The rich, buttery, sweet flavor of butterscotch shines in this homemade Butterscotch Cake recipe, complete with butterscotch frosting and butterscotch ganache!
I know that I typed “butterscotch” a lot in that first paragraph, but this layer cake truly is ALL butterscotch. That classic deep, sweet, buttery flavor is in every layer and every element of this dessert.
If you are a butterscotch fan, then this Butterscotch cake is going to be your new favorite thing. It’s also a great option to make for a special birthday or a holiday party.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy Step-by-step Instructions– Don’t be intimidated by this layer cake recipe! It’s easy if you follow each step, and the resulting cake will be totally worth the time.
- Sweet Butterscotch Flavor – There’s butterscotch in every part of this cake. Butterscotch pudding flavors the cake while also making it moist and tender. The frosting and ganache drip feature melted butterscotch chips.
- Easy to Decorate – I added a little bit of a piped icing border on my butterscotch cake, but you can skip that if you like! A ganache drip is easier than it looks, and I’ll show you exactly how to make it.
Here’s what you need to make this Butterscotch Cake Recipe:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- All-Purpose Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt – These are the dry ingredients for our scratch butterscotch cake recipe.
- Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar – Because we want this cake to have a rich flavor, both brown and white sugars are included in the batter.
- Unsalted Butter: Soften the butter before mixing up your batter.
- Eggs and Milk: You need a few eggs to make a cake! I suggest letting your eggs come to room temperature before adding them to any baked goods recipe. Milk adds needed moisture.
- Butterscotch Pudding Mix: This gives the cake its amazing flavor! Be sure to buy instant pudding and not cook and serve.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla makes all baked goods taste better.
- Butterscotch Frosting: A classic American Buttercream but with the addition of melted butterscotch baking chips.
- Butterscotch Ganache: To make the sweet and pretty drips, more butterscotch chips are melted with heavy cream to make a thick sauce.
How To Make Butterscotch Cake
Get ready by preheating the oven to 350°F/180°C, and lightly greasing and lightly flouring three 8-inch round cake pans. You can also use parchment paper rounds if you prefer.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- Cream: In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and instant pudding mix until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes on medium-high speed).
- Mix Batter: Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. And Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour in half the flour mixture and mix well, followed by half the milk, then repeat until all flour and milk have been added.
- Bake: Divide the batter equally between the three prepared pans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack
Make the Frosting and Ganache
- Melt Butterscotch Chips: These chips don’t melt quite as easily as chocolate chips do, so keep an eye on them during the process. Add 1 ½ cups of chips to a microwaveable bowl. Use the microwave, heating at 15-second intervals, stirring after each, until the chips are smooth. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.
- Whip: Whip the butter for 2 minutes, then add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the melted butterscotch chips (they should be cooled down mostly at this point) and mix again.
- Combine: To finish the frosting, add the heavy cream and vanilla, and whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Make Ganache: Heat milk in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Remove from the heat and add ½ cup of butterscotch chips. Let stand for two minutes, then stir until the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache cool for at least 20 minutes.
Assemble the Layer Cake
- Layer the Cakes: Level the cakes using a serrated knife. Then place the bottom layer on a cake plate and spread a layer of frosting on top. Add the next layer followed by another layer of frosting and finally the top layer of cake.
- Crumb Coat: Frost the outside of the cake with a light layer of frosting, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Frost and Drip: Frost the outside of the cake with a thicker layer of smooth frosting, then return to the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. When the cake is cold and the ganache is cooled down, drip the ganache on the sides of the cake with a spoon, then add the remaining ganache to the top of the cake and smooth it into an even layer.
- Finish: If you have enough frosting left, add it to the top of the cake using a piping bag fitted with an open star tip.
This cake looks amazing with or without the extra frosting on top. You can decide how to decorate it!
- Avoid Overmixing: an overmixed cake batter will turn into a tough cake after baking. Mix ingredients just until combined.
- Measure Correctly: I have some tricks for making sure you’re measuring your ingredients correctly! When baking, it’s important to accurately measure everything to get the best results in the end.
