July 11, 2011

Speculoos Cupcakes

This delicious cupcake recipe was adapted from Sweet and Savory Tooth's Peanut Butter Cupcakes recipe. After I got my fill of peanut butter, I quickly imagined how I could use Speculoos, the Belgian gingerbread cookie spread, in these cupcakes. Year 2 of living in Belgium is all about trying to mimic the cuisine, watch Belgian cooking and beer shows, and cook some more food when I get around to it, and yes, yes, sample more beers as well. If you don't have Speculoos spread (perhaps a Dutch grocery store nearby?) you should really go to a gourmet foods store and ask nonchalantly if they have any Speculoos. Oh what, you don't have this superb Belgian deliciousness? Or you could mash up a bunch of gingerbread cookies, or just use peanut butter. Both are very good, and they go well with vanilla frosting. My frosting has Speculoos liqueur called jenever (from a brewery that I will somehow manage to post), and the jenever makes it into the batter as well.

Speculoos Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup Speculoos or peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (or roughly 3/4 cup unpacked brown sugar). The Speculoos is already sweet so you'll be fine with 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
1 egg
1 and 1/2 tsp Speculoos jenever (a gin-esque beverage that is collectively called Dutch gin or Belgian gin depending on which Dutch speaking country you live in), or 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
1/2 milk

Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare muffin tin with cupcake or muffin liners.

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Repeat once.
  2. Cream together butter, Speculoos spread, and brown sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing until the mixture is light and fluffy, and a few shades lighter.
  3. Add in egg and Speculoos jenever (or vanilla) and continue to mix until incorporated.
  4. Add in flour mixture and milk. Start with 1/3 of the flour mixture. Continue beating on low speed, and alternate between the milk and flour. Add the milk in 2 batches, and the flour in 3, ending with the flour (so add flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Continue to mix until incorporated and fluffy.
  5. Spoon about 3 tbsp of cake batter into a muffin or cupcake liner. Leave 1/2" border from the top of the muffin liner. 
  6. Bake 25 minutes at 350° F, or until a fork or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin and take out to cool the rest.

I must say that I am not a baker. I fail horribly, but these turned out moist, oh-so delicious, and were devoured within 25 minutes of coming out of the oven (something I attribute to following the directions exactly from the Sweet and Savory Tooth Blog). They go well with a vanilla based icing, but really they are totally fine on their own. I managed to ruin the icing recipe I had, but this is what I tried to do (don't halve it like me, and you'll be fine, since I made this exact recipe for angel-food cupcakes too)

Vanilla icing with a hint of Speculoos
Yield: enough to ice the cupcakes, and then some

1/4 cup warm, room temperature butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk, or as needed
1 tsp Speculoos liqueur

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add in powdered sugar and continue to mix until fluffy.
3. Add in vanilla extract, milk, and Speculoos and continue to cream together until everything is incorporated. Adjust for taste. If not using the icing immediately, store in the fridge until ready to use. Let it come to room temp before icing.


  1. YES! I love speculoos, and I love cake, so this is a perfect combination. Yum yum.

    I am endlessly impressed by your ability to take belgian cuisine and add a good twist. And, by the way, you're getting fancy with the photos and captions!

    It was your anniversary? Happy Anniversary!

  2. Idea: step by step flash card cookbook. I constantly find myself losing my place in a recipe. If you make flash cards, and you turn each one for each step (and find a picture to show how it's coming together) then you never lose your place, or forget an ingredient/step!

  3. what happens if you drop the flashcards?! =)

  4. laminated with a hole in the corner and one of those removable circular clips, duh.