17 May 2013

Nigella Challenge: Fairy Cakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes? Fairy cakes are basically that, but the sound even cuter. Incredibly basic they can be morphed into almost anything through flavouring and decoration adjustments. I made these ones plain, but there are a million things you can do. Visit a cake decorating shop, or even just the baking aisle of the supermarket and get creative! You'll find flowers, animals, and other shapes made out of sugar, plus edible glitter and every sprinkle combination you could imagine. You can also get busy testing out icing colours. Of course I favour traditional pastels, but there are so many to choose from these days that you can colour as you please! They are also wonderful topped with berries or chocolate (shaved would be my preference) and lollies. You can swap the vanilla essence for another essence to to flavour the cake (I like rosewater with pink icing). Again, browse the supermarket shelves and try something that takes your fancy. The opportunities are endless!

If anyone gets really creative send me a picture and you might see it on the blog! (That actually goes for any recipes - I love to see other peoples kitchen creations).
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 500g packet instant royal icing*
Preheat oven 200C. Line a 12-whole muffin tin with patty cases (you can find loads of pretty ones in kitchen shops and online).

This is easily made in a food processor. Just add all the ingredients except the milk and process until smooth. Slowly add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it is a soft, dropping/pouring consistency.

If you don't have a food processor, first cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (or by hand with a sturdy whisk, which would be quite a work out!). Add the eggs and vanilla, and gradually add the flour a spoonful at a time. Add the milk as above.

There isn't much mixture, but a little goes a long way. Fill each muffin-whole evenly (about half to 2-thirds full). Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Once the cupcakes are cool, slice off the tops so you have a relatively flat surface to ice (you can keep the sliced off bits to do butterfly cakes if you like) make up the icing according to packet instructions. If you use only one colour for the icing, you'll probably only need half the packet but keep it handy just in case. Add a few drops of the colour of you choice and spoon over cupcake, filling to top of wrapper and smoothing off. Top with you decoration of choice, pressing it gently into the surface of the icing. 

*If you can't get instant royal icing, follow this recipe.