Butterscotch Spice Poke Cake
My spice drawer really gets a workout in the fall. I happily start adding cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and more to as much of my baking as possible. The combination of all those flavors just says “FALL!” to me in a big way.
With fall baking occupying my brain, I really wanted to make a spice cake, but I thought to make it a bit different than the traditional. Enter butterscotch. And to make it a bit more fun, let’s poke holes in the cake and let the butterscotch work its way down into the cake. Sound good? Oh, yeah.
If you aren’t familiar with poke cakes, it’s pretty much just what I described above. It’s a great way to pack a lot of extra flavor into a cake. Most of the time, I use the end of one of my hand mixer beaters to poke holes in the baked cake. For something thicker like butterscotch sauce, you’ll need to make bigger holes to make sure plenty of the butterscotch gets into the cake. The end of a wooden spoon works well, but anything with a 1/4- to 3/8-inch diameter will be fine.
I am a big cinnamon fan, so I couldn’t resist adding a bit of cinnamon to the frosting. But if you prefer, just omit the cinnamon for a classic cream cheese frosting. If you’re feeling extra fancy, sprinkle some toasted pecans or some other nuts on top of the frosted cake.
At first glance, this probably looks like an involved recipe. I promise you it isn’t. The long list of ingredients for the cake is mostly due to all the spices. The butterscotch will take you 10 minutes to make. And the frosting even less than that. Then you’ll have a beautiful, delicious cake that’s a perfect way to celebrate fall spices!
Butterscotch Spice Poke Cake
Yield: 15 to 20 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
A delicious blend of spices and a simple homemade butterscotch sauce combine to make this irresistible cake!
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
For the butterscotch:
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix just until combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Set aside to cool completely. Then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, trying not to go all the way through to the bottom of the pan.
To make the butterscotch:
- Place the brown sugar and butter in a medium heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted and mixture is combined. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully add the cream (mixture will bubble) and stir to combine. Stir in the vanilla.
- Slowly pour (or use a ladle) the butterscotch over the cooled cake. It may be helpful to use a spatula to spread the butterscotch toward the poked holes to make sure it soaks down into the cake as much as possible. Not all of the butterscotch will go down into the cake. Spread the remainder evenly over the top of the cake.
- Allow the butterscotch to cool to room temperature before frosting the cake.
To make the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, mixing until smooth.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled butterscotch.