This is the ultimate Butterscotch Cake! Incredibly fluffy butterscotch cake layers are filled with a salted butterscotch sauce and crushed pretzels for a subtle crunch, then covered in a creamy butterscotch frosting. This cake tastes like a frothy mug of butterbeer in cake form and it is truly the best cake you will ever have!
If this cake is sounding like butterscotch overload to you – I promise it’s not overwhelming! We’re using butterscotch pudding mix in the cake layers and frosting, along with a bit of cream soda to add depth of flavor and keep the cake ultra plush and moist.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Butterscotch Cake Layers – These cake layers are ultra fluffy and full of butterscotch and cream flavor.
- Salted Butterscotch Sauce – Homemade butterscotch sauce comes together on the stovetop in just a few minutes and is so luscious!
- Butterscotch Frosting – This frosting is ultra creamy, and flavored with butterscotch and cream soda.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Butterscotch Pudding Mix – This recipe uses dry butterscotch pudding mix which keeps the cake super moist and adds delicious – not fake – butterscotch flavor.
- Cream Soda – Use any brand of cream soda you like! Keep it at room temperature for this recipe.
- Sour Cream – Use full fat sour cream at room temperature.
- Cake Flour – Cake flour gives a lighter texture than all-purpose flour, so I definitely recommend keeping it on hand for cakes and cupcakes.
- Cream Cheese – Use the block style, and use full fat for best results. Cream cheese doesn’t need to come to room temperature for as long as butter when making frosting, because it’s softer in its natural state than butter, so keep that in mind when softening.
- Butter Extract – This adds extra flavor and helps make this cake taste like a butterscotch dream! You can find this near the vanilla and other extracts in the grocery store or online.
- Dairy-free – Swap your favorite dairy-free butter, sour cream, and cream cheese to make this recipe dairy-free.
How to Make this Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Cake Batter. In a large bowl, mix your wet ingredients with an electric mixer, then gently mix in your dry ingredients. You’ll have a smooth, slightly thick batter.
Step 2: Bake the Cake Layers. Divide the batter between three prepared pans and bake as directed in the recipe card below. (Tips for using a cake nail found below!) Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before inverting to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Step 3: Make the Butterscotch Sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in brown sugar and heavy cream. Let boil for 5 minutes without disturbing it, then stir in sea salt and vanilla extract for the most delicious butterscotch sauce!
Step 4: Make the Frosting. Cream together butter and cream cheese, then mix in cream soda, butterscotch pudding mix, vanilla extract, and salt. This frosting is ultra creamy and delish!
Steph 5: Assemble your cake. Stack your cake layers with a filling of butterscotch cream frosting, butterscotch sauce, and crushed pretzels.
Full directions with tips on this process are in the recipe card below, and the piping tips and tools I used are linked below.
Now, the best part – we dig in! This cake is an explosion of flavor and texture – the fluffy cake layers, silky butterscotch sauce, and subtle crunch from the pretzels bring this cake to life in the most delicious way. The addition of cream soda makes this taste even better than just plain butterscotch – imagine a frothy mug of butterbeer in cake form!
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Chill the frosted cake for 30 minutes before serving to help everything set up nicely. Keep the leftover cake in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I recommend putting plastic wrap over the cut part of the cake as well, to help keep it from drying out.
Expert Success Tips:
- Don’t Over Mix – Follow the cues in the recipe card below when mixing your cake batter – they’re there for a reason and will make sure your cake comes out nice and fluffy!
- Butterscotch Sauce – Butterscotch sauce is best used on the day you make it, so I don’t recommend making it ahead.
- Even Cake Layers – Place a cake nail with the head side down in your prepared cake pan before adding the batter to help your layers bake evenly and flat on top. This helps conduct heat from the center out, rather than just having heat coming from the outside in and bakes things more evenly!
- Can I make this recipe ahead? Yes, the cake layers can be baked, cooled, and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frosted the next day. The frosting can be made a day ahead, refrigerated in an airtight container. Let it come back to room temperature for a bit before using, and re-mix it to get it creamy again. Make the butterscotch sauce the day you plan to fill the cake.
- Can I freeze the cake? Leftover cake slices can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen in freezer safe airtight containers or bags for 1-2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before enjoying.
- Caramel Sauce – Feel free to try caramel sauce in place of the butterscotch sauce if you prefer.
- Nuts – Try adding chopped pecans to the filling for some crunch along with or in place of the pretzels.
- Offset Spatula – Offset spatulas make frosting a cake so easy! They can also be used for spreading cake and brownie batters evenly.
