Friday, April 30, 2010


I always called these fairy cakes, but recently discovered that most people call them butterfly cakes. Either way, they always sound like the prettiest little cakes.

I was just talking about fairy cakes the other day with someone and how they remind me of my childhood and bake sales at school
They seemed to be the only cupcakes we knew or enjoyed making.

It's a shame nobody makes these anymore. The, cake, creams, cupcake, dessert, fairy cakes, magnolia bakery, mother's day, spring, strawberries, strawberry, summer, sweet, vanilla simplest things in life are always the best and no matter how simple this recipe may seem, you can't argue when something tastes this good! So I decided to make an adult friendly version of a fairy cake to please all.

These cakes are seriously delicious and a really cute play on strawberry shortcake. One bite of the fluffy and moist sponge topped with a sweet whipped cream filled with chopped strawberries and you'll be in heaven.

Happy Mother's Day!
Vanilla Cupcakes:
(makes 24)

  • 2 and 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream filling: 
(for 24 cupcakes)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • confectioners sugar and strawberries for decorating.

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line x2 12-cup muffin tins with paper cases.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric whisk/mixer. Then add the eggs and whisk in well. Sift the flour into the bowl and fold the mixture together slowly pouring the milk until everything is combined well.

Spoon the mixture into each paper case about 3/4 full. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wrap before you begin the next step.

In a large bowl whisk the heavy cream and vanilla until it reaches stiff peaks. Then add the confectioners sugar and chopped strawberries and whisk a little more until well combined.

Cut a circle out with a knife in the middle of each cupcake and then spoon the center out.

Fill the hole with a heaped dollop of whipped cream.

Cut the cut-out circle of cake in half and place as wings on top of the whipped cream with the rounder edges on the outside.

Repeat for all the cupcakes and then dust with confectioners sugar and add strawberries.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


If you are going to make any lemon cake, make this one! After countless lemon tea cakes, pound cakes, loafs etc, nothing beats this. One bite and you'll be daydreaming of the English countryside, sipping tea on a warm summer's day.It's the perfect afternoon cake; light, refreshing and vibrant with its sweet, lemony favor which is truly awoken by the syrup oozing through. It just melts in your mouth.

If you don't have self-rising cake flour like me, then substitute it for 3/4 cup + 2 1/3 tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 and 1/3 tbsp corn starch, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.

It's going to be hard not to make this every week for the rest of the summer.
Lemon- Syrup Loaf Cake: (Adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (my addition to the recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon self-rising cake flour (substitute recipe above)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk
For the syrup:
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons (approx 4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F Butter and line the loaf pan with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.

Sift in the flour and salt, folding in gently but well. Then add the milk and combine well.

Spoon the cake batter into the lined loaf pan and back at 350F for 45 minutes or until golden.

While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Add the lemon juice and confectioners sugar to a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside.

As as the cake is out of the oven, puncture all over the top of the cake with a tooth pick. Pour the lemon syrup all over the entire loaf.

Allow the cake to cool completely before taking it out of the loaf pan to avoid crumbling.

The cake is so moist, perfectly crumbly, light and beautifully lemony.

Serve with your favorite tea on a sunny afternoon :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Happy Easter! I love everything about this time of year: the beautiful spring weather, the colors, the produce, birds chirping in the morning, my birthday :) It's the one time in the year that I actually appreciate the color yellow; there's nothing like the friendliness of bright yellow daffodils.
Pastel colors are a must right now; it really cheers you up after all those winter blues. I always stock up on plenty of Cadbury's Mini Eggs come spring, not only do I love eating them, but they make the cutest decorations on cakes and cookies for Easter. I actually prefer the UK version of the Mini Eggs, they are more purple in color and have spots and specks on them just like birds eggs, but I couldn't get a hold of them.
We used to get so many huge Easter eggs when I was a kid from everyone, it was always a competition between us all to see who got the most. The supermarkets are absolutely filled with so many different Easter eggs this time of year in the UK.

These thumbprint cookies are very delicate and light like shortbread. They are very small, you get about two bites out of them, but they're the perfect Easter/spring treat, especially with the little mini egg on top. 
Easter Thumbprint Cookies
(makes 24)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350 F.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Beat in the flour slowly until the dough has formed.
Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 mins.

Then remove from the oven and press thumb prints into the center of the balls (I used the end of a utensil).

Place the tray back in the oven for a further 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden.

Allow the cookies to cool fully on a rack.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth.

Allow to cool slightly, then pour the chocolate into the cookies little thumbprints.

Add a chocolate mini egg on top for a cute Easter look.
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