These fluffy Butterscotch Cupcakes are bursting with rich butterscotch flavor! With its triple butterscotch flavor punch, this easy cupcake recipe puts a unique twist on classic fall flavors for an effortless sweet treat.
The tender vanilla cupcake, creamy butterscotch pudding filling, and decadent butterscotch buttercream is the perfect combination to make the best sweet treat for cozy fall days.
I love butterscotch! And honestly, I think it is a super underrated fall flavor. Butterscotch is close cousins to caramel and toffee except it is made with brown sugar, more butter, and less cream. It has very distinct caramelized flavors with hints of molasses.
At first when I was making these cupcakes I wanted to work with butterscotch sauce, BUT there were already a lot of recipes like that out there. So I thought, how can I make these different and unique?! That’s when I swapped the butterscotch sauce for a creamy butterscotch pudding and melted butterscotch chips in the buttercream.
These cupcakes are unexpected, sweet yet complex, and a total flavor bomb! The combination of fluffy cake and rich butterscotch makes these cupcakes an irresistible new favorite for fall.
These Butterscotch Cupcakes are Unique
- THEY ARE FILLED WITH A SECRET SURPRISE- These vanilla cupcakes are filled with butterscotch pudding. It adds a rich and creamy pop of butterscotch flavor!
- THE BUTTERCREAM IS FLAVORED USING MELTED BUTTERSCOTCH CHIPS- These give not only stability to the buttercream, but amazing flavor. If you haven’t added melted chocolate to buttercream you have to try it today!
- PERFECT FOR FALL GATHERINGS AND HOLIDAYS- Easily double or triple this recipe to make for Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinner, football watch parties, and any other fall festivities. I guarantee your friends and family will love the unexpected butterscotch flavor.
Let’s Decorate Them in This 30 Second Video Tutorial:
Ingredients for Butterscotch Cupcakes
This cupcake recipe has 3 main elements: fluffy and moist vanilla cupcakes, butterscotch pudding filling, and a creamy butterscotch buttercream, plus the decorations too.
Below are all the ingredients needed and a few suggestions for substituting if you need them.
- All-Purpose Flour: Feel free to use Gluten Free 1:1 flour as well. There is little to no difference in the taste, texture, and baking time.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to our cupcakes.
- Baking Powder: An essential leavening agent for adding texture and body to the cupcakes.
- Salt: To help boost flavors and balance out the sweet.
- Buttermilk: Brought to room temperature. If all you have is milk, take 1/2 cup of milk, remove 1/2 tablespoon and replace it with 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit and sour for at least 10 minutes prior to using.
- Vegetable Oil: Feel free to use canola oil or another light, flavorless oil.
- Egg: Be sure it is brought to room temperature before mixing up the cupcake batter.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds extra flavor to our cupcakes and buttercream.
- Luke Warm Water: It should be about 100 degrees Fahrenheit to bring the cupcake batter together.
- Butterscotch Pudding Mix: To cut down on time I used store-bought instead of making my own. If you have pudding cups you can use those, and even sugar-free is a great option to reduce the amount of sugar in your cupcakes.
- Milk: I recommend whole milk for making the pudding, but 2% and even skim will work.
- Unsalted Butter: Make sure it is softened to room temperature or your buttercream will not whip together.
- Cream Cheese: Again, it should be softened to room temperature. I always recommend full fat not reduced fat in buttercream recipes.
- Vanilla Extract: See note above.
- Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar): This adds sweetness.
- Butterscotch Chips: They will be melted and whipped into the buttercream for a distinct butterscotch flavor.
- Festive Fall Sprinkles and Butterscotch Candies: We use these to decorate our butterscotch filled cupcakes.
Here are a few basic tools you will need to make these butterscotch filled cupcakes with ease!
- Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: Fitted with a paddle attachment. This will make your life so much easier than hand mixing.
- Cupcake Baking Pan: Make sure you use a light silver pan. Dark and even gold/ bronze colored pans will brown and even burn the cupcakes because of they absorb more heat than reflecting it.
- Baking Cups: Use any color or pattern you prefer.
- Cupcake Corer: I use a piping tip because I have those (you can see how I do it in my video above). Feel free to use a traditional cupcake corer or a sharp knife to carve out the center.
- Piping Bags: I always use disposable but you can use reusable piping bags.
- Piping Tips: I recommend using extra large piping tips for cupcakes because they are easier to decorate with and look just like the bakery cupcakes.
How to Make Butterscotch Cupcakes
Below is a short summary of how easy these cupcakes are, the recipe card will have complete details.
1. BAKE THE VANILLA CUPCAKES- Whisk together your dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, and fold the luke warm water into the batter. Divide it up into 12 cupcakes and bake. Always cool them completely before filling and frosting.
2. MAKE THE BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING- It should be made according to the directions on the package except with less liquid (so the filling is stable enough). Once cooled, place the butterscotch pudding into a piping bag that has a filling tip inserted or a small amount of the bag tip cut off.
3. WHIP TOGETHER THE BUTTERSCOTCH BUTTERCREAM- Melt the butterscotch chips in the microwave and set aside. Beat together the unsalted butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar and drizzle in the cooled melted butterscotch chips until completely incorporated.
