Some of my favorite memories are of the elaborate fairy tea parties my daughters used to throw. First they would lay out a quilt on the grass, set out the rarely used china tea cups, and create handmade invitations. Usually a sugary water served as the tea and tiny plates were heaped with crackers and berries. Flowers were arranged in a vase and the whole affair lasted about five minutes before they moved onto another enchanting activity. Needless to say, I often thought of these moments while writing the section in my book about fairy tea parties. But I hoped that by using some of the many recipes I included you might be able to extend the party a little. There are recipes for fairy bread, fairy trifle, and even how to make a proper pot of tea from my friend and illustrator, Hazel Mitchell. But my favorite recipe is for the fairy cakes. Not only would a fairy party not be a fairy party without a fairy cake but these are actually really, really good.
Many people have fond memories of making fairy cakes with their grandparents. These spongy and delicious mini cakes are perfect for a summer tea party. The best part is decorating them with a sweet glaze and sprinkles, dried flower petals, or tiny candies. (Adapted from Betty Bib’s Fairy Handbook)
For the cakes:
4 ounces butter, softened 4 ounces sugar 4 ounces self-rising flour
2 medium eggs, beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons milk
For the butter icing:
Juice of 1 lemon 4 ounces powdered sugar
Vanilla, lemon or orange zest, almond essence, rose essence
Colored crystal sugar, lavender flowers, sprinkles, candies
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Have ready 12 to 18 paper muffin cases. These cakes SHOULD be small and dainty, NOT standard “muffin” size. Cream butter or margarine with sugar until light, fluffy, and pale in color. Beat the eggs and vanilla and add them bit by bit to the butter/sugar mixture with spoons of sifted flour. Then stir in the milk. Add choice of flavoring to taste. Half fill the paper cases with the mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and firm and golden brown. Cool them on a wire rack. To make the icing, put the powdered sugar in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Beat together until the icing is thick enough to stick on the back of a spoon. Decorate with some of the suggested toppings, dust with extra icing sugar, and watch them flyaway!