Every child should bake at least one batch of fairy cakes. The sheer joy of licking the cake mixture from the spoon or dying the icing a lurid shade is a quintessentially childish pleasure.
Ingredients (makes about 12)
For the cakes:
125g softened, unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
Half a teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
The easiest way to make fairy cakes is to throw everything into the food processor, but much of the fun for children is in the mixing. So, with wooden spoon at the ready, here’s what to do…
Cream together the butter and sugar, add the vanilla extract and then the eggs. When the mixture has come together, start to add the flour a little at a time, beating until you’ve used it all. Spoon the mixture into paper cases lining a muffin tray.
For a 3-oven or 4-oven AGA, place the muffin tray on the grid shelf on the floor of the baking oven cook for about 15-20 minutes.
For a 2-oven AGA, place the muffin tray on the gridshelf on the floor of the roasting oven and place the plain shelf on the second set of runners. Bake for 10-20 minutes.
For the glace icing
225g icing sugar
2-4 tablespoons hot water
Food colouring (optional)
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Slowly add enough water to give you a smooth icing that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add extra water if it is too thick or extra sugar if it becomes a little runny.
When it comes to food colouring, less is definitely more. If you don’t want all the cakes to be iced in the same colour then remove some icing to another bowl and add the smallest drip of colouring. You can always add more until you achieve the desired shade.
Some decorating tips
Plain white icing still looks fab when tipped by a single crystallised rose or violet petal.
Rice paper flowers are a nostalgic trip for anyone who has reached 30 and are so pretty. Children can plonk one on a cake and feel they’ve created a work of art.
Dolly mixtures look and taste yummy and single colour dolly mixture fairy cakes have, to a five-year-old, an indefinable sophistication.
Writing icing now comes in handy little tubes, perfect for small hands, and in a wide array of colours. Older children can write messages, while smaller children can create their own paterns.
Recipe from ‘Cooking for Kids’ by Laura James, published by Absolute Press