4. FILL AND DECORATE THE BUTTERSCOTCH CUPCAKES- Remove the centers of the cupcakes and fill with butterscotch pudding. Top with butterscotch buttercream and decorate with festive fall sprinkles and a butterscotch candy.
Make Ahead and Storing Information
These Butterscotch Filled Cupcakes are great for making up to 3 days ahead of time. You can do one of two things: fully decorate the cupcakes OR prepare the ingredients and decorate later. This makes them a great option for the fall holidays and festivities.
Any leftover cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container or cupcake carrier. At room temperature they will last up to 3 days, and in the refrigerator up to 7 days. These cupcakes also freeze very well and will last up to 3 months. Be sure to freeze the cupcakes first, before wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in an airtight container or reusable gallon bag.
4 Tips for The BEST Butterscotch Cupcakes
1. ALWAYS USE ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS- Unless specified, the cold ingredients should always be brought to room temperature. They will incorporate into the batter better which means the cupcake will bake more evenly. It will also result in a super smooth, lump free buttercream.
2. DO NOT OVER BAKE THE CUPCAKES- A toothpick test should come out clean or the tops should no longer glisten and bounce back to the touch. If this is not the case, allow them to bake for two more minutes and check them again. Baking them longer than needed will make for a super dry cupcake.
3. SOFTEN THE BUTTER AND CREAM CHEESE- For a super smooth and creamy butterscotch buttercream the butter and cream cheese has to be softened to room temperature. I do not recommend using methods to “speed up” the softening time because it often leads to an oily buttercream.
4. DECORATE THE CUPCAKES YOUR WAY- I shared how I use reusable piping bags with extra large tips to decorate my cupcakes. If this does not work for you, use a gallon bag (just like you would a piping bag) with the tip cut off. You can also go rustic and use butter and cheese knives to make your design.
A Few Fun Variations
- Add a drizzle of melted butterscotch chips over the cupcakes for even more butterscotch flavor.
- Fill the cupcakes with butterscotch sauce instead of butterscotch pudding.
- Substitute the melted butterscotch chips in the buttercream for butterscotch sauce or even butterscotch emulsion or extract.
More Cupcake Recipes To Try:
- Nutella Cupcakes
- Raspberry Cupcakes
- Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes
- Guava Filled Coconut Cupcakes
- Strawberry Filled Cupcakes
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- stand mixer or hand mixer - with paddle attachment
- 12 cavity cupcake baking pan - lined with baking cups or parchment liners
- 2 piping bags
- 2 piping tips - small filling tip and an extra large piping tip
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk - room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg - room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup luke warm water - about 100 °F
Butterscotch Pudding Filling
- 3.5 ounces butterscotch pudding - regular or sugar free
- 1 cup milk; - cold
- ½ cup unsalted butter - room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese - room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup butterscotch chips; - melted and no longer warm
- Set your oven to 350 °F and line a 12 cavity cupcake baking pan with baking cups or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and the egg.
- Whisk everything together until combined. Do not overmix.
- Slowly pour the warm water into the batter, stirring constantly. The batter should be loose with no lumps before moving on.
- Divide batter equally into the 12 cavities, filling them 2/3 of the way full.
- Place in oven on middle rack and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The cupcakes should no longer appear glossy on the top and spring back to the touch. A toothpick test should come out clean.
- Let the vanilla cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before removing from cupcake baking pan. Cool to room temperature.
Butterscotch Pudding Filling
- Prepare the butterscotch pudding as specified on the package (note the amount of milk is half of what is listed on the box).
- Once cooled, place the butterscotch pudding into a piping bag that has a filling tip inserted or a small amount of the bag tip cut off. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Not So Sweet Butterscotch Buttercream
- In the microwave, melt the butterscotch chips in three 20 second increments (stirring in between each) until the chips are completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- On medium-high speed beat the room temperature unsalted butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract for 3 to 5 minutes. It should be light in color and smooth.
- Add half the powdered sugar, beat on low speed until it is fully absorbed within the frosting, about 1 minute. Do this again with the remaining powdered sugar.
- Slowly drizzle in the cooled but melted butterscotch chips. Beat on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Place the butterscotch buttercream into a piping bag that has an extra large piping tip inserted or the bag tip cut off. Set aside in a cool place until ready to use.
Filling and Decorating the Cupcakes
- Using a large piping tip, cupcake corer, or a sharp knife, remove the core of the vanilla cupcakes.
- Fill the cupcakes with about one tablespoon of butterscotch pudding filling.
- Frost the cupcake with the butterscotch buttercream. and decorate with festive fall sprinkles and butterscotch candies, or as desired.
- Room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
- Refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 7 days.
- Frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and in an airtight container or reusable bag, for up to 3 months.
Make Ahead Information:
- These Butterscotch Filled Cupcakes are great for making up to 3 days ahead of time. You can do one of two things: fully decorate the cupcakes OR prepare the ingredients and decorate later.
- Take 1/2 cup of milk, remove 1/2 tablespoon and replace it with 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit and sour for at least 10 minutes prior to using.
Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.