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

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • 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 (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


  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.


  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


  1. 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?

  2. 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?


      1. 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?


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

  3. 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!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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

  9. 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.

      1. 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.

  10. 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. 



  11. 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?

  12. 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? 

  13. 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 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    1. 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.

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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?

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. Hi Sally

    I have made this recipe many times and love it! My only issue is that my butterscotch sauce doesn’t get thick enough to make a solid piece in the cupcake..the cupcake absorbs the sauce. What am I doing wrong?

  22. I’ve made these cupcakes a few times and they are always a hit. I feel like the first time, the butterscotch sauce was a bit on the thicker side, which made it easier to fill the cupcakes with but now, I’m not sure what I’m doing differently, but the consistency seems much thinner. Any suggestions for thickening it up again? Maybe make a slurry with some cornstarch?

  23. These were incredible! Although they gave me some trouble (which was 100% my fault) I stuck with it and they turned out so beautifully. Everyone said they look so professional – and then I should open a catering company. Lol! Featured in my recipe roundup this month!

  24. Sally,
    These cupcakes turned out amazing! I love every recipe that I have ever made from YOUR recipes….every cake….every pie….every cupcake…. I don’t generally write comments (busy life ) but I had a few minutes to let you know you’re loved. ❤ Please continue what you’re doing and I’ll be there to attempt the great recipes that you share.

    1. Kim, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a kind comment! I’m thrilled that you have been enjoying my recipes so much!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally