Chocolate And Orange Cupcakes With Fennel Seeds
Fennel, which is the spice for Wednesdays…smelling of changes to come
– Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Did you ever eat Blackjacks ’til your tongue turned black when you were a kid? Tearing open that familiar wrapper, you could always smell the aniseed/liquorice flavour before tasting it. And that flavour made it nearly impossible to have just one, right? Well these days I don’t eat too many sweets, but if I want that distinct aniseed taste, then fennel is what I’d reach for. Until recently, I’d quite forgotten about this vegetable until I read 10 Wonderful Ways With Fennel on the Reader’s Digest. The orange ice cream combo was what stood out to me, with it being Summer and that (apparently). Orange and fennel is a really nice combo, as is chocolate and orange (Terry’s chocolate springs to mind). So what about chocolate, orange and fennel?
That’s what provided the inspiration for these chocolate and orange cupcakes with fennel seeds, topped with a thick creamy orange buttercream frosting. These are the most scrumptious chocolate cupcakes I’ve created to date and I’m so excited to finally blog it!
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g demerara sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 medium orange
- 130g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 400g icing sugar
- juice of 1 medium orange
- 2 heapful tbsp golden syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and zest of one orange, mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and fennel seeds together.
- Fold in the dry ingredients to the wet.
- Fill each cupcake case and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
- For the orange buttercream frosting
- Beat the butter and salt together until smooth. Add half the icing sugar, half of the juice of one orange, 1 tbsp golden syrup, the vanilla extract and continue to mix. Then add the rest of the icing sugar, the rest of the juice of the orange, 1 tbsp golden syrup and mix until it's thick and creamy.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the buttercream frosting onto your cupcakes.
- Freeze any leftover buttercream and use for your next batch.
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