Fairy cakes

16 July 2009

It's been quite a while since I posted about making fairy cakes. I promised to give you the recipe, so better late than never, here it is.
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted self raising flour+ 1 teaspoon baking powder for extra lift
  • 1 cup sifted plain flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 150g (5½ oz) soft butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Finely grated zest one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I made mine in a gem scone pan and didn't use paper cases.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a pan with paper cases.
  2. Place the flours, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, lemon and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Using an electric beater, beat until combined and fluffy - about 2 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Fairy cakes can be made with the addition of vanilla, chocolate, orange or any other natural flavouring you have on hand. When the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool, cut the top off, add a teaspoon of cream or butter cream, then cut the top in two to make the wings and stick them side by side into the cream to stand up like little wings. I noticed there are a lot of recipes online for iced/frosted cup cakes that are called fairy cakes. True fairy cakes have wings and in Australia we used to eat fairy cakes, not cup cakes. Cup cake is an American term.

Another lovely thing I wanted to share with you is this sweet tea towel (above) my sister made me when she was here for the wedding. It's appliqué and stitchery and it's got an authentic old fashioned look that really appeals to me. I'm not sure I'll use it as a tea towel, it will probably serve me well as a little tray cloth. Don't you just love homemade things. These little household items, made with love, really make me feel warm and comfortable when I use them. The making process isn't long or involved but they stamp the home they're in with an authentic feeling that sits well apart from mainstream mass production. Thank you Tricia!

Hanno and I are going to visit Shane and Sarndra today and will have lunch with them. Everything has settled down since the wedding, they've returned to work and it will be nice to be together to celebrate Shane's birthday, which was yesterday. I am really enjoying getting to know my new daughter-in-law. I'm taking her a little gift of dishcloths, vintage knitting needles, a needle gauge and some knitting cotton and bamboo. Sarndra loves craft so I think she'll enjoy this little starter kit.

Thank you for your lovely comments in the past few weeks. I am often overwhelmed by the words you write both in comments and emails. I don't know what I've done to have such a wonderful group of readers, but here you are! Amazing. Enjoy your day and take time to enjoy something you love doing too.


  1. I was wondering if you would share the recipe for buttercream you used? I am assuming by buttercream you mean buttercream frosting but thought I would check to make sure. And if I was to use cream do you mean whipping cream? If so how do you keep it from melting all over the cakes?

    Thanks, Allison

  2. Hi Allison, yes butter cream frosting - butter whipped with icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) and vanilla. If you use real cream, whip it to stiff peak stage and it will hold the wings well.

  3. Oh, these look so good. I bet grandchildren will love them. I don't have one of those scone pans, so I'll have to look for one soon. The towel is very special...she does very nice work. Thanks for your blog. Mumzie

  4. Hi Rhonda
    We call the unsliced ones fairy caskes and the 'winged' ones butterfly cakes. Might just be my family but i think its my whole nation. The look very nearly lovely, i could taste them.
    love from

  5. I really get alot out of all your posts, however I LOVE the gardening posts. Anything along those lines would be great for me.

    I wanted you to know we have now had beets, carrots and spinach from my garden. The tomatoes are behind others I think but they have many blooms and small ones growing everyday. My beans are going right up the teepees (as I call them!) and I am waiting on my green peppers. I have had alot of cool weather this summer.
    We picked several pounds of sour cherries, red raspberries, black raspberries. Made my first red raspberry jelly, freezer red raspberry jam and black raspberry jam. Made sour cherry preserves and froze several bags for pies, my darling hubby loves sour cherry pies!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration. It is alot of help to me.

    West Virginia USA

  6. Thank you! My daughter is asking to bake today and I think this will make a wonderful afternoon project. :)

  7. Yay! when I saw the photo of these awhile back I couldn't wait to make them with my little girls. But I had the same luck on the internet as you -- all results turned up plain old frosted cupcakes! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Now you've done it. Just when I resolved to eat less your fairy cakes are calling my name. I know I'll succumb by the weekend to their enticement.