- An Offset Spatula will help you to smooth out the frosting easily.
- Don’t make the butterscotch frosting ahead of time. While you can usually whip up refrigerated buttercream to get it smooth again, this frosting will have hard spots from the melted butterscotch chips if you try to do that. Instead, make the frosting after the cakes have cooled, and just before you’re ready to assemble the cake.
- It’s important to let the ganache cool down to room temperature before trying to create the drip.
- It’s also very important to let the cakes cool before icing them. Buttercream on warm cakes is a disaster, trust me!
Store your cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
Before enjoying a slice of butterscotch cake, let it sit out at room temperature for a bit so that the frosting softens.
You can freeze the cake layers, but not the frosting for this recipe. Wrap each layer with plastic wrap and place it into an airtight container before freezing for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw fully before stacking.
I don’t recommend this. Make the frosting and ganache after the cakes are cool, and just before decorating. Because we added melted butterscotch chips to the frosting, they will harden when refrigerated. It will be impossible to blend the buttercream back into a smooth, fluffy frosting after that. The texture of the ganache will change after refrigeration too, and it will be difficult to create a drizzle.
The measurements and amounts for this recipe are perfect for a three layer 8-inch cake. To make a different size, you will want to scale the recipe using your favorite cake scaling calculator tool. I did not test other sizes.
Butterscotch has a deeper flavor than caramel. This is because it is made not only with caramelized sugar but also browned butter, molasses and salt.
If you love butterscotch, you are going to go nuts for this ultimate Butterscotch Cake! Make sure you pin the recipe so you don’t lose it!
For The Cake
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 3.4-ounce package instant butterscotch pudding mix
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk or 2%
For the Frosting
For Butterscotch Ganache
- ½ cup butterscotch chips
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Bake the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, grease and lightly flour 3 8-inch round cake pans and set aside
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and instant pudding mix until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes on medium high speed).
- Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour in half the flour mixture and mix well, followed by half the milk, then repeat until all flour and milk has been added
- Divide the batter equally between the three prepared pans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack
Make the Frosting:
- Once the cakes are cool, prepare the frosting by first melting the butterscotch chips (see note 1), then allowing the melted butterscotch to cool slightly
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter with an electric mixer for two minutes. Then add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the cooled melted butterscotch and mix well.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla. Whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Make the Ganache:
- In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until steaming – do not let it boil. Remove from the heat, and pour in the buttersctoch chips. Let sit for two minutes, then stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before using.
Assemble the Butterscotch Cake:
- Level the cakes using a serrated knife.
- Place the bottom layer on a cake plate and spread a layer of frosting on top, add the next cake layer followed by another layer of frosting and finally the top layer of cake
- Frost the outside of the cake with a light layer of frosting, (crumb coat) then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
- Frost the outside of the cake with a thicker layer of smooth frosting, then return to fridge to chill for at least another 30 minutes
- Use a spoon to drip the ganache down the sides of the cake, then add remaining ganache to the top of the cake and smooth it into an even layer
- Add additional frosting on top of the cake using a piping bag fitted with a open star tip if desired
- To Melt Butterscotch Chips: These chips don’t melt quite as easily as chocolate chips do, so keep an eye on them during the process. Use the microwave, heating at 15-second intervals, stirring after each, until the chips are smooth. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.
- One bag of chips is enough to make this recipe.
- How to Store Butterscotch Frosting: It’s best to make this frosting and use it right away. If you store it in the fridge, the butterscotch chips will harden, and it will be difficult to get it back to a smooth, fluffy texture for spreading.
- To Store The Cake: Keep this cake stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Let it sit out at room temperature before serving.
- Ganache Tips:
- If the ganache has lumps, you can heat it in the microwave for 5-second intervals, stirring until it’s smooth.
- Do not try to make a drip on the cake with a warm ganache. Let it cool down to room temperature first. Do a test drip to make sure it’s ready. When cooled, the butterscotch should be a very thick liquid.
- Don’t skip the ganache! The butterscotch flavor is most prominent in the topping.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen