Our local NCT branch holds an annual fundraising event called a Cheeky Monkeys tea party in the summer holidays. It is a combination of a party with games and picnic food and a fair with stalls. The refreshment stall is always popular as it sells cake as well as drinks. I volunteered to make some cake but thought it was a bit unfair to make one just for the adults so decided to make something the children would like too. Fairy cakes were always a big hit with me when I was a child and I found a recipe for these in baking for children section in the Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
This is an all in one method recipe which makes it easy to make with children around (although Mr Foodie was looking after the Jbug when I baked them because I wanted to make 2 dozen of these plus a lemon cake which wasn’t going to be quick). I made them the day before so the icing would be properly set by the time they went off to be sold.
I began by putting my cake cases into a bun tin. When I did my practice run I put one batch into the bun tin and one into my muffin tin as an
experiment (the recipe recommends a bun tin). However they were difficult to get out of the muffin tin once they were baked without burning myself on the tin (you have to remove them immediately to stop them continuing to bake in the hot tin) and the cake was denser (as the cases were completely encased by the tin). Then I measured softened butter, caster sugar, self raising flour, baking powder and 2 large eggs into a large mixing bowl. I had just measured out the flour and sugar when it occurred to me I should check I was using the right flour as both the plain and self raising flour have the same colour packet. I’m glad I did as I had accidentally measured plain flour in instead! I started again and once all the ingredients were back in the bowl I beat them until the mixture was well blended. Mary suggests doing this for 2-3 minutes but I never time this and just go by when it looks right. I then filled each case with the mixture. To try and get the whole batch the same size, I used a tablespoon and measured it out. The cakes went in the oven for 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Mine were ready after 15 minutes. Then I removed them immediately and placed them on a wire rack to cool.
While they were cooling I made a thick icing by mixing together sifted icing sugar and warm water. The quantities Mary gives in the recipe for 1 dozen cakes I found did 2 dozen fairy cakes. Perhaps she is much more generous with her icing than I am! I spooned this over the cakes using a teaspoon and spread it round so it was roughly circular. Once the icing was nearly set I added the sweets. The picture in the Baking Bible shows dolly mixture but I used jelly tots instead as I found the dolly mixture was soggy by the following day.
The next day I took them to the tea party and a dozen of them were sold (we were unsurprisingly awash with fairy cakes to sell – I think we had more than children present!!) but I was pleased to be able to take some back home and enjoy them. The jBug was particularly happy to see some return as I had denied him one the previous day!