To go with our Eurovision party, I decided to make a few garishly coloured and decorated fairy cakes. I mean, what better way to complement the garish and decorated song contest itself?? I also knew my friend H would appreciate them; they're definitely her style!
These really are so quick to make and bake and unlike other decorated plain cakes, the cake itself is moist and has lots of flavour. I'm so used to iced fairy cakes being dry and sawdusty that these were a pleasant suprise.
I stayed with the advice of keeping the cake plain and simple, and went to town on the decorations! It was the first time I've used Royal Icing, and it didn't have any instructions on the bag, so I just added a few dribbles of water. Seemed to work - I mean, it's not milk or anything you're supposed to add, is it? Royal icing sets fairly hard, so it makes a nice, flat top to your cakes.
I fished around our cake decorating box (an old plastic icecream container), which has pretty much gone unusued since we stopped having kiddie birthday cakes and found some really funny little decorations - including some red food colouring that I reckon was last used when my brother turned 9! I eeked a little more out of the bottle, but then had to submit it to the rubbish - 15 years was pretty good service, though! Don't you love that almost radioactive blue colour? Mmmm....food colouring.
I used a bit of everything I found in that ice cream container and had more fun that you think a grown woman should have sticking on little clown candles, Aussie flags, holly leaves and mini roses all over the top.
There's just something about little iced cupcakes that brings out the child in everyone, and all grinned happily and scarfed these down. Even the blokes!
From: How to be a Domestic Goddess, N. Lawson
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
250g royal icing mixture (I found mine at a baking shop. But you can also make your own. Do a Google search. I don't recommend the boxes of solid ready-made stuff you can get in Aussie supermarkets. They're only good for wedding cakes.)
12-bun muffin tin lined with 12 muffin papers
Preheat the oven to 200C
This is very simple: put all ingredients except milk in the processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding milk down the funnel, to make a soft, dropping consistency. Spoon and scrape the mixture into the tin, trying to fill each case equally (Nigella suggest you may struggle to fill 12 tins, but I had enough mixture for 15....). Don't fill the tins too much, or you'll just have to cut a lot off the top to ice them later.
Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fairy cakes are cooked and golden on top. As soon as bearable, take the fairy cakes in their cases out of the tin and let cool on a wire rack.
To ice, you need to start with a level base, so once they're cool, cut of any mounded peaks so that you have a flat surface for icing.
Mix up an uncoloured batch of the royal icing and remove a few spoonfuls to other bowls to mix up various colours. Spread icing on the cakes then leave for a moment to dry slightly before sticking on your decorations.