My scrumptious dairy free butterscotch cake is so incredibly easy to make and is pure indulgence for your tastebuds. With its sweet butterscotch topping, it is perfect for any occasion. And the bonus of using the all-in-one method is that this cake comes together very quickly. 40 minutes from prep to plate. Not dairy free? Check out my ingredients and substitutions section for my recommendations.
I have to admit that butterscotch is one of my absolute favourite flavours. With those wonderful caramelly undertones and a distinctive sweetness, it’s a flavour that just can’t be beaten. When I developed my dairy intolerance, I wanted to find a way to recreate that flavour while still being allergy safe. It has a caramel toffee flavour that reminds me of a candy bar I used to enjoy in the UK when I was a child called Caramac. It was melt in the mouth and for years I’ve tried to recreate it with no luck. But this cake definitely hits the spot and melds together my love of cake AND butterscotch. So what’s not to like.
The History of Butterscotch
The earliest butterscotch recipe dates back to the mid-1840s in Yorkshire, UK where it was made with butter, sugar and treacle. It eventually became popular in North America early on in the 20th century and the recipe has also evolved. Cream and vanilla are often added, as well as salt and corn syrup and you can buy butterscotch sauce, baking chips and pudding.
Ingredients and substitutions
To ensure that this recipe is dairy free, I am using plant based butter and milk in place of dairy. Check out my ingredient substitutions to see how you can swap out ingredients to suit your own dietary requirements.
I always weigh my ingredients rather than use cup measures. This ensures accuracy for every recipe and perfect results every time. I will be adding a more detailed post on this method of weighing soon as well as my handy conversion guide for US cup measurements.
Self Raising Flour: I am using self raising flour in the cake as it helps to create a light texture. As the flour already contains baking powder and salt, it will create some rise in our cakes when they bake. I will be sharing a more detailed post on flour on my website soon. In the meantime, check out this handy video to learn how to make your own self raising flour: how to make self raising flour
Light Brown Sugar: I’m using light brown sugar in the cake batter to create those caramelly notes in this recipe. You could substitute with old fashioned or dark brown sugar if you want a deeper molasses flavour. I do not recommend using coconut sugar in this cake as it will change the flavour profile entirely. That being said, this recipe does work well as a regular vanilla sheet cake with white sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.
Baking Powder: Even though the self raising flour contains baking powder, we need a little bit more to help the cake rise.
Butter: I am using unsalted plant based room temperature butter to add fat to the cake. You can substitute with a light oil such as canola or coconut oil if you prefer or regular unsalted butter if you’re not dairy free.
Egg: eggs add richness and colour to the cake batter and are the main binding agent for this recipe. I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. You can also use medium eggs in this recipe. If you are vegan, feel free to sub with your favourite egg substitute. I recommend either using 4 flax eggs or 100 grams of apple sauce and 100 ml of plant based yogurt.
For the buttercream topping
My butterscotch buttercream is naturally vegan as we are removing all dairy and there is also no egg in it. It is wonderfully light with just the right amount of butterscotch flavour, thanks to the addition of brown sugar.
Plant Based Butter: I am using unsalted plant based room temperature butter as the base for the buttercream. If you are not dairy free or vegan, feel free to substitute with dairy butter. I do not recommend using ‘tub’ butter as they tend to contain more oils and water (to keep them spreadable) and will affect the consistency of the buttercream. Look out for a more detailed post about butter coming soon.
Plant Based Milk: My preference is to use almond milk in this recipe as the creaminess blends perfectly with the remaining ingredients and helps to elevate the overall flavour of the buttercream. Feel free to sub with your preferred plant based milk or with dairy milk if you are not vegan.
Sugar: The combination of icing sugar and light brown sugar create the sweet butterscotch flavour. Ensure that your light brown sugar is lump-free so that it will evenly distribute in the buttercream. My top tip for removing lumps from brown sugar is to warm it slightly in the microwave. This helps to soften it up so that you can break down the lumps with a spoon.
Vanilla Bean Paste: I always like to add a small amount of vanilla bean paste to my buttercream to help enhance the flavour and the colour. You can sub it with vanilla extract if you prefer.
