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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fairy Cakes

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!
Recipe here:

Fairy Cakes
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.
Makes 12-15.


  • how adorable!

    I'm glad I already knew what fairy cakes were, or there'd be some serious head-scratching over here...

    I'm not a big fan of royal icing myself. I hate how hard it gets! I prefer my Mom's (the professsional baker) basic frosting. Works wonders for both cakes and cookies.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 5/25/2005 01:56:00 pm  

  • Yeah, I'm not entirely certain my royal icing was a complete success. It didn't really set hard - which was fine for us, but not 'technically' perfect!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/25/2005 01:58:00 pm  

  • They look absolutely scrummy. I'm salivating at the thought of getting my chops round a little cake like that. If you'd had any bits left over you could have made a little runt of a cake to represent the UK's entry! :o)

    By Blogger FactoBrunt, at 5/25/2005 06:08:00 pm  

  • Those Fairy Cakes look delicious. Unfortunately Canada does not tune in to the Eurovision. I remember that I used to always see the show back when I was in Portugal.

    I guess I could watch American Idol and its counterpart Canadian Idol, but I never did. It is just not the same.

    By Blogger Ana, at 5/25/2005 09:09:00 pm  

  • A Eurovision party!! Oh what a fab idea! And garish cupcakes woudl indeed be the ideal accompaniment... Didn't you love the Ukraine backing singers in chains?!

    By Blogger Jeanne, at 5/26/2005 02:18:00 am  

  • Love those fairy cakes! Now, where can I place an order?

    By Blogger Cate, at 5/26/2005 04:55:00 am  

  • Hi Factobrunt - What *is* it with the UK Eurovision entries recently?? It's not that they're *bad*, just fairly uninspiring and certainly nobody in Europe is voting for the UK at the moment. Did you notice the 3 big countries - the ones who provide most of the funds and are automatically in the finals each year - finished as the bottom three countries this year!

    Ana - Nah, the Idol competitions are not a patch on Eurovision. What a shame Canada doesn't get it! We get it on a free-to-air channel that shows a lot of foreign films, newservices, European sport and eclectic shows (Iron Chef! World Poker Tour!) called SBS. A wonderful station.

    Jeanne - those handcuffs. What a blatant political statment. But it wouldn't be Eurovision without a kick-to-the-head political commentary-within-a-song. We love the ones from the former Eastern bloc countries dressed in white that portray Germany in scary black. Most entertaining. :-)

    Sweetnicks - hehe. And where do you live again? ;-)

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/26/2005 03:03:00 pm  

  • haven't had a Eurovision party since i left england over 4 years ago :(
    it's never been the same since Abba and The brotherhood of Man anyway.
    Hey Niki - I think Royal icing actually has eggwhite in it which is what makes it really hard. That is what is used on wedding and christmas cakes.
    For fairy cakes we just used water icing - which it seems you did too. Or you can replace the water with lemon juice which is tasty. or orange, but i prefer lemon.

    By Blogger Sam, at 6/01/2005 09:36:00 am  

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