This butterscotch cake with pretzel brownies is the perfect fall cake. It has fresh butterscotch sauce that is baked in both the fluffy cake and whipped butterscotch buttercream. What I love most about this cake is that it is filled crumbled fudgy pretzel brownies topped with extra butterscotch sauce. You haven't had a cake like this one!
The Best Butterscotch Cake
What make this cake the best butterscotch cake is that it is made with homemade butterscotch sauce. Most butterscotch cakes are made with butterscotch chips or butterscotch puddings. This cake however, is made with the good fresh butterscotch!
This butterscotch cake with pretzel brownies is fluffy, tastes like butterscotch, and is incredibly moist!
Tips On Making Butterscotch Sauce
Making this butterscotch sauce, is actually very easy! The difference between caramel and butterscotch is that butterscotch is made with brown sugar! Otherwise, it uses all the same ingredients. You also cook it longer than regular salted caramel.
- Melt butter- First, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter until it's almost all melted. There should be a little butter left, then add in the brown sugar
- Melt brown sugar until it is almost liquid- Use a wooden spoon and stir the brown sugar into the melted butter. First, it is going to be very thick, but then it will run off the spoon like it is liquid.
- Heavy cream should be room temperature- This part is important. If you add cold cream to hot sugar, the brown sugar will seize up. Pull the cream out 2 hours before baking. You can also warm the cream in the microwave for 30 seconds as well.
- Slowly add in heavy cream- Add just a little bit of heavy cream into the brown sugar. Use a whisk to whisk it in, then add a little bit more cream.
- Cook until 220F- Use a kitchen thermometer and cook the sauce until it reaches 220F. This part is important because otherwise the sauce will be too grainy. It will be very bubbly!
- Cool completely- Cool the butterscotch sauce completely before using it in the cake. Make this sauce a day ahead!
How To Make Butterscotch Cake
This is a very fluffy butterscotch cake. Here is how to make it:
- Sift the dry ingredients- Sift all the dry ingredients together. Use a sifter to make sure there are no lumps of flour. This cake uses all-purpose flour to give it a more sturdy base since it uses a lot of butterscotch sauce.
- Aerate the butter- Use a stand or hand mixer, and beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. This makes the butter very light and fluffy. It also adds air to the butter which helps give the cake a fluffier texture.
- Add in the butterscotch sauce- If the sauce is too thick, heat it in microwave for 10 seconds. Heat it until it is a pourable consistency.
- Slowly add in eggs- In a small bowl, combine the egg whites and whole egg together. Then, slowly add in the eggs. Make sure you scrape the bowl in between eggs.
- Add in dry ingredients and buttermilk- If you don't have buttermilk, you can add 1 cup regular milk and 1 TBSP of lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before you use it.
How To Keep Cake From Sticking In The Pans
First, use a high quality cake pans. Don't use non-stick pans because they don't bake right. I use three 8 inch cake pans.
Now, bake the cake for 19-22 minutes. The cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Next, let the cake sit in the cake pans for 10 minutes. This lets the cake start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Then, transfer to the cooling rack. The cakes should come right out!
Easy To Make Pretzel Brownies
I have never heard of brownies in a cake before. Chocolate pairs so well with butterscotch that I had to try it out! These brownies are fudgy so they crumble and have a soft texture that just works with this cake.
To make these brownies, first start by sifting all the dry ingredients together. For the cocoa powder, I used regular Hershey's cocoa powder. You can use whatever cocoa powder you would like.
Next, you will need a mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar together for 5 minutes. All of the air that gets whipped into the eggs is what creates the brownie crackled top.
Then, add in melted butter, oil, and vanilla. Pull the mixing bowl off of the mixer and add in the dry ingredients.
It is key here to not over mix the batter. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients. It takes a few minutes, but it comes together. Next, add in chocolate chips and chopped pretzels.
Pour the brownie batter into an 8X8 pan. Bake these brownies for 33 minutes. Do not over bake these brownies! They should be slightly under done in the middle. They will continue to cook in the hot pan as it cools.
Use some extra chopped pretzels and top the brownies as soon as they come out of the oven. This adds an extra salty crunch!
