Monday, 23 July 2012

Fairy Cakes


Recipe Number Two Hundred & Twelve:  Page 113.

I must confess that I've put this recipe off for some time. I've nothing against fairy cakes as such but the un-iced variety holds little appeal. A plain sponge doesn't sound particularly flavoursome. However, they really are the perfect cakes to bake with children. They take moments to make and little ones can enjoy spooning the mixture into paper cases. Due to the short cooking time, those with patience can peer with wonder through the oven door to witness the mixture transform into well risen delicious cakes! How lovely for children to take part in the entire cake making process and be rewarded for their efforts. Not only is there the pure joy of licking out the bowl but also to scoff one of their cakes warm from the oven and proudly utter the words “I did it all by myself”!

So it was with a glad heart that I took Isaac into the kitchen to make fairy cakes on a sunny afternoon. Neil was out in the garden fixing the back fence so we had to stay inside. Isaac was torn between watching Daddy banging nails into a piece of wood or following his greedy streak and helping to make cakes with Mummy. He decided upon sharing his attention between the two, running intermittently between the back door and the kitchen.

As I turned on the oven to pre-heat it, Isaac kindly reminded me that it was hot and that we would have to be careful. He even passed me the oven glove! I weighed the softened butter, caster sugar and flour into the bowl. I gave Isaac a spoon so that he could stir them all together; he did a great job. While I measured in the baking powder, he took the opportunity to check on his father's progress. His little nose pressed to the glass while he supervised proceedings. The mere mention of the word “egg” was enough to regain Isaac's attention and he trotted back to me at great speed. Watching me crack the two eggs into the bowl caused great excitement. I'm always sure to hold the eggs at a great height so that he can watch the contents “plop” into the bowl!

Once all of the ingredients were in the bowl I simply had to whisk the mixture for two to three minutes until smooth. That is a long time for a two year old, especially when he doesn't like the noisy electric whisk. This was an excellent time for him to back away and regain his post at the back door.

As it was a lovely warm day the mixture became smooth in next to no time and was soon ready to make its way into the awaiting paper cases. I put the tray of cases onto the kitchen floor and we sat alongside with the bowl of mixture and several teaspoons. Isaac enjoyed watching me place heaped teaspoons into the cases. We had to say “plop” each time. Apparently this was very funny! I held Isaac's hand for the last few. He was so pleased with himself. As far as he was concerned he had made these cakes all by himself! I placed the tray into the oven and left Isaac to lick out the bowl. He made a wonderful job of it and must have scraped with his spoon for almost half an hour. Daddy's fence repair job was long forgotten!!

The cakes came out of the oven beautifully risen and golden. It would have been second nature to ice them but, as we've recently eaten so many sweetly iced cakes, it made for a welcome change. They were light and moist. The only trouble was that they were terribly morish!

Isaac and I had such a fun time making these simple cakes. To see the pride in his little face as he tucked into one of his cakes was so rewarding. I think it's safe to say we'll be making them again!
Isaac's Cakes :-)

Recipe Variation: Chocolate Fairy Cakes

Anything containing chocolate gets my attention so I was dying to try this recipe variation. As with the original fairy cakes they would not be iced, but to be honest, after 18 months of scoffing cakes I am getting a bit sick of ultra sweet icing! 

This time I made the cakes without the assistance of my little helper. We'd had a busy morning and he was indulging in a long afternoon nap. To make the fairy cakes chocolatey I simply deducted some of the self-raising flour and replaced with a heap of cocoa powder. As I whisked all the ingredients together they  transformed into a brown silky smooth mixture. It took all my control not to stick in a finger and have a taste!!

To my dismay I had run out of my usual cupcake cases so had to resort to a festive set; red and covered in snowflakes!! Once in the oven the cakes rose beautifully and it wasn't long before they were cooked and ready to cool on a wire rack. 

The finished goodies tasted delightfully moist and chocolatey. What more could you ask for! I don't think they needed any icing but there is not reason why your own choice couldn't be added. Another simple and tasty cake - yay!
They didn't last long!



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