Another month, and another cupcake taking its inspiration from a dessert. This time? The humble sugar cookie, which, when done right, is delightful on its own, with tea, or dressed with a simple icing.
For the cake, I kept it simple, using my tender and fluffy vanilla cake. This recipe bakes up beautifully and fills the entire house with the alluring scent of vanilla. Then, I used a secret weapon in the frosting: cookie butter spread. Some know it as Speculoos, or Biscoff Cookie Spread. I know some people who SWEAR by Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. “But what the heck is it?” you ask.
Speculoos/Biscoff/Cookie Butter is a spread made with Belgian cookies that have been baked, crushed, and then mixed with oils to create a spread. The flavor is a little caramely, with hints of cinnamon, and it’s delightful. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend picking up a jar.
As with most spreads, this whips into the buttercream beautifully. Definitely taste in-between sugar additions—you don’t want a sickeningly sweet frosting.
The garnish—in this case, actual sugar cookies that are about 1 1/2-inches wide, finish off the cupcake. You can either purchase your favorite sugar cookie, or bake some yourself, using this base cookie recipe. You’ll only use about 1/4 of the dough for the cupcake toppings, but you can easily freeze the rest of the sugar cookie dough for another time. Shape the remaining dough into a 1-inch disc, then wrap twice in plastic wrap—the dough will keep for at least 2 months if wrapped up well.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine.
Alternate the dry ingredients and milk, and mix until combined.
Add the vanilla extract, mixing to combine.
Divide the batter between 12 wrappers in the cupcake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes.
Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
For the cookie butter frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar gradually, beating until combined.
Add the cookie butter spread and vanilla extract, then add the remaining sugar in 1/2 cup increments to your own taste. Check the texture ... if it's too stiff, add the cream, then whip until fluffy.