    Last weekend I baked your nut slice bread and it was such a hit. I cut thick slices of six juicy red strawberries and pushed them into the top of the bread before I baked it. They held their beautiful red color and added a wonderful flavor. So yummy and I had everything on hand that I needed to bake them. That's one of the things I really like about the recipes you share with us. Most of them use ordinary ingredients that magically turn out the most delicious treats.

    If you keep this wonderful food coming, I'll continue to eat it, you know. Oh well, as Marie Lloyd said, "A little of what you fancy does one good".


    Diane in North Carolina

  9. I loved the fairy cakes...we used to call little iced cakes fairy cakes when i was young..but it makes more sense for them to have wings....i would love a recipe for a lemon merangue..i had one once in a restaurant and it was more creamy than traditional ones and so delicious...o wondered if you had your own rec8ipe for one Rhonda ?

  10. I think i must come from the same country as Lizzie ( England )?? as we called the winged ones butterfly cakes as well..and little iced ones were fairy cakes..but either way they look lovely and i have decided to bake some..i've not baked those since my kids were young..30+ years ago..i love to read your blog..it gives me a lot of inspiration and has such a warm feel to it..thank you Rhonda.

  11. Like Lizzie, I grew up calling them butterfly cakes when they had wings. Fairy cakes were just little cakes the size a fairy would eat. My mum would put a lemony filling in them sometimes instead of the buttercream & just a light dust of icing sugar over the top.

  12. Hello everyone! It just goes to show how food takes on a life of it's own in different parts of the world. I grew up in Sydney and have never heard of butterfly cakes. Cup cakes are cup cakes to me, when you cut the top off and make wings, they're fairy cakes. I hope you all enjoy making them, no matter what you call them, and your family enjoys the plate you present to them.

  13. You ask what you've done to deserve such blogfriends - you've been yourself, inspiring us all in various ways to live a more rewarding and simple life, that's all!
    ps As there's another Lizzie here, I'll rename myself!

  14. Congratulatons Rhonda!! I don't often buy magazines but I got a lovely surprise when I bought Australian Notebook yesterday to find you mentioned in the top blog section.Hope you have a lovely day.

  15. I'm droooling over these! Thank you for sharing!

  16. In my experience Rhonda, you missed one crucial fairy step - you dust them lightly with fairy dust (icing sugar) just to finish it all off.

    I remember them called both butterfly and fairy cakes in Queensland

  17. Hi all. I remeber them being called fairy cakes and butterfly cakes but I always thought "cup cakes' was the american name for the iced ones(wingless!). My mum always called the little iced cakes "patty cakes". Is that something unique to north queensland or does someone else remember that term?? Like Rhonda says no matter what you call them they are good. Patty cakes were the very first thing I ever cooked and I must have been 6 or 7. My mum was a domestic science teacher before she married so I always had to do it "properly"! Regards Julia in Mackay

  18. I'm from the Midwestern states of the U.S. and have never heard of fairy cakes or butterfly cakes but these look so cute and fun to make. I'll have to try them.

    Today I got to spend a few hours with my new grand daughter who is just over 2 weeks old. I brought over a homemade lunch and dessert for my daughter and myself and one other daughter that joined us. It was a good time.

    Everything you write Rhonda gives me something else to ponder and to enjoy. Thanks.

  19. They look delicious! My three year old will love them. Thanks!

  20. What lovely stitchery... your sister is also talented! I also linked to a related article... the one you wrote about homemade dog food... and wondered if I could reference it in my dog blog, www.rachelsdoggielife.blogspot.com? I write a lot about feeding our pups a natural, wheat free, holistic diet and your recipe fits right in.

  21. That's fine, Rachel.

    Julia, I remember patty cakes as being small cup cakes. :- ) I hope you're well.

  22. Good morning Rhonda. Your cakes look just like the cakes Mum used to make, I must try your recipe. The tea towel/tray cloth is lovely, how clever Tricia is! I am not a visual thinker but can be inspired by clever people like you and Tricia.
    Enjoy your lunch with S&S. The videos at:
    are very easy to follow and clear. (I put a line break in the address so it would all show.)

  23. I would love it if you would write again about how and where to start... I live in a small home in the suburbs with my husband and two small children. We would love to move to a lifestyle block but with little money and only one income (while I stay home with the children), it seems like an impossible dream.

