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Brown Sugar Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting

Brown Sugar Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting combines big flavor in an easy-to-make cake. Serve this one as a sweet snack or a casual dessert!

slice of brown sugar cake on a white and beige plate

Easy Brown Sugar Cake

I’m positively smitten with this quick and easy Brown Sugar Snack Cake. It’s made with plenty of brown sugar for a wonderful flavor. To that, we add nuts for some crunch and butterscotch chips for even more brown sugar flavor!

And if all that weren’t enough, this cake is topped with a ridiculously simple dulce de leche frosting that’s made with just THREE ingredients. The rich, caramel-like flavor of the frosting really amps up the flavors in the cake to create an irresistible dessert.

overhead view of frosted Brown Sugar Snack Cake on a wire rack

This cake somehow manages to be both simple and bold at the same time. The focus is on similar flavors so that you aren’t overwhelmed with different tastes. Yet emphasizing those flavors makes you stand up and take notice after just one bite.

This is just the kind of cake that’s perfect for a casual dessert or for a sweet snack. It’s a great recipe to keep in your go-to list of easy desserts that are sure to impress!

overhead view of ingredients for Brown Sugar Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting

What You’ll Need

You’ll just need a few ingredients besides the basics to whip up this snack cake.

For the cake:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter: Set out the butter about half an hour before baking to allow it to soften.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work for this cake.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract: Almond extract is a great choice, too.
  • Sour cream: Full-fat sour cream works best.
  • Nuts: I usually prefer pecans, but most any nut will do. Almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts would all be great choices in this cake. Chop them roughly into bite-size pieces. Save some or chop a little extra for garnishing the cake, if you like.
  • Butterscotch chips: Use a good quality brand of butterscotch chips. There are some out there that just aren’t all that good. My favorite brand is Guittard.

For the frosting:

  • Dulce de leche: This is thick and caramel-like. Look for dulce de leche alongside the condensed milk, in the international foods section, or with the ice cream toppings.
  • Cream cheese: Full-fat cream cheese works best. Be sure to bring it to room temperature for a smooth frosting.
  • Vanilla extract: Try almond extract for a little different taste.

Love this frosting? It’s also amazingly delicious on Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes and Coconut Cake.

slices of Brown Sugar Cake on white and beige plates

How to Make Brown Sugar Snack Cake

This cake recipe is great for bakers of all skill levels. You’ll need a few mixing bowls, a hand or stand mixer, and an 8-inch square baking pan.

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides. Grease the paper and any exposed sides of the inside of the pan. Alternatively, you can skip the lining and grease the pan.

Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix the wet ingredients. Cream together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and sour cream to the wet ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three portions while alternating with two portions of the sour cream. Mix just until combined or a few streaks of flour remain.

Stir in the add-ins. Mix in the nuts and butterscotch chips. Don’t over-mix. Just stir until combined.

Spread the batter in the pan. Transfer the batter to the pan, and spread it evenly.

Bake. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Then cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then use the overhanging parchment paper to lift the cake from the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. Beat together the dulce de leche, cream cheese, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed. When the frosting is thoroughly combined and smooth, spread it on top of the cooled cake. An offset spatula is a great tool for frosting. Sprinkle with the reserved pecans.

Recipe Variations

  • Skip the frosting in favor of a simpler cake. Serve plain or with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
  • Try a simple chocolate frosting like the unbelievably easy one on this Chocolate Chip Snack Cake.
  • Vary the add-ins with different nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, coconut, or anything else that sounds good!
overhead view of Brown Sugar Snack Cake slices on white and beige plates

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips to help ensure that your cake is the best it can be!

  • Measure accurately. Use a kitchen scale to measure by weight if possible. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method.
  • Use a light-colored, metal baking pan. You’ll get a more evenly baked cake with this type of pan.
  • Line the pan with parchment paper. While not necessary, the lining makes it a cinch to lift the cake out of the pan for frosting and serving. It also helps ensure even baking and easy cleanup.

How to Store Leftovers

Keep the frosted cake tightly covered in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 3 days, although it will be best the day it’s made. Set it out on your kitchen counter an hour or two before serving time to let it come to room temperature.

slices of Brown Sugar Snack Cake on a white and beige plate

Can Brown Sugar Snack Cake Be Frozen?

Yes! To freeze the frosted cake, first place the cake (sliced or unsliced) uncovered in the freezer until the frosting is frozen. Then wrap the cake or the individual slices in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Wrap again with aluminum foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag.

To freeze the unfrosted cake, wrap the cake or leftover slices well in plastic wrap. Then wrap again with foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag.

Thaw the frozen cake overnight in the refrigerator.

Brown Sugar Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting

Yield 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Celebrate the delicious simplicity of brown sugar in this easy snack cake with its ridiculously easy and decadent frosting!

slice of brown sugar cake on a white and beige plate

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces (170g) dulce de leche (a generous 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces (113g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and any exposed pan. Alternatively, skip the lining and grease the pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of the sour cream. Mix just until combined or a few streaks of flour remain.
  5. Stir in the nuts and butterscotch chips.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then use the overhanging parchment to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the dulce de leche, cream cheese, and vanilla until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  2. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Sprinkle the reserved pecans on top of the cake.

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    5 Comments on “Brown Sugar Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting”

  1. I have all the ingredients for this luscious sounding cake…but then I’ll have a lot of dulce de Lethe left over…which I’ll be forced to eat by the spoonful.  Do you have any other suggestions?  Thank you!

  2. Can I double the recipe for a 9×13 pan ??

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