfect to me! These cupcakes look delicious once again, Sally!

  2. Hi Sally

    These look delicious as always! I just wanted to say thanks for publishing gram measurements as well as cups, it makes it so much easier for us in the Southern Hemisphere! 🙂

    Michelle

    1. Michelle, you are very welcome. I have a huge audience that uses gram measurements. I also included grams in my upcoming cookbook too.

  3. Hmmm… if I do the butterscotch injection but don’t frost them, I can pretend they are “breakfast muffins”. Score.

  4. I may or may not have squealed out loud when I saw that these cupcakes had butterscotch in and on them! The husband was a little concerned until I explained. Now we’re both drooling. 🙂

  5. I love go-to recipes that you can dress up according to your sweet tooth. This recipe and your pics let me know that I haven’t had enough butterscotch in my life.

  6. I love fluffy clouds of frosting! These look delicious! Also I love stuffing the cupcakes INSIDE – causes me happiness!

  7. oh wow these look fantastic!! The piping tip is such a good idea! Never would have thought of it! Makes it so neat 🙂

  8. When I saw this recipe I knew I’d have to make it! I LOVE butterscotch! I made them this afternoon (what better way to spend a rainy day?), and they were every bit as good as you described-sinfully delicious! My 5 year old already declared that he wants one for dessert again tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

  9. I made the cupcakes the other night along with the butterscotch topping and they’re both great! My butterscotch was a little too runny at first, so I let it cool thinking it would thicken up, but it didn’t. So, I put it back on the stove and let it bubble for another 3-4 minutes, and it came together beautifully! 🙂 I actually RAN OUT of brown sugar while filling the measuring cup, and thankfully, was able to use some dark brown sugar to finish the job! Then, as I was about to make the frosting, I realized I used nearly all of my powdered sugar making the glaze for your cranberry-orange bread! D’oh! I have honestly gone through SO many ingredients recently, and Miss Sally, you’re to blame! (I mean that in the best way, of course!) 🙂 Everything you put on here is WONDERFUL! And I couldn’t be happier to make a trip to the grocery store today to re-stock my baking cupboard! 🙂 Can’t wait to see what’s next!
    Oh, and eating the cupcakes plain is honestly SOO good! I know, it’s crazy, right?! But they have such a wonderful flavor, and I don’t think too many people can say that about a plain cupcake!! 🙂

    1. Hey Sara! Yep, the butterscotch will thicken as it cools. Do you think you let it boil for long enough on the stove in the first place? Regardless, I’m so happy you tried these. I know what you mean about running out of ingredients at the last minute. That happens to me all the time. I make emergency grocery store runs practically everyday. It’s frustrating! But the end result is usually worth it. 🙂

      I’m happy you love these cupcakes – plain AND with the butterscotch!

  10. Sally,
    You are an inspiration. I made these cupcakes last night, and brought them into the office this morning. Everybody loves them! I can’t wait to try the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes.
    Best regards,
    Allen

    1. I am SO happy these have been a hit, Allen. Thanks for making them! And those cheesecakes would also be loved by all, no doubt about it!

  11. Butterscotch is my weakness and I recently learned how to make a homemade sauce…worst (best!) idea ever! These cupcakes look so dreamy Sally and that frosting!!! I am in love 🙂

  12. I have a bottle of butterscotch that I made ages ago…think I have found a way ti finish it off 🙂
    It looks scrumptious n m drooling. thanks for sharing

    1. I can’t wait! The cupcakes and frosting are delicious! I was so excited for an excuse to use my wilton 1M tip and make swirls! 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. Brown sugar cupcakes are the best! The homemade butterscotch looks fab too. Those artificial butterscotch chips in the store aren’t my favorite but I think I’d just need a spoon for this 🙂

  14. I made these for work last week, and they were a huge hit. Honestly they are the most delicious thing I can remember ever baking.

  15. Thank you! Could I ask if I start timing when the mixture begins bubbling or right after whisking in the cream until combined? Also, is it fine if at 5 minutes the colour of my butterscotch wasn’t a similar colour like yours but somewhat paler? I thought it was a tad too runny so I boiled it longer >< does it thicken up as it cools?

