Friday, 24 August 2012

Fairy Cakes

When I was a kid these were the sort of cakes you had at birthday parties, a little sponge with a splodge of luridly coloured icing, maybe topped with a bit of dolly mixture or some sprinkles. Recently they seem to have mutated into something called cupcakes, which usually look beautiful but are often a bit of a letdown on the taste side. Cupcakes also usually seem to have mountainous swirls of buttercream on top, which I find just too icky.

It being the school holidays, and with the odd wet afternoon, we decided to indulge in a bit of baking yesterday. This is a really basic recipe that always seems to work. You could use soft butter, but I find the marg gives a nice texture to the sponge, and also is a bit lighter for everyday (for making biscuits I would always use butter...). A few drops of vanilla essence in the mix is good too but not essential.

Basic Fairy Cake Recipe
125g margarine
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
2 eggs
2 splashes of milk

Decorations:
Icing sugar and a little water
Food colouring
Sprinkles, sweeties and all that jazz

To bake:
1. Preheat oven to 170 (fan) or 180 (conventional)
2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases
3. If you're doing this by hand, cream the fat and sugar until light and fluffy before beating in the eggs. Then gently fold in the flour until well mixed. If you have a food processor then just bung all the ingredients (except milk) in the machine and whizz it up.
4. Add a couple of splashes of milk to the mix and mix in
5. Divide the mix evenly into the paper cases
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes have risen and are golden brown
7. Leave on a wire rack to cool before decorating

To decorate:
Glacé icing is just icing sugar and water mixed up together until smooth and glossy. Separate the icing out into some little bowls and add a drop or two of different food colouring to each. Lay out icing, sprinkles, sweeties and cakes on a covered table and let your little blighters loose with their creativity. Resist the temptation to try and direct them...

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