How To Make Whipped Butterscotch Buttercream
This buttercream is super fluffy and has a beautiful butterscotch flavor. Here are some tips to make this buttercream:
- Slightly cold butter- Don't use room temperature butter for this frosting. If it is room temperature then, it will be like soup and won't hold together this well. Put your butter on the counter 30 minutes before baking.
- Sifted powdered sugar- Use a sifter to sift all 9 cups of powdered sugar. If your buttercream ends up gritty, it's because your powdered sugar needs to be sifted!
- Butterscotch sauce- Normally my buttercream uses heavy cream to whip it up into a fluffy frosting. Since this butterscotch is made with heavy cream, you just need the sauce!
- Beat it!- This is the most important part of making this buttercream. Beat the buttercream for 4 straight minutes. Then, scrape the bowl and beat again for 1 minute.
- Cool- Cool the buttercream in the fridge for 15 minutes. The butter gets warm when it gets whipped for so long, it will need to go in the fridge so the butter can solidify again.
Once the buttercream is cool, beat it with a wooden spoon to remove all air bubbles.
Assembling The Butterscotch Cake With Pretzel Brownies
Now it is time to decorate this cake! There is a lot to this cake, so I'm gonna break it down for you.
- Defrost cake- Grab the cake from the freezer. The cake will need sit on the counter for 1 hour before decorating.
- Make frosting- While the cake is on the counter you should make your frosting. We want the frosting to be fresh! The whole process of making the frosting takes almost an hour.
- Use cardboard circles- I use a 10 inch and 8 inch cardboard circle. Tape the 8 inch to the 10 inch circle. The larger circle acts as an easy way to transfer the cake to and from the freezer. Then, place frosting on the 8 inch circle. This acts as the glue that keeps the cake in place.
- Filling- Place the first layer down bottom side down. Then, pipe 2 layers of frosting on the edge of the cake. This is a barrier for the filling. Spread evenly a ¼ cup of buttercream on the cake. Then, crumble the brownies and pack them in tightly in the cake. Use the butterscotch to drizzle it on top of the brownies. Then, spread another ¼ cup of frosting on top of the brownies.
- Repeat- Repeat the filling process for the second layer. Then, place the last layer bottom side up. This will make sure you have the flattest surface for the top of the cake.
- Crumb coat layer- Apply a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Use an icing scraper to get a smooth edge. Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes. This helps to set the crumb coat and no more crumbs will get in the cake.
- Frost- Frost the rest of the cake and use the icing scraper to super smooth edges.
- Drip- Prepare the drip, and use a squeeze bottle to pour it down the sides of the cake. Then, pour the rest of the ganache on top of the cake. Then, use an offset icing spatula to push it to the edges of the cake.
- Freeze- Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to set the butterscotch ganache before you pipe any decorations on top of the cake. Otherwise it will be too wet and the frosting could slide off the cake.
How To Cut And Store The Cake
To get the perfect slice when cutting cake, use a hot sharp knife to cut through the cake. Then, clean the knife every time. This should get you a perfect slice!
Make sure the cake is stored in the fridge. Store the cake in a cake carrier up to 5 days in the fridge. If you are worried the cake might dry out, you can place cling wrap on the side of the cake that is exposed.
Can This Cake Be Frozen
Yes! This cake can be frozen! Slice up the cake and wrap tightly with cling wrap. Then, store the cake slices in an air tight container or wrap in aluminum foil. The cake should last up to 30 days in the freezer.
To thaw the cake, leave the cake on the counter for at least an hour. Then, enjoy!
Can This Cake Be Made Into A Sheet Cake
Yes! The butterscotch cake with pretzel brownies can be made into a sheet cake. Pour the batter in a 9x13 inch pan. Then bake for 20-25 minutes.
Make sure to halve the recipe of frosting, otherwise that is too much frosting! Top with frosting, brownies, pretzels, and butterscotch drizzle. The butterscotch drip wouldn't be needed for a sheet cake.
