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A light brown butter tart cake topped with mini butter tarts and buttercream swirls between each tart.

Butter Tart Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 14 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Low Lactose


Inspired by the iconic Canadian Butter Tart, this cake is made up of tender layers of brown sugar cake baked right on top of a flaky buttery pie crust. Filled with raisin butter tart filling and covered in whipped rum buttercream frosting, it’s the perfect holiday dessert!


Units Scale

Brown Sugar Cake

  • 1 package (2 x 9 inch) pie shells/crusts *can sub gluten-free
  • 1 3/4 cup (162g) cake flour, sifted *can sub gluten-free 1:1 baking blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (114g) salted butter, room temperature *can sub dairy-free butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (320g) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, room temperature *can sub dairy-free milk

Butter Tart Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) raisins
  • 2 cups (500ml) water, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (128g) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, room temperature *can sub dairy-free butter
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Rum Buttercream

  • 2 cups (454 g) salted butter, room temperature *can sub dairy-free butter
  • 6 cups (720 g) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract **
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: mini butter tarts for decor


Brown Sugar Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.

  2. Remove pie shells from the package and with a sharp knife cut around the bottom edge of an 8-inch pan on each shell.

  3. Place each pie shell in a prepared cake pan and bake according to package instructions.

  4. Let each pie crust cool in the cake pan while preparing the cake batter.

  5. In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters cream butter, brown sugar, and oil on high for 5 minutes.

  7. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix on high for 2 minutes.

  8. Into the mixer, add in the dry ingredients from step 5 and begin to mix on low.

  9. While the mixer is on low slowly pour in the milk and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

  10. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans on top of the baked pie crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

  11. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.

Butter Tart Filling

  1. In a medium pot combine the raisins, water, brown sugar, and cornstarch and mix until combined. Begin to cook over medium heat while continually stirring. 
  2. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and butter and mix until melted and smooth.

  3. Add in the white vinegar and again, mix until combined.

  4. Place the butter tart filling in a heat-proof container and cover the surface directly with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow to fully cool before using it in the cake. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days or frozen up to 6 months.

Brown Sugar Spiced Rum Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5-10 minutes.

  2. Add the icing sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and rum extract and mix on low until combined.

  3. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cake Assembly

  1. Place one leveled layer of brown sugar cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately 2 cups of rum buttercream.

  2. Pipe a buttercream border around the edge and fill with approximately 1 cup of butter tart filling. Top with the remaining layer and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  3. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides and top with a cake smoother and offset spatula.

  4. Decorate as you please. I used a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip to pipe swirls around the top border and placed a mini butter tart between each swirl. Enjoy!

  5. Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


* You can use store-bought or homemade pie shells/crusts.

** You can use real rum instead of rum extract. I suggest upping the quantity to 1 tablespoon.

  • Prep Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 946
  • Sugar: 124 Grams
  • Sodium: 863 Miligrams
  • Fat: 38 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 18 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 2 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 149 Grams
  • Fiber: 1 Gram
  • Protein: 5 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 85 Miligrams