Sunday, 8 July 2007

Fairy Cakes

I noticed that the people who really seemed to get excited by [fairy cakes] were the children's parents. I think that it's not until you hit 30 that nostalgia is even a remotely comforting option - Nigella Lawson

I do love a fairy cake - a sweet little ball of light airy nothingness that is gone in a couple of bites - the perfect afternoon tea pleasure for me. No need to worry about cutting slices or even a plate. And even better, they are good. Really good.

The verdict
Unusual or substituted ingredients: None - these are as simple as they come. Except for the Royal Icing Nigella constantly uses. What is it? Can you buy it in Australia? If so, is it called something else?? (ok, so I just looked it up on wikipedia - now I know what it is at least). So, not having access to Royal Icing, I just used a standard icing sugar, blob of butter and warm water icing mix, which, in my opinion, works perfectly for these cupcakes - Royal Icing, by the sound of it, would be quite heavy on top of these very light cakes.Special utensils or cookware: Nigella suggests whipping the mix up in the food processor - which I have to say is perfect - love this method - and just too easy. I used the cupcake tray rather than the muffin tray, and so got 4 extra cupcakes than Nigella suggests - I think these are a good size.Repeatability: Yes definitely - perfect for kids and so quick to make. If you've got kids, they would also have a lot of fun decorating these - the options are practically endless! For an elegant touch, use thick icing and sugar flowers, for kids use 100s & 1000s or lollies, and also easy to theme (Nigella uses this recipe as the basis for her halloween cupcakes).

Nigella suggests cutting the top off so you have a flat surface to decorate. This might work if you are using a very thick solid icing, but I think otherwise it might mean the icing soaks into the cake, which in my view would not be quite as nice. Oh yeah, and a waste of good cake (well, except that clearly I would have eaten all the tops...)Sauciness: More sweet and innocent than saucy - but Nigella obviously loves them - if you have seen the book, you will know the cover features a fairy cake (a very elegant white on white fairy cake, but a fairy cake nonetheless!).
Overall pleasure level: I love these. An 8.5 for me. Make them, you won't regret it!