- Cake Turntable – If you make even a few cakes a year, a cake turntable makes the frosting process a breeze!
- Piping Bag & Piping Tip – I like to use a reusable piping bag and a Wilton 1A or 2A piping tip for piping the borders between layers, but you can use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off in a pinch. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip for the swirls on top.
More Layered Cake Recipes to Love:
- White Forest Cake
- Gingerbread Cake
- Perfect White Birthday Cake
- Caramelized Winter Wonderland Cake
- Peach Cobbler Cake
- German Chocolate Cake
- Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Cake
- Best Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Be sure to follow bluebowlrecipes on instagram and tag #bluebowlrecipes with your photo! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the bluebowlrecipes Facebook page. I’d love to see what you make!
Salted Butterscotch Cake
For the Cake Layers
- 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature 2 sticks, 16 tbsp, or 226 grams
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed 426 grams
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp butter extract
- 1 cup full fat sour cream, at room temperature 240 grams
- 1 and 1/2 cups cream soda, at room temperature Use a fresh bottle, not one that's been opened
- 3 and 1/2 cups cake flour, spooned & leveled 392 grams
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- two 3.4 ounce packages dry instant butterscotch pudding mix Don't use cook and serve
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Butterscotch Sauce
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup salted butter 8 tbsp, 1 stick, or 113 grams
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- flaky sea salt
For the Butterscotch Cream Frosting
- 2 and 1/4 cups salted butter, at room temperature
- 7 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 and 1/3 cups powdered sugar
- two 3.4 ounce packages dry instant butterscotch pudding mix
- 1/4 cup cream soda, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup crushed pretzels, for between the cake layers
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease & flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
- Make the Cake Batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dry pudding mix. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter with a hand mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites in two additions, mixing on medium low speed between each until just combined. Add the vanilla, butter extract, sour cream, and cream soda and mix until just combined. Slowly pour in the flour mixture with your mixer running on low speed, mixing just until there are a few streaks of flour left. Then, add the tbsp of vegetable oil, and mix just until it disappears into the batter. Use a spatula to fold in any remaining specks of flour to avoid over mixing.
- Bake the Cake Layers: Divide the batter between your prepared pans, and bake for 23-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes will pull out moist crumbs, not wet batter. Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.Note: I prefer to bake two pans on the same rack at one time, then do the third one separately after that, for the most even bake.
- Make the Butterscotch Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and heavy cream. Then, let the mixture come to a boil and let it boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir it at all during this time. When the time is up, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of flaky sea salt (to taste). Transfer to a jar or bowl to cool completely before using. Note: I don't recommend making this ahead – make it the day you plan to assemble your cake, and let it cool while you make the frosting and begin the cake assembly.
- Make the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Ad the powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time, mixing between each addition. (Save the last 1/3 cup to taste.) Add the cream soda, vanilla, and salt, and mix until just combined. Mix in the dry butterscotch pudding mix, then add the last 1/3 cup powdered sugar to taste.
- Assemble the Cake: Place the first cake layer on a cake stand protected with wax paper strips, or a turntable (or even on the cake stand, on top of the turntable). (A turntable is the easiest!) Use a dab of frosting to secure the layer in place. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip with 1/2 cup of frosting. Frost the first layer with 1 cup of frosting, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Pipe a border of frosting around the cake layer and fill with 1 cup of butterscotch sauce. Add 1/2 cup crushed pretzels. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the excess frosting peeking out between the layers to begin your crumb coat around the first two layers. Chill for 5-10 minutes to set things so the layers don't slide around. Repeat with the second layer. Add the final layer upside down (for a flat top!) and give the cake a thin layer of frosting on top and on the sides.Use a cake scraper to smooth out and remove excess frosting. This is your crumb coat, so don't fret if it isn't perfect. Pop the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the frosting. Then, apply the remaining frosting, using the cake scraper to smooth the top and sides of the cake. Create a drip around the edge of the cake with the remaining butterscotch sauce – simply pour it slowly along the edge while turning the cake, and let it drip down. Pipe extra frosting in swirls on top of the cake and decorate with gold sprinkles. Chill the entire cake in the fridge for 30 minutes, or longer if your frosting got soft while working with it (with plastic wrap or a cake lid). Note: All tools mentioned here are named and linked in the "special tools" section of the post, just above the recipe card.
- Serve + Store: Serve the cake once it's had at least 30 minutes in the fridge to set up. Slice and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Press plastic wrap over the cut part of the cake to help preserve it, even if it's enclosed in a cake container.
Leave a Reply