  24. Rhonda..I haven't been by to comment lately and I sure missed that..just caught up on reading the last number of posts and loved reading through them..it's like coming home to a wonderful and simple life!
    Thanks for the Fairy Cake recipe..nothing complicated but so pretty.
    I love the tea towel..and to use it for a tray cover is just perfect. I plan to embroider some tea towels and bread cloths for gifts. Now I'm looking for those 'kitcheny' patterns to stamp on the cloth.

  25. Well, we have come to feel like you are a friend... albeit on the other side of the world from some of us. :)

    How much I would enjoy just stopping by for a cup of tea and one of these delicious treats. Of course, that would be one long commute.

    I'd love to hear sometime how you and your hubby decide priorities ... such as what projects to work on next, what is the most important items to place in the budget, etc.

  26. I wish you were my mother-in-law...

    cheers Lenny/Kate

  27. I haven't made fairy cakes for ages - thanks for the idea. I have a few friend coming for morning tea tomorrow and these will be a lovely treat!

  28. It's very late here ~ and I am on my way to bed. However, I had to just comment before turning the computer off for the night.
    Rhonda... you are a gem! Your blog is a blessing and a haven. I have learned so much from you ~ thank you! I always sigh a deep contented sigh when I visit your blog ~ like I'm home and curling up in a comfy chair. Only a handful of blogs are in my "favorites" for this very reason.
    So ~ HUGE HUGS to you and a wish for sweet sleep to you and yours this night!

  29. We always called them butterfly cakes too. I think my DD would prefer fairy cakes though. I really must make her some soon.

  30. I agree with Lizzie, these are butterfly cakes in the UK and un-winged ones are fairy cakes. Isn't it funny how the different names have developed?! Yummy wherever you are in the world and thanks for the hint about making the tops rise a bit more - fantastic!
    Carolyn, Birmingham UK

  31. We call them butterfly cakes as well, but fairy cakes sounds soooo much better! We also add mashed strawberries so the butter cream is a little pink...mmmm mmmmm!! :)
    And I love that towel your sister made, it's really cute!!
    (thanks for stopping by on my blog! It was nice to see a little comment from you!)
    Have a wonderful day!

  32. Those fairy cakes look so delicious Rhonda, I will have to make some for my little girl, who loves her cupcakes, well the icing, and a bite or two of the actual cake.
    If you are still taking suggestions on post topics, I'd love to know what brands of cosmetics, hair colouring, skin care etc. that you may use or recommend. Thank you.

  33. Thank you for the recipe. Yours are always delicious! Love the tea towel. I have a question about gardening: we have grubs that are destroying some of the plants. Milky Spore is expensive. Is there any other 'organic' way to get rid of them that won't cost too much?

  34. Thank you, thank you for that recipe, I have been waiting for that like a kid in a candy store! I've never made butter cream frosting before either, but it sure looks like that will be right up my alley also (and my daughter's :-))!

    I second somebodies request for hearing about how it all began!

  35. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe Rhonda Jean, I can't wait to try these...
    I love the tea towel that your sister made you...so cute!
    Wishing you sweet and simple joys!

  36. Congratulations Rhonda on reaching number one in the Top 100 Australian Women Bloggers, I have been there in the past, but obviously missed the big excitement. Thanks for putting the link in your sidebar.

  37. My husband and I homeschool our girls. We just had our very first tea party with friends. It was so much fun. The fairy cakes are a perfect idea for our next tea party. I love your blog. Our family is trying to make our lives so much slower and more in touch. We have gotten 5 hens, a rooster, and 2 cats in the last year. We are now living where we have a very large garden. I am so pleased with the changes in the last year for our family. Thanks for all the great tips to use on our road to return to simplicity!

  38. Oh man do these look good. I am definitely going to try making them. One question though. Can I leave out the lemon? My children HATE lemons in baked goods.


Comments with links or email addresses won't be published. All spam and business advertising will be deleted.

Children read my blog so I always make sure the information here is family-friendly. I don't publish comments containing links or email addresses now because I don't have time to check them.

All comments in English, please. Thank you.