Belgian Speculoos Cupcakes

Originally posted 28/02/2014

In October last year I went for a lovely long weekend in Bruges with one of my best friends and, in between stuffing our faces with the heavenly chocolate and fruit beer, we found ourselves sampling delicious golden caramel-flavoured ‘Speculoos’ spread every morning with breakfast in the hotel. This is a peanut butter style spread that’s made from ‘Speculoos’ biscuits which, we later found out from the distinctive red and white packaging, can be bought here in the UK under the name ‘Lotus Caramelized Biscuits’. Just recently, the spread has also become available to buy in the supermarkets over here so it went without saying that I needed to cake-ify it somehow! And here’s the meltingly moreish result, topped off with Belgian chocolate chips for the ultimate Bruges experience 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz brown sugar
  • 55g/2 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 170g/6 oz butter/margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but stunningly delicious and aromatic!)

For the icing (apologies if measurements are a bit off here, made it up as I went along):

  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 4 tbsp Lotus Caramelized Biscuit spread
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp milk
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (again, optional but scrummy!)
  • Handful of Belgian chocolate chips

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and both lots of sugar together in a mixing bowl then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and caramel flavouring until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Whisk the butter, Lotus spread, vanilla extract, caramel flavouring and icing sugar together in a bowl until well combined, while gradually adding the milk to loosen the mixture until it’s of a spreadable consistency. If it’s too thick, add more milk and if it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.
  2. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife or pipe on using the nozzle of your choice.
  3. Top each cake with a few Belgian chocolate chips.
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