Blueberry Sour Cream Cakes with Cookie Butter Frosting

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You have not lived until you’ve tried the wonder that is Speculoos. What is this gibberish, you say? Is she making Harry Potter references again?

Usually, that would be a fair assumption, but this time I’m talking about the delicious Dutch cookie butter spread. My levels of consumption have grown perilously high of late, even to eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. So, naturally, I wondered how I could incorporate it into a becma bakes recipe.

Happily, I had a fresh jar of Speculoos in the cupboard, but if you don’t have it there is a handy list here via Sweetest Kitchen. It’s also available via Amazon. The recipe would also work nicely with a nut butter like peanut, almond or cashew, and you can achieve a cookie butter vibe by adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cardamom to the frosting mixture.

The cupcakes are lovely and moist thanks to the addition of light sour cream and are super quick to make. The spiced, caramelly frosting and blueberries set each other off beautifully, too. I spent a bit of time fussing around with the presentation (I had run out of piping bags, the calamity!), but they will be just as tasty when topped with a quick spread of frosting and devoured quick smart.

You’ll need-

For the cupcakes: 

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 125g blueberries, fresh or frozen

For the frosting: 

  • 1/3 cup Speculoos or substitute
  • 45g butter, melted
  • 45g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • extra blueberries or edible flowers to decorate, if desired

Method-

1. Pre-heat oven to 190° and line a 12 hole cupcake tray.

2. Sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.

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3. Whisk wet ingredients together in another large bowl or jug until combined (this reminds me of making pancake batter!)

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the contents of the jug. Stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix.

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5. Add the blueberries and fold through your cupcake batter.

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6. Spoon batter into the prepared tray- make sure you don’t fill the cases more than 2/3 full, or you’ll end up with mushroom cupcakes!

7. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until just golden brown and the top springs back when tested.

8. For the frosting, add your Speculoos, butter and icing sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium until combined.

9. Add milk and vanilla essence- stir in on a low speed and then increase to high and mix until your frosting is light and fluffy. The flavour is amazing.

10. When cool, ice your cupcakes and top with decorations of your choice.

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My family gave these top marks at a recent birthday party, so I hope you’ll give the recipe a try and let me know what you think. At the very least, get your hands on some cookie butter!

 

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Lavender Chocolate Shortbread

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Yep, I have a thing for shortbread. Salted caramel is my main love, but I keep coming back to these little buttery, crumbly, not-too-sweet bundles.

This recipe is adapted from one of my earlier posts for Basil Flower Shortbread, and works on the same principle- working an unexpected flavour into a familiar base.

You can incorporate as much or as little (or indeed, none) of the floral element as you like, by adding or omitting the Lavender oil and flowers. I bought my Lavender oil from my local chemist, it’s not too expensive and is also really nice to add to caramels.

You can use either fresh lavender gathered from a garden that you know is pesticide free, or use the dried culinary version. Mine came from the dangerous store that is The Essential Ingredient.

The floral flavour is subtle and unexpected, which brought most of my taste testers back for a second helping and a “what is that interesting flavour?”. The best thing is, too, that the recipe makes 40-50 biscuits, so you can enjoy them in a big group or out of a jar with tea and a book at home.

Speaking of books, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly and its sequels are the reason this post comes so long after the last one. It’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve read them and they are so amazing that they make me blind to all other pursuits!

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you decide to give it a try! Thanks for reading becma bakes.
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  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp dried or fresh lavender
  • Drop of lavender oil
  • 240g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped

Method:

1. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.

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2. Add butter and rub in with the tips of your fingers until mixture is combined and has a crumbly texture.

4. Add lavender elements and chocolate and mix into your shortbread base with a spoon or your fingers; whichever you find more easy.

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4. Press mixture into a firm ball shape and wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat oven to 180ºC and grease two large oven sheets.

6. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and use a cookie cutter of your choice (in size & shape) to cut out your biscuits. Roll out and repeat until you’ve used as much of the dough as is practical. Check out the below picture- you really do get a good number for the work!

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7. Bake for 20-25 minutes- they won’t go too brown and will firm up more as they cool, so be aware of the smells coming out of the oven to help you judge when they’re ready!

8. Cool on the trays and store in an airtight container. Enjoy at any time of the day- they are especially tasty with a cup of tea or coffee.

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Apple and Earl Grey Cupcakes

 

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These babies have taken me a couple of tries to perfect, hence the lack of posts in the last couple of weeks. The photos aren’t my best as they were taken in a little bit of a hurry on a late work night- but I think you can still see the pretty end result!

Earl Grey is my favourite tea and I’ve been thinking about a way to incorporate it into a recipe for a while. The little apple cakes and sweet, tea-infused icing work to balance each other and make for a pretty morning tea or party treat.

The tea flavour of course isn’t going to appeal to everyone but it’s something different and definitely worth a go if you are a fan of  the Bergamot brew yourself. You could even swap it out for an English Breakfast or Darjeeling.

I came up with two different looks for the toppings, and I think they both turned out nicely.  The icing is light and fluffy and pipes well- you can just as easily leave the food colouring out for a more simple look.

Next time I think I’ll try crushing the violets and combining them with the edible glitter- purple is the way to go and the violets are always well received my taste testers.

Which decorations are your favourite- do you have any go to toppers like me and my violets?

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 earl grey tea bag
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped in thin wedges

For the icing:

  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 100g butter, half melted, half softened
  • blue and red food colouring
  • decorations of your choice (I used edible glitter, crystallised violets and freeze dried raspberries)

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 180°and line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases of your choice.

2.  Place teabag and boiling water in a medium bowl and brew for recommended time. Add chopped apple and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes.

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3. Using an electric mixer, mix egg, sugars and vanilla essence on medium speed until combined. Add butter and mix on high until the mixture is combined and slightly paler in colour. Add salt.

4. Add half the flour and mix on a low speed until combined, then add half of the milk. Repeat.

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5. Drain apples and add to the mixture, folding in gently.

6. Spoon the finished mixture into the prepared cases, filling them to no more than 3/4 capacity.

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This is actually a shot of my first batch- they were slightly overfilled and I was left with mushroom top cupcakes- so be cautious, cooks!

 

7. Bake cakes for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in tray for 5 minutes and then move to wire cooling rack.

8. Meanwhile, prepare your Earl Grey icing. Microwave the milk in a small glass or ceramic bowl for 30 seconds on medium heat and then add your teabags and brew. Add a splash of boiling water if necessary to add a bit of heat.

9. Mix the butter on high for 1-2 minutes or until beginning to turn pale and fluffy. Reduce speed and gradually add icing sugar.

10. With the mixer on low, pour in the milk-tea brew, squeezing the bags to make sure you have enough flavour. Add a small amount of each food colouring and stir through, repeating until you have your desired colour. I was able to achieve a pale purple which I really liked the look of.

11. Mix the icing on high until you are satisfied that it is nice and light and fluffy- a few minutes should be long enough.

11. Using a fluted piping attachment, pipe the prepared icing onto the cooled cakes (I’m still perfecting my piping technique, but the texture of the icing is forgiving, and your decorations will help distract from any imperfections).

12. Decorate with your chosen toppers and serve on pretty floral plates!

 

Let me know how you find this recipe- it’s one I’m quite happy with as it has taken some experimentation to get right!

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