claire, food, photography, recipe
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speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache

speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache | south by north

David is always teaching me all kinds of useful life skills; rock climbing, how to be good at camping, how to use photoshop etc etc, and I thought it was about time I taught him a useful life skill. Learning how to bake a cake seems like pretty essential knowledge.

Last Sunday we spent all day in the kitchen, me hovering and giving instructions, and David learning why ‘softened butter’ does not require 90 seconds in the microwave. It was also a great lesson in why every spoon and bowl in the house must be used in the baking of a cake.

So technically, I did not bake this cake. David baked this cake. Isn’t it excellent?!

This is my recipe and I was a little more involved in making the caramel and evening off the frosting, but besides that David did the lion’s share of the actual making. I’m so impressed! Expectations for my next birthday are pretty high.

This cake has all of the good things. It’s like a decadant morning tea rolled up in one handy slice. Coffee. Salted Caramel. Speculoos. Chocolate. If you haven’t tried speculoos, get on it now. You can get the spread in lots of supermarkets in the US, and the biscuits can be bought here in Australia. Y’know those delicious cinnamon-y biscuits that come with your coffee? Yep, those.
Scroll down for the recipe.

speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache | south by north

speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache | south by north

speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache | south by north

speculoos cake with salted caramel frosting and espresso ganache | south by north

(adapted from this delicious cake )
330g of lightly salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, packed
3 cups cake flour
1 cup of ground speculoos biscuits plus extra for decoration
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 170°C and prepare two 8 inch baking tins by lining the base with baking paper and lightly buttering the sides. (I actually only have one tin, so I bake mine in two lots.)
Place the softened butter and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, ground biscuit, baking powder). In a third bowl mix the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, cream eggs).
Beat the butter and cream together using your stand mixer, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low then add half of the dry ingredients and half of the wet ingredients. Once combined add the rest.
Scrape the sides of the bowl throughout.
Mix until just combined, then divide the batter evenly into your baking tins, and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool before turning out onto a wire rack.

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup of white sugar
90g of butter, cubed
1 cup of heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. After a short time it will start to turn brown at the edges, very gently drag the edges inwards to stop them burning. Avoid stirring too much and make sure you stay near the stove, caramel is needy and clingy and can never be left alone.
Once the sugar has fully dissolved and reached a deep amber colour, remove from the heat (but leave the heat on), quickly add the butter and stir vigorously. The mixture will bubble up and is extremely hot so be sure to protect your skin incase of spitting or spillage. Once the butter is melted place the pan back on the heat and quickly add and stir the cream (again this will bubble up). Once the ingredients are fully combined stir in the salt and leave the pan aside to cool. It will be pretty runny, it thickens as it cools.

Salted Caramel Frosting
300g butter, softened
2 cups of icing sugar
3 table spoons of salted caramel sauce

Beat the butter in your stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for a further couple of minutes. Add the caramel and beat until well-mixed.

Espresso Ganache (make after the cake is assembled)
1 cup of milk chocolate pieces/chips
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 shot of espresso

Mix the espresso into the cream. Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, and add the chocolate to the bowl. When the chocolate has half melted add the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has completely melted.

Use a sharp serated knife to level the cakes.
Place the first cake onto your serving plate and add a dollop of frosting. Use a palette knife to spread it over the top of the cake. Place the second cake TOP DOWN onto the base cake and add another dollop of frosting on top. Spread the frosting thinly over the whole cake using the palette knife and then place in the fridge.
Once the first layer of frosting has slightly hardened (20 minutes), remove from the fridge. Add more frosting to the top of the cake and spread it towards the sides of the cake and down. Add more frosting where needed, and wipe your palette knife clean between each spread. Run your knife around the cake and across the top to create clean edges.

Next add the caramel drizzle. The caramel should be at room temperature. Using two teaspoons, carefully drizzle caramel around the top edge of the cake, letting it run down the sides. Place the cake in the fridge while you make the ganache.

Once the ganache has cooled a little (you don’t want to melt your frosting), pull the cake out of the fridge, and pour the ganache on top in the centre of the cake. It will flood the surface and start to harden fast, so work quickly. You shouldn’t need to spread it with a knife, just continue to pour until it runs down the sides and pools a little at the base. Place the whole cake back in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Once the ganache has set, use some of the ground speculoos to decorate the top and sides.


  1. Gorgeous!! Love how you added speculoo crumbs directly into the batter, and that espresso ganache is something I need to try asap – it sounds heavenly ❤

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