These cupcakes are not for the faint of heart.  If you like butterscotch, you’ll like these a lot, but if you’re one of those that often finds desserts to be “too rich”, run away and don’t look back.  This is a true butterscotch lover’s dream – butterscotch flavored cake, frosting and drizzle.  I am definitely a major lover of butterscotch, and I have quite a few friends who feel the same way.  Add butterscotch to a baked good and I’m bound to try it eventually.  One of my coworkers also falls into the butterscotch lover group, and triple butterscotch cupcakes were her choice a couple of weeks ago.  Excellent choice, if I do say so myself.  I had been dying for someone to choose these.

The original recipe is for a triple layer cake.  I have now adapted it just slightly to yield cupcakes and an appropriate amount of frosting.  The frosting is definitely the richest part about these cupcakes so go easy when applying it.  I tried to use a lighter hand than normal and I still thought it was a little overwhelming.  It may be a bit too runny for piping just after mixing, so try chilling it in the refrigerator for a little while before proceeding – I think I chilled mine for about 30-45 minutes.  Now I have a squeeze bottle with lots of left over butterscotch sauce in the fridge.  Oh, the possibilities…

  • Yield about 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
15 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups plus 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar, lightly packed*
1½ tbsp. canola oil
3 large eggs
1½ tbsp. dark rum
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sour cream

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. dark rum
1-1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the butterscotch sauce:
6 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 tbsp. butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
Pinch coarse salt
¼ cup heavy cream


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the oil until well combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the rum and vanilla.

  • 02

    In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk to blend.  With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat just until incorporated.  Blend in the sour cream.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, again mixing just until incorporated.

  • 03

    Divide the batter between the prepared liners.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it turns deep golden brown and fragrant, about 6-9 minutes.  Add the brown sugar, cream and salt, whisking thoroughly until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch, about 8-10 minutes.  Blend in the rum.  With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time until each addition has been incorporated.  Continue beating until smooth and creamy.  Blend in the sifted confectioners’ sugar.  If the frosting is not firm enough for piping, cover and chill for 30-60 minutes until the consistency is correct for frosting.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired.

  • 05

    To make the butterscotch sauce, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in the heavy cream (be careful, as the mixture may bubble up!)  Return the saucepan to the heat and cook for 2 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and let cool until room temperature.  Drizzle the cooled sauce over the frosted cupcakes.

  • 06

    *Note: I don’t routinely keep dark brown sugar on hand, and don’t like to buy it just for one recipe here and there.  You can get the same effect by using an equal amount of light brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon of molasses per cup.  Works for me!