Fairy Cakes. I just adore them!
They are really just the British version of what we call "cupcakes" here in the States, but they are so very pretty and sweet. Plus, I must admit that I am a bit of an Anglophile. :-) While there are plenty of fairy cake variations out there, I am crazy for the classic, flat-topped version. These are typically a light genoise cake iced in pretty pastel tints - a delicate flower or two adorning their velvet-smooth tops. Sweet simplicity.
I decided to make some yesterday. I skipped the genoise and just used one of my favorite yellow cake recipes.
I believe that the secret to the fairy cake's elegance is that perfectly smooth, level iced-top. This can be achieved by only filling your cupcake cases a little over half-way full with batter. This ensures that the top of your cake doesn't rise past the ruffled top-edge of your cases.
You'll also need to wait until your fairy cakes are completely cooled before you ice them. You will need to make a simple, fondant-style glaze. You can find recipes on-line, but I just make my own using cream, confectioner's sugar, a bit of vanilla extract, and a touch of food coloring. It's always a good idea to sift your confectioner's sugar before using it. This only takes a second (you can just pass it through a fine strainer) and will keep your icing from being lumpy. Slowly add the cream to the sugar until you get the consistency needed - it should be thick, but also thin enough to pour. Also, remember to tap your bowl of icing on the counter several times to remove any air bubbles. Then slowly spoon over the tops of your fairy cakes, being careful to just fill them to the very top of the cases without spilling over the edge. If you still see any air bubbles on the surface, use a toothpick to "pop" them.
This icing tends to set up quickly, so be sure to add any decorations right away or you will "crinkle" your tops (and we wouldn't want that to happen, now would we!). I added little pastel royal icing sugar flowers to mine...
I love these fairy cakes so much!
Next time, I think I am going to make mini ones (petit four size)...wouldn't that be pretty for an Easter or Mother's Day treat?