So simple to make, these feather-light party favourites will please young and old alike. A nick with a knife transforms the basic fairy cake into a fluttering butterfly cake. Straightforward iced cup cakes can be made from this recipe too: just flood the surface with plain or flavoured Glacé icing or Buttercream and titivate with decorations of your choice.
- Yield: 12 or 24 (depending on tray)
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 quantity Vanilla buttercream
- Icing sugar to dredge
- 12 hole muffin tray, holes about 6.5 cm in diameter and 2 cm deep, lightly greased or lined with paper muffin cases, or 2 x 12-hole bun tins, lined with small paper cake cases
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat for a few seconds until well blended. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, if using, and 1 tbsp hot water. Using an electric whisk, beat until smooth; this should take no more than 1½–2 minutes.
- Carefully spoon the mixture into the paper cases so they are about two-thirds full. Give the baking tray a couple of sharp taps on the work surface to level the mixture in the cases.
- Bake in the oven until well risen and golden; allow 12–14 minutes for smaller cakes and an extra couple of minutes for bigger cakes. Leave in the trays for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
- Once the cakes have cooled, you can simply top them with the vanilla buttercream to make fairy cakes.
- Alternatively, to make butterfly cakes, use a small sharp knife to cut a circle from the top of each cake, leaving a border of about 1 cm. Remove the cone-shaped centre, leaving a slight hollow. Cut the removed cones in half to make the butterfly wings and set aside (no nibbling, butterflies need two wings). Put 1 tsp buttercream into the hollow of each cake. Press the wings, cut side uppermost, into the icing and sift over a little icing sugar to finish. These will keep for 5 days in an airtight tin.