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Okra Cupcakes with Fennel Frosting


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After posting my recipe for oatmeal okra cookies seasoned with fennel, I’ve learned that some of you really hate okra.  Here’s a quote from one reader, CC Smith:

I find [okra] THE most repulsive veggie on earth, if you boil it then you have chicken snot, if you fry it, you have something that has cornmeal with whiskers underneath.  Maybe this is the recipe that will make me change my mind about okra.  That and a VERY large white Russian.

CC also compared fried okra to eating fried leg hair.  Gross!

While I expected okra to be polarizing, I was surprised at how many of you also don’t like fennel.  No one was quite as descriptive in their disgust as CC, but I was asked by several people if an alternative spice could be used in the cookies (the answer is yes – use whatever spice you love).

Luckily, not all of you hate okra!  Some, like Stephanie (who originally requested the okra cupcakes), love okra so much that they are all set to make the cookies right away. Others, like long time reader Rachel Dickson of Cupcakes and Journalism, were intrigued just enough to want to give it a try.  And, the okra cookies even got a twitter shout out from super star food blogger Steamy Kitchen.

If you are in the pro-okra and pro-fennel camp, you are going to love these cupcakes – keep reading.  If not, check out the recipe index for a flavor that you might like better. Either way, please share your stance on the two flavors in the comments.  Do you love them or hate them?

 

These okra cupcakes walk the thin line between cupcake and muffin.  Some tasters compared the okra cupcakes to zucchini bread, but I found them to be a bit lighter and sweeter than a typical breakfast bread (admittedly, they weren’t as sweet as a traditional cupcake).  While you could switch the fennel out for a different spice (as readers asked about with the cookies), the fennel may be the best part of these cupcakes.  The touch of fennel in the cake plus the fennel frosting make for a unique flavor, but fennel’s similarity to licorice and its refreshing aftertaste (fennel is even used to flavor toothpaste) makes it a fun flavor for a spring or summer garden party.  Have a cupcake instead of a breath mint, check your teeth for green okra bits, find your love, and steal a kiss or two behind a bush.

Okra Cupcake Recipe

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Okra Cupcakes with Fennel Frosting

Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C ginger ale
  • 1 C pulverized raw okra okra that's been chopped and food processed so it looks like guacamole - I pulverized part of a defrosted bag of frozen okra

Fennel Frosting Ingredients*

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel

Instructions

Cupcake Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, fennel, and ginger. Set aside.
  2. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time.
  4. Alternately mix the flour mixture and the ginger ale into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Fold in the okra.
  6. Divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Immediately remove hot cupcakes from tins and set on paper towels to remove moisture at the bottom of the wrappers. Don't be alarmed by the puddle of okra "pee" left behind in the cupcake tin - just rinse it off down the drain.

Fennel Frosting Instructions

  1. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly mix in powdered sugar (add more than 2 C if you prefer a thicker frosting).
  3. Mix in fennel.
  4. Pipe or spread on cupcakes.

Recipe Notes

*Double frosting recipe if you like to use a lot of frosting.

 

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