Today is fête day, but with storm clouds rumbling outside and showers of hail I’m seriously thinking it is going to be called off. Like all good fêtes we have a cake stall. As I’m renowned for my general cake geekiness I thought I should contribute to the cake stall. No nipping off to Tescos and trying to pass their cakes off as mine, for me!
I decided to make something that I haven’t made in years. While cupcakes have been à la mode for the last few years I wanted to go English Old School and go for the cupcake’s daintier, less ostentatious cousin – the humble fairy cake. Until I made this batch I had forgotten how much smaller the fairy cake is compared to a cupcake.
As I’m not a huge fan of icing at the best of times, though I love the look of big cupcake swirls, I wanted to use a thinner icing that could be brightly coloured with ease. This icing acts more like self-levelling concrete and hides all the cake imperfections and also can hide a cake if it hasn’t risen as much as you hope. Frankly I wanted another excuse to play around with my new food dyes.
I found the animal decorations in the back of my baking cupboard. Hubby bought them when we attempted chocolate covered apples, but thankfully I found hundreds and thousands before we made them; and yes these sugar animals were still in date. Hopefully the cakes sell well and make some money.
There is a secret ingredient, well not so secret as I’m about to tell you, that goes into these cakes; and it’s custard powder. The custard powder does 2 things. It makes the cakes fluffier as well as flavouring the sponge. Hubby tasted one of the cakes last night and spotted the subtle custard taste. I don’t really use custard powder for making custard, I prefer proper custard or a tin of ambrosia (yes I know, but there is something very comforting about it!) and use it in baking more. If you have any custard powder you can use cornflour to help keep the cakes fluffy. Of course cornflour alone won’t flavour the cakes so add some vanilla extract.
This recipe is based on a Good Food recipee, though I have altered the method and icing.
The storm is getting worse…I wonder if these cakes will end up on the staffroom coffee table tomorrow instead.
makes around 20
140g unsalted butter, softened
140g vanilla caster sugar (you can use normal caster)
100g self-raising flour
25g custard powder
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp boiling water
food dye (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 190oc. Arrange cake cases in fairy cake tin. Beat together butter and sugar then one by one beat in the eggs.
2) Stir in flour and custard powder until ingredients are well combined. Half fill each fairy case with the batter. Don’t over fill or you won’t have room for the icing to puddle.
3) Bake for 15 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
4) Beat together icing sugar, lemon juice and boiling water until you have a smooth icing. Colour with dyes if wanted. Using a teaspoon slowly pour the icing on top of the cakes. You can guide the icing somewhat as to where you want it to go. Once you have finished icing, cover with sprinkles and leave for the icing to set.