Fairy Cakes from Mary Berry

These are beautiful little cakes to brighten up a gloomy Monday, such as we’ve just had in Brisbane. Mary claims these are easy enough for children to make and I can easily believe it; I could put them together in my sleep. Aside from their ease, they make a deliciously moist, plainly delicious sponge-style cupcake which can withstand a fair amount of fiddling. This is fortunate as they have a plain flavour on their own. I beat in half a cup of jam with the butter to flavour it and Mary provides a chocolate version with her recipe. Any citrus zest would be lovely here, a little vanilla essence or indeed a quantity of finely chopped apple or pear. As we are currently in the midst of school holidays in Queensland, these would be the perfect thing to make with restless children on a rainy day; especially if you let them decorate each cupcake!
I can see myself making these in many variations in future. They are quick, easy and can easily be adapted to suit any occasion or audience.


  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 a cup of jam OR chopped apple OR 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with papers.

Measure all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, along with any jam or zest you may wish to flavour the cupcakes. Beat on high for 2 to 3 minutes until it’s well blended, smooth and a little aerated.

Spoon into the cupcake papers, filling each about half to two-thirds of the way up. Bake for 10-15 minutes. My oven seems to cook everything with furious speed so I pulled them out at about 7 minutes. Check at that point and see if they are golden brown and well risen. A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean.
As soon as you can handle them, take them out of the tray and remove to a cooling rack. These can be decorated when they are completely cold, or served entirely unadorned. They will be delicious and well-received either way.


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