In Belgium, the Netherlands, and France (and probably some other countries as well...for example, Trader Joe's now carries it in the U.S.), you can find a "speculoos cream" in the supermarket. It looks like peanut butter or nutella, but it has the flavor of these spicy caramelized cookies. Look out for it, because it's addictive.
I like to bake with this speculoos cream, the same way I would with peanut butter. A couple of years ago I tested it out in cupcake form, and those cupcakes were so delicious that I added them to my roster of favorite recipes. And when Can decided to have a little party at work today to introduce Baby Oli to his co-workers, I knew just what to make... Oli also seemed to drool even more than usual during this party, so I am certain these will also be some of his favorite cupcakes someday.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (1 box/1 package)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup speculoos cream
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
24 oz. powdered sugar (in Germany, this is 3 boxes)
4-6 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
1. Preheat oven to 375 F / 180 C.
2. Butter cupcake tins or line with paper liners.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar and vegetable oil.
5. Beat the eggs and vanilla pudding powder into the sugar and oil. Then add the vanilla extract, speculoos cream, and buttermilk.
6. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until well-mixed.
7. Spoon batter into muffin tins so that they are about 2/3 full. There should be enough batter for 20 - 24 cupcakes.
8. Bake 10-12 minutes, until a knife poked in the middle comes out clean.
9. Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool for 10 - 15 minutes.
10. Make the frosting: cream together the butter and speculoos cream until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream or milk.
11. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. The frosting recipe makes a lot of frosting, so you can be generous in how much frosting you use on each cupcake.