How to Make Scrumptious Dairy Free Butterscotch Cake
This cake uses the all-in-one method which means that you place all of the ingredients in the bowl at the same time. Add the self raising flour, light brown sugar, eggs, baking powder and plant based butter to a bowl and mix well with a hand mixer.
You can also make this cake with a stand mixer or mix it by hand. It doesn’t need to be mixed for too long. Just mix until the ingredients are well incorporated and have a light, fluffy consistency. Almost immediately the cake batter develops a beautiful golden colour and smells amazing.
Baking the Butterscotch Cake
This is the perfect sheet cake (or traybake) for any occasion and bakes quickly. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease then line your 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. This will ensure that the cake is easy to remove once it has been baked. Once your batter is ready, evenly spread it into the baking pan, making sure that you fill it all the way into the corners as well. I like to tap my cake pans on the counter a few times before putting them in the oven. It helps the batter settle more evenly and also brings any bubbles to the surface.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until the cake is well risen and golden and has loosened away from the sides of the pan.
Once the cake is baked, allow it to cool before removing it from the cake pan. Transfer to a serving plate or cake board.
How to Make Butterscotch Buttercream
Now let’s make the buttercream. My vegan butterscotch buttercream is a breeze to make and also uses the all-in-one method. Mix with a hand mixer until fully combined. It is beautifully smooth and pairs so well with the butterscotch cake. A match made in heaven. I’m also a fan of using it on cupcakes and regular cakes. Or just eating it on a spoon. And the kids approve of it as well. It is seriously addictive!
Spread the butterscotch buttercream over the completely cooled cake with an offset spatula. And that’s how easy it is! Isn’t this cake a thing of beauty?
Scrumptious Dairy Free Butterscotch Cake
Butterscotch is such a comforting flavour and this cake is pure indulgence. Best enjoyed on the day it is baked and served with tea or coffee. This cake makes 16 generous slices or 24 smaller slices that are perfect for kids parties. Enjoy!
This cake makes approximately 16 generous slices or 24 small slices (the perfect size for kids parties).
To ensure that there are no lumps in your brown sugar, warm in the microwave for 10 second intervals and break up the lumps with a spoon.
Check out the full ingredient section for substitution options and different flavour ideas.
This cake is best served on the day it is made but will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Spare buttercream can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 3 months
Check out more of my cake recipes here.
Scrumptious Dairy Free Butterscotch Cake
For the cake
- 250 grams Self Raising Flour
- 250 grams Brown Sugar see note
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 4 Eggs (large – see note)
- 250 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted)
For the buttercream
- 175 grams Icing Sugar
- 25 grams Brown Sugar see note
- 2 tbsp Plant Based Milk
- 100 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- Gather all of the ingredients and equipment
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease then line your baking pan with parchment paper.
For the cake:
- Add all of the cake ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Evenly spread the cake batter in to the baking pan, ensuring you fill right up to the corners.
- Tap the pan on the counter a few times to even out the batter and remove any air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 minutes until well risen and golden.
- Allow to cool in the pan before moving on to a serving plate or cake board.
For the buttercream:
- Add all of the buttercream ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until fully incorporated. The buttercream should be smooth and fluffy.
- Spread over the completely cooled cake with an offset spatula.
- Serve with tea or coffee and enjoy!
- This cake makes approximately 16 generous slices or 24 small slices (the perfect size for kids parties).
- I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. You can also use a medium egg in this recipe. For an egg free version, use 4 flax eggs or 100 g apple sauce with 100ml plant based yogurt.
- To ensure that there are no lumps in your brown sugar, warm in the microwave for 10 second intervals and break up the lumps with a spoon.
- Check out the full recipe post for substitution options and different flavour ideas.
- This cake is best served on the day it is made but will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Spare buttercream can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 3 months.
- I always weigh my ingredients rather than use cup measures. This ensures accuracy for every recipe and perfect results every time. I will be adding a more detailed post on this method of weighing soon as well as my handy conversion guide for US cup measurements.