Butterscotch Surprise Cake

November 4th, 2009


In my family, we get to choose our own dinner and cake for our birthday. I tend to choose the same thing each year (most of us choose chicken schnitzel), although this year I decided on Beef Wellington (as we had chicken schnitzel a few days prior to my birthday dinner). For my cake I chose the cake I choose every year – a butterscotch surprise cake.


I love butterscotch, so this cake (as well as butterscotch puddings) are among my favourite. The cake consists of light and lovely vanilla cake, with a swirl or line of butterscotch in the middle.

It’s a little more difficult than the recipe suggests and my mum had to do a bit of experimenting to get the layering right. If there’s not enough cake on the bottom, the butterscotch sinks, and if there’s not enough on top, you can’t cover the butterscotch. Trying to spread a thick cake mix over a reasonably liquid butterscotch is quite difficult. My mum’s trick is to place 2/3rds of the cake mix on the bottom and level the top, then add the butterscotch and spoon the remaining cake on top, spreading gently and cautiously with a fork.


Let me know if you give it a go – it is my favourite!

Butterscotch Surprise Cake

Recipe from AWW Menu Planner No.5 1988

125g butter, softened
¾ cup castor sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup plain flour
½ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Butterscotch Filling
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons custard powder
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons butter
1 egg

Note: Cake can be made up to 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container. This recipe is unsuitable to freeze or microwave.

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, sifted flours, milk and essence in large bowl of electric mixer, beat on low speed until combined, then on medium speed until smooth and lighter in colour.

Spread half the cake mixture into greased 20cm ring pan, pour butterscotch filling evenly over mixture, top with remaining cake mixture.






Bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes, stand 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool. Dust top with sifted icing sugar when cold.



Butterscotch Filling: Combine brown sugar and custard powder in saucepan and gradually stir in milk. Stir constantly over heat until mixture boils and thickens, stir in butter, cool 5 minutes, stir in egg, use while warm.






  1. Anita, even after caramel month, I could so sit down and eat a big wedge of that cake. I can see how it’s your favourite. Just delicious!

  2. Barbara says:

    I’m a butterscotch fanatic too! This cake, birthday or no, looks right up my alley. I think I can substitute instant vanilla pudding mix for the custard powder. That’s what I’m going to try anyway. Can’t wait!

  3. Renee says:

    No wonder you choose that for your birthday Anita – it looks delish!

  4. Cakelaw says:

    This looks delicious!!!! Happy belated birthday to you.

  5. What a great choice for a cake! I love little surprises like this and surprise centres 😀

  6. Trisha says:

    Ooohh the butterscotch looks sooooooo delicious!!!

  7. It really is a gorgeous cake! I can see why it is your favorite!

  8. Your swirling is so perfect. I could never get it to that level of perfection. The recipe looks delicious, oh yum I want a slice now!

  9. Parita says:

    Wow Anita…thats gorgeous! I will definately try this cake asap! Will let you know 🙂
    Butterscotch is one of my and mom’s fav too 🙂

  10. I’m a butterscotch fan too, and this looks delicious! Happy Birthday!

  11. Rilsta says:

    I love butterscotch – I must try this! What will happen if I omit the custard powder? Is there a substitute? I would like to try to avoid buying custard powder just to use two tablespoons in this recipe!

  12. Trissa says:

    Happy Birthday Anita! What a great nice cake you had going – I am glad you picked it and shared it with us!

  13. Ruth says:

    Hello Anita
    thank you for this recipe. I have 2 daughters living in London and only last week one asked for this recipe, as they were having a cake day at work. When my girls (I have 3) were still at school, I used to make this cake a lot and it was their favourite. I haven’t made it for at least 10 years, and would you believe it, when they asked for the recipe, I couldn’t find it.
    The only difference in the one I made, was that I didn’t have a ring pan, so made it in an ordinary cake tin.
    Thanks again and I shall send this to the girls so they can enjoy it once again.

  14. Organza says:

    The cake looks absolutely divine!

    I would love to try this recipe but need to know what is moderate oven temperature in centigrade please.

  15. Anita says:

    Hi Organza
    A moderate oven is usually around 180C non fan-forced or 160C fan forced. It really depends a lot on your oven, as they differ so greatly.

  16. Lina says:

    I love the way you put the pics up step by step.It makes the reader want to get up and do that recipe straight away cause you make it look so easy!
    this recipe is a keeper!

  17. Sharlet says:

    Tried this recipe and it turned out well. Though the butterscotch filling sank to the bottom and after I baked the cake, the butterscotch layer wasn’t as dark as yours. 🙁 Will try to correct that the next time I make it because it tastes really good!! 😀

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