Orange, chocolate and fennel seed cupcakes

I am now entering the last week in my current job. I have three weeks until I start my new job. I am so excited. I have been working hard all week and the same insane pace as before, early starts and late finished. On Friday evening my husband came to my office to help me move some of my things from my desk and shelf into the boot of the car. It is truely the end of an era. I am trying not to feel sad about the imminent exit because there are too many things to look forward to.

There is really no time to bake but I felt that in between all the duties I have to do, I would carve out sometime. Actually, my little indulgence this weekend was treating myself to a walk around the Southbank and coming across the Africa Utopia Festival. It was like an Ankara and jewellery heaven. There was so much colour. If I had more time I would have stayed for longer and talked to people. Instead I took some pictures.

I sat down in a ‘hair saloon’ and had a free five minute hair do. However all the lady did was rearrange my headscarf.

No complaints, it just adds to the styles that I can play with. I also ended up buying a colourful yellow and blue headband and some funky wooden earrings.


You would think that that would be enough but I must have been employing work avoidance techniques because I then decided that I would like to sit in the Southbank Centre and watch the world go by. Which is what I did, for an hour, while writing a handover document for the colleague who is going to be taking over my job when I leave.


I eventually made my way home and with me came a strong desire to bake. This time I decided to ‘invent’ my own recipe. Since my last fennel seed creation
I have been thinking about how to make more baked products with this ingredient. After a little wander around my kitchen I came up with this concoction that included chocolate, orange, rye flour and muscovado sugar. A rather rich and satisfying combination if I do say so myself.


150g unsalted butter, softened
150g dark muscavado sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 medium orange
130g rye flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp fennel seeds

1. Preheat oven to 180c (160c fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time.

3. Add the vanilla extract and zest of one orange, mix until combined.

4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and fennel seeds together.

5. Fold in the dry ingredients to the wet.

6. Fill each cupcake case and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes.




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