  16. Just made these for a birthday. Absolutely delicious!! I will be making these again. Your recipes always make the perfect amount, never any leftover mixture. This makes me want to quit my job to bake and blog. Amazing!

  17. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been wondering: Why use unsalted butter and then add salt…. instead of just using salted butter? Where I live (Greenland) unsalted butter isn’t easy to come by!
    Loooooove all your goodies

    1. Salted butter doesn’t have a strong salt taste in my own opinion when added to this cupcake batter. I often use it in addition to the salt. So yes, you can use salted butter and still use the added salt as well. The cupcakes honestly taste the same either way. Thanks Anne!

  18. Hi Sally,
    I’ve been reading your blog daily for almost a year now! It’s the first time I leave a comment (I’m excited).
    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CARAMEL SAUCE AND BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE????
    Don’t take me for an inexperienced baker (even though, of course, I am), I read a lot and bake as often as I can. The thing is most of the blogs I read are american, and I live in Ecuador. Sometimes I don’t know what flavor I’m looking for when making things that you only have over there. So the thing is I love caramel, I love love love caramel sauce, when I lived in france I ordered the mcdonald’s caramel sundae just to eat the caramel. How cheap do you think I am now? haha but seriously when you are not used to these kinds of flavors, you tend to enjoy them way more than people who consider them normal. Anyway I have tried many different caramel sauces (though I admit, never the one from your blog) and it always has a small aftertaste of burnt sugar which I don’t like, the flavor I’m looking for is a creamy caramel sauce, as light as the one from the infamous mcdonald’s sundae. I mentioned the one in France because here in Ecuador they decided to go authentic and use dulce de leche instead of caramel… So…. yeah… I never went back…
    Another example I have is Friday’s( ‘s’s ???? ) caramel sauce, which I’m guessing is a pretty standard sauce for you, but as cheap as it makes me sound, that is what I’m looking to reproduce in my kitchen and it just doesn’t work.
    Is this the longest comment you’ve ever gotten or what? I’m trying to avoid you thinking I know nothing of this. My question is legitimate.
    I see this butterscotch business everywhere and the ingredients are similar, is this what I’m looking for???? I see the color is a lot lighter (or maybe I’m exaggerating) that’s what made me think it wasn’t the same….
    Anyway…. I think I covered pretty much everything I wanted to say… I hope you get back to me!!!
    Thank you !
    Your ecuadorian reader

    1. Hi Maria! Thankfully, the answer is quite simple. The difference between butterscotch and caramel is that butterscotch is made from brown sugar. Both start with sugar, cream, and butter – but caramel starts with white sugar and butterscotch starts with brown sugar. Butterscotch requires salt (it tastes lost without it) and caramel can be made with or without salt. Butterscotch is typically thinner and benefits from the addition of vanilla. I think you are looking for butterscotch, not caramel. That’s what the mcdonalds sauce definitely tastes like!

  19. Hey Sally! These Butterscotch Cupcakes look amazing! I have been searching for the perfect butterscotch recipe, and this is it! Whenever I fill my cupcakes, I use an apple corer to remove the center, and fill the cupcakes with a piping bag (as I have never liked condiment bottles), and clean up is a breeze! Plus, I get to eat the cores!! I will definitely be making these sometime soon!

  20. These are show-stoppers. I’m up to my ears in red velvet and I’ve been browsing around for a fun cupcake for a potluck that’s coming up. These are the winners, thank you!

  21. hey 😀
    The cupcakes look delicious! I’m getting really hungry just looking at the pictures…..
    I’d like to try them this weekend and i was wondering if i could also make them as mini cupcakes? Because i really want to be able to eat more than one without feeling guilty XD How long would i have to bake them? And can i fill and frost them the day before?
    Thanks 😀

    1. You sure could bake these as mini cupcakes. I would say about 10 minutes. Should make about 24 cupcakes, more or less. You may frost and fill the day before, yes. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature overnight. Enjoy!

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