Creamy Butterscotch Pudding Cake


When I was a kid and we visited Cambridge, my parents used to take me to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Harvard Square. They served a butterscotch sundae made of coffee ice cream, hot butterscotch sauce, and whipped cream. Boy it was good! This pudding cake reminds me of those sundaes.

When it’s baked, it separates into a layer of cake and a layer of hot, rich butterscotch pudding sauce. It’s a snap to make, and you can finish it off with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or, if you’re like me, with coffee ice cream.

Makes 6 servings
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 45 minutes

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla or coffee (my favorite) ice cream (optional)

Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8-cup shallow baking dish or pan. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring 1 1/4 cups water just to a boil over high heat.

Stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until there are no brown lumps. Add the milk, the melted butter, and vanilla. Stir just until combined; transfer the stiff batter to the greased baking dish.

Set the baking dish in the oven and carefully pour the boiling water over the surface of the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake on the top has a crisp, golden surface and the pudding sauce on the bottom bubbles (sometimes through the top surface).

Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

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40 Responses to Creamy Butterscotch Pudding Cake

  1. Sadaf says:

    When u add the boiling water, should u stir it into the mixture?

  2. RA says:

    How much boiling water do you pour over the top?

  3. leona Go says:

    how do you serve it since the bottom will be so soft?. Do you cut it in wedges?

    • moulton says:

      You scoop it out.

      • Marri Lemaire says:

        Can this be made in advance

      • Sara Moulton says:

        You can make the batter ahead of time and put it in the baking pan and then just pour the hot water over right when you are ready to pop it in the oven. If you bake it ahead, the pudding part will be absorbed by the cake part.

  4. Karol Whitmire says:

    I made your Butterscotch Pudding Cake and loved it. Thanks for sharing it. I sent the recipe to my daughter’s who both love to bake.

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Can this be made in ramekins?

  6. Penny Childs says:

    Love watching you and reading your cookbooks!!

  7. nicole says:

    made this tonight for my husband and two kids. it was great! can’t wait till summer to put some fresh berries on top. so easy to make!

  8. Nadine Arseneault says:

    This recipe reminds me of a Quebec recipe called “pouding chômeur”. A family favorite!
    Love you Sara! I remember your live cooking show at 6pm. I was a faithful watcher.

  9. NB says:

    Can you cut the recipe in half or how are leftovers? There are only 2 of us, but I’d like to try this!

    • Sara Moulton says:

      I wouldn’t cut it in half. The proportions as written are important for it to become a pudding cake. Sorry!

  10. Theresa says:

    Do you think you could sub a gluten-free flour mix without any additional adjustments to the recipe?

  11. Susan says:

    Can I use gluten free all purpose flour?

  12. Lynn says:

    Your butterscotch pudding cake looks amazing and I’ll be trying it soon. I have a friend who’s gluten free, and am wondering if you’ve ever made a gf version successfully?

  13. Jo Bonnici says:

    Just want to add my name to her list for more recipes! TY

  14. Juliet says:

    Hi! Sara, Is 350C for fan oven or conventional oven?

  15. Eleanor Anton says:

    I followed you for many years and loved watching you cook and trying your recipes. Recently I have been seeing you more which made me so happy. I can’t wait to try your butterscotch pudding cake with coffee ice cream , the latter is my favorite ice cream flavor.

  16. Juanita Brittian says:

    Is it possible to make this in individual ramekins? If yes, what differences would be made to the receipe? Thank you

    • Sara Moulton says:

      I don’t think that is a good idea, there is too much chemistry involved in terms of ratio of batter to hot water.

  17. Sharon says:

    I think the number of servings is incorrect. In our house, it would serve two!

  18. Linda says:

    What do you mean by a shallow baking dish? Do I use glass or metal?

  19. Jo-Ann Harmon says:

    I have the hot fudge version of this recipe, but prefer butterscotch so I am happy to add this one to my recipe collection!

  20. Paula says:

    Can you prep the batter ahead of time and cook the cake just before serving? Thank you!

  21. Sharon says:

    This looks delicious, but I only ever have no-fat milk, not whole milk. What could I do to modify to be able to use this no-fat milk? Add more butter? If so, what would my measurements of butter and milk then be? Thanks.

    • Sara Moulton says:

      I think you could go ahead and use no fat milk, or perhaps melt some butter and replace some of the milk with it.

  22. Ruth Arbuckle says:

    This is sooo good. Makes probably 2 servings. Will make for my neighbor and his daughter. YUM and so easy.

  23. Cathy says:

    Just tried this tonight. Tastes great with coffee ice cream but I DIDNT GET A PUDDING LAYER. But not sure I used correct pan size. An 8 cup pan is called for in the recipient. I had a 9 x 12 in baking dish that holds 8 cups of liquid. I spread out the very thick batter and it barely covered the bottom and was pretty thin. Poured hot water over and cooked it, cooled it for 10 minutes, and when I scooped the thin cake out it did not have a gooey, pudding bottom layer. Did I let it cool too long so the “pudding” was absorbed into the cake? Should I use a smaller baking dish (maybe 9 x 9 square?) so result is a bit thicker and a pudding layer is created? What size baking dish do you use? Thanks.

    • Sara Moulton says:

      I think the problem was the size of the pan. It was just too large. Try a smaller square pan the next time.

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