Other Cake Recipes To Try
Butterscotch Cake with Pretzel Brownies
- 8 TBSP Unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups Brown sugar dark packed
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Plus 2 TBSP Heavy cream room temperature
- 1 ½ TBSP Pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cups Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup White granulated sugar
- ½ cup Butterscotch sauce
- 4 Egg whites room temperature
- 1 Large egg room temperature
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 TBSP Plus 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Buttermilk room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cup White granulated sugar
- 2 Large eggs cold
- 1 Egg yolk cold
- 5 TBSP Unsalted butter melted
- ⅓ cup Oil canola or vegetable
- 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup All-purpose flour
- ¾ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 TBSP Cornstarch
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup Milk chocolate chips
- ⅛ cup Mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup Pretzels chopped plus extra for topping brownies
- 3 cups Unsalted butter slightly cold
- 9 cups Powdered sugar sifted
- ¾ cup Butterscotch sauce
- 1 cup Butterscotch chips
- ¼ cup Plus 1 TBSP Heavy cream
- In a sauce pan with high sides, melt the butter until almost melted on medium heat. Add in brown sugar and stir with wooden spoon until brown sugar has an almost liquid consistency.
- Add in heavy cream in thirds. Stir completely before adding more heavy cream. Switch to a whisk and whisk consistently until mixture is bubbly and reaches 220°F. This take 10-15 minutes.
- Add in salt and vanilla and mix. Pour butterscotch sauce in a glass measuring jar. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 8 inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray. Place an 8 inch parchment circle on the bottom of each pan and spray again.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the egg whites and egg together. Beat very lightly with a fork. Set aside.
- Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the butterscotch sauce. If the butterscotch is too thick. Heat in the microwave for 10 seconds until pourable. Beat for 30 seconds on medium.
- Add in eggs one at time. Mix on low until starting to combine, then add in the next egg. Scrape the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Add in ⅓ of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk. Mix until almost combined. Add in the ⅓ of the dry ingredients and the rest of the buttermilk. Mix again until almost combined. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl and mix for 20 seconds.
- Evenly divide the batter between the three cake pans. Bake for 18-22 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted it should come out clean.
- Let the pans sit for 10 minutes before transferring the cakes to a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap the cakes in cling wrap and store in the freezer.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray an 8X8 inch pan with baking spray. Line the bottom and 2 sides of the pan with parchment paper and spray again.
- Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar for 5 minutes on high.
- While the eggs are mixing, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Once the eggs are doing mixing, add in melted butter, oil, and vanilla and mix on low until combined.
- Take the bowl off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients. Add in all of the chocolate chips and chopped pretzels. Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 33-38 minutes. The edges will be set and middle should be slightly underdone. Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Freeze for 15 minutes before cutting into 9 squares.
- Place cold butter on the counter for 30 minutes. This will allow the butter to be slightly cold. Use a mixer and beat the butter on medium for 2 minutes until fluffy.
- Slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar, mix until combined. Then, add in the butterscotch sauce. Mix on low until starting to combine, then switch to high. Beat for 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl, then beat again on high for 1 minute.
- Chill the buttercream in the fridge for 15 minutes. Then, take a wooden spoon and beat by hand to remove all air bubbles.
- In a small bowl, pour in the butterscotch chips. In a small sauce pan, heat the heavy cream on medium-low until steaming and hot. Pour over the butterscotch chips. Let sit for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- Stir the butterscotch ganache until smooth and melted. If the chips don't melt all the way, then microwave for 10 second intervals until melted. Pour ¼ of the ganache into a squeeze bottle for the drip.
- Take cakes out of the freezer and let sit on counter for 1 hour.
- Put a small layer of frosting on an 8 inch cake board circle. This acts as the glue. Place the first layer bottom side down. Pipe 2 layers of buttercream on the border of the cake.
- Spread ¼ cup of buttercream as a thin layer on the cake. Take the brownies, then, crumble and compact them onto the cake. Drizzle butterscotch sauce over the crumbled brownies. Spread a little less than ¼ cup of buttercream on top of the brownies. Repeat with the second layer.
- Place last layer of cake bottom side up. Frost the cake in a thin layer of frosting. This will be the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 15 minutes. Frost the rest of the cake.
- Use a squeeze bottle of butterscotch ganache to drip it down the sides of the cake. Pour the rest of the ganache on top of the cake. Use an offset icing spatula to create a spiral on top. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes.
- Pipe extra buttercream on top of the cake. Top with butterscotch chips.