Cherry Bakewell Fairy Cakes

It is a well know fact that on of my favourite bakes is the humble Bakewell Tart. The sweet almond sponge partnered with the rich raspberry jam is one of my favourite sweet flavour combinations. Of course this elegant tart has been transformed into the more commonly known Cherry Bakewell format thanks to Mr Kipling. There is a place for the delicious Bakewell Tart but just sometimes life calls for the one essential thing a Cherry Bakewell has; a garish red Glace cherry. It’s the rule.

In the past I have reincarnated the Cherry Bakewell in biscuit form and while baking Fairy Cakes for a School Fete last week I decided to make them in Fairy Cake format. Dainty little bites of jammy, almondy goodness. Of course a healthier alternative due to lack of pastry. Who am I kidding.

I will admit these never made it to the school fete and were used to fuel not only me but Hubs & Father-in-Law who have been working on a big DIY project. For the school I made a batch of chocolate cakes dusted with edible glitter (essential School Cake Stall ingredient)  and vanilla cakes with bright pink icing. It is the basic version of this recipe that I’m currently teaching in my cookery classes and out of the 300 cakes we’ve baked so far each and every cake has worked perfectly.


Cherry Bakewell Fairy Cakes

Makes 12
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: bakewell, cherry and almond, cupcake, fairy cake
Servings: 12 cakes


  • 100 g self-raising flour
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 6 glace cherries cut in half


  • 1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.
  • 2) In a bowl beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled. Mix in the almond extract.
  • 3) Carefully fold in the flour until the ingredients are well combined.
  • 4) Put a dessert spoon of the mixture in each case. Place a 1tsp of the jam on top of the cake batter then top with a further tsp of cake batter. The jam sinks during cooking and by the time they come out of the oven the jam will be sitting nicely at the bottom of the cake.
  • 5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool before icing.
  • 6) In a bowl mix together the icing sugar and water until you have a smooth icing paste. Smooth the icing over the cakes and top with half a glace cherry. Ideally let the icing set before eating…but you know how it is.

26 thoughts on “Cherry Bakewell Fairy Cakes”

  • Like the idea of these as I find small pastry tarts a bit much. Does the jam have a layer of cake under it or is it right on the base? (considering small sticky jam fingers!)

    • I would certainly do them in cake liners rather than straight into silicone fairy cases (if you use them). In some of the cakes the jam sunk straight to the bottom, but in most there was a small layer of sponge at the bottom before the sponge.

  • Love, love, love the sound of these, going to try them for afternoon tea on Sunday. Although expecting grown men to “titter” slightly. Trust me, they will, will appeal to the 8 year old in them all ;)

  • Was looking for a recipe for small bakewell tarts, as the pastry is wheat free and tends to crumble, but then I found this recipe this afternoon and it solved my problems totally, as I don’t even have to make pastry and my better half gets a favourite in fairy cake style.
    So, they are out of the oven and look fab.
    Now to ice and pop a cherry on the top.
    My sister is quite excited, she is only 40! So if she is excited, I can only guess my better half will be too.

  • I love Bakewells. Try with damson or blackcurrant jam. Just one criticism – it looks like you’ve used glace cherries with artificial colours, which is not good for kids. E-numbers are something nasty that should have been left behind in the 80’s.

    • Hi Philip, thank you for the comments. There are various reasons I have used the bright red glace cherries:
      1) the natural ones I almost impossible to find here or ridiculously expensive
      2) my article explains why I usually cook with the best ingredients I can afford but sometimes, just sometimes I hark for nostalgia and only garish colours will do
      3) no kids were harmed in the eating of these as they were for my husband & I plus friends. When baking for children I’m more considerate with ingredients
      4) This recipe is part of a project I’m working on at the moment that is helping local low-income families learn the life skills of cooking. Can you imagine me saying they can’t use cheaper red glace cherries on an item that is a rare treat and that they must use more expensive natural ones?
      5) Surely even with the red glace cherries these have to be far better for you than the Mr Kipling relation.

  • Hi Jules,

    Made these the other day for a charity bake sale and ate nearly all them between myself and Steve! Sooooo yummy. Everyone loved them. Thanks for the recipe x

  • This was the perfect recipe for baking something that would be yummy and quick for a House group I have every week.

    I made a few changes, dictated by the fact that I needed to bake it with what I had in the cupboard at 9pm!

    Instead of almond I used vanilla, strawberry instead of rasberry jam, chopped apricots instead of glace cherries and the mix made 6 big muffins.

    So, they were no longer Bakewell in description but the jam at the bottom was yummy!

    Thank you for your inspiration, I love reading your blog. X

  • Thank you for your recipe, I made them last night, and they are delicious. I live in America now and they don’t sell bakewell tarts here so this is the perfect easy alternative.

  • Made these yesterday for after the golf competition today, they were very well received and I think they may go into first place after the lemon drizzle cake. Thanks.

Say hello!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.