Gastronomically Terrific

January 27, 2016

Ladybird cupcakes

Filed under: Cake, child-friendly, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 1:31 pm

I hadn’t really intended to do any baking, but I was at home with my kids and my son was asking if we could bake something. So after having a hunt through one of my recipe books, I found a couple of things I had the ingredients for. I asked my son which he would prefer to make, and he chose ladybird cupcakes. I was worried he had picked them because of the red ladybirds (red being his favourite colour) The only thing I didn’t have was red icing (although I had a myriad of other colours to use up). I warned him this was the case, and he didn’t seem to mind.

The cakes themselves were incredibly easy to make – just your bog standard vanilla fairy cakes. The icing wasn’t too tough either – good news for us, as my son is only three. In order to make the ladybirds, we cut out circles of skin-coloured icing and fixed them to the top of the cake. Then we used chocolate-brown icing to make heads and the spots (by squishing small balls flat), and the tails (by rolling small pieces into tubes). We used tiny pieces of white icing for the mouths, and I happened to have some of those tiny necklace sweeties hanging around, which made great eyes.

Not a difficult bake, but the end result was pretty effective. And if you have a fairly patient and willing three-year-old, this is one they can help with!

Who made it: Anna and Joe

Recipe: Fairy Cakes by Joanna Farrow, pg. 18



January 30, 2015

Christmas garland fairy cakes

Filed under: Cake, Christmas — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 9:58 am

Another pretty easy bake, I made these a few days before Christmas as a back-up for the days after Christmas Day when my family would still be visiting, but all the tasty Christmas food would be running low. I made them and froze them with the intention of defrosting them on Boxing Day.

As it turned out, they really weren’t needed. After Christmas Day there were plenty of cakes and chocolate in the house without the need for these to be added. So we waited, and defrosted them in January when we had friends visiting.

The cakes themselves are just simple fairy cakes with added cranberries to make them feel a little more festive. They took all of ten minutes to make and 15 minutes to bake before being put in the freezer.

The intention, before serving them, was to add icing sugar with a pattern in it, so that the cakes looked like they had holly on top. I have done this before, and it does look pretty good. However, because we were no longer serving these for a special occasion I decided not to bother. Thankfully it didn’t alter the taste of the cakes significantly – they still tasted pretty good. And at least it wasn’t more chocolate!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Fairy Cakes, Joanna Farrow, pg. 27

October 15, 2010

Christmas Garland Cupcakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:49 pm

These are fruity cupcakes, spread with apricot jam and sprinkled with icing sugar in a decorative pattern.


Christmas powered cupcakes. So what that it is only October? We're practicing!


To make about 8 fruity fairy cakes, mix:

50g margarine

50g light muscovado sugar

70g self raising flour

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

40g dried fruit (we used cranberries here)

in a bowl, spoon into paper cases and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius (or until risen and just firm).  When cool, spread thinly with apricot jam, cut a piece of baking paper into the shape of a holly leaf and place in the middle of each cake before sprinkling with icing sugar.

These cakes clearly have the Christmas look and are pretty tasty too, though as with all cupcakes should be eaten as quickly as possible after baking.  I’m serious: they are divine for about 2 hours, amazing for a day, fine for a further day and simply tasty for another couple of days.  You wouldn’t choose food that was just “fine” over food that was “amazing” would you?  So get them down you on day one!

Mmmm, cake.

Who made it: Entirely Anna (I’ve been chastised for claiming to “assist” when all that means is licking the bowl and doing some washing up.  I’ve got to be careful unless I get punished…)

Recipe: “Fairy cakes” by Joanna Farrow, page 27.

April 10, 2010

Easter Nests

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:40 am

The last of our Easter Treats this year, these “fairy cakes” are so good they taste otherworldly.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate makes a perfect combination.

I can’t quite figure out what it is about these fairy cakes that makde them so morish.  Perhaps Anna went overboard with the cocoa.  Perhaps the combination of sweet chocolate on top complements the slightly bitter cocoa in the cake.  Perhaps these were cooked to exact perfection.  Whatever the reason, there was something special about these guys that made it difficult not to stuff all 6 in my mouth in one go.

These are just ordinary chocolate fairy cakes, covered in chocolate buttercream, sprinked with chocolate flake and of course decorated with chocolate eggs.  OK, that is four types of yummy chocolate right there – perhaps that is the reason.  Anyway, I’m tempted to insist that these are a very summery type of cake this year…

Who made it: All Anna’s handiwork.

Recipe: Fairy Cakes, by Joanna Farrow, page 34.

March 19, 2010

Ducks, Chicks and Bunnies

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:08 pm

These fairy cakes are (inexpertly) decorated with Easter themes – because its Spring now!

(whispered) And here, through the undergrowth, we catch a glimpse of that rarest of creature, the lesser spotted icing duck. To avoid predators, they are often found with other grazers, such as the red eyed sugar rabbit. However, here approaches that most dangerous of predator, the Dan. The grazers continue, unaware of their fate.

So these guys are simple fairy cakes with butter icing, decorated to make them fun and Eastery with coloured butter icing and small bits of cherry.  There isn’t much more to say than that really, except that butter icing is actually quite easy to pipe (despite appearances!)

Who made it: Anna made me do everything whilst standing over me and giving detailed instructions.  We both piped the animals, 3 each.. bonus points to anyone who can tell which is which!

Recipe: “Fairy cakes” by Joanna Farrow, page 36.

March 15, 2010

Frosted Primrose Cakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:45 pm

These yummy fairy cakes are coated in a white chocolate frosting.

Is there a circumstance where more chocolate is not better?

There isn’t too much to say about these guys – take fairy cakes, which are mighty yummy, and coat them in white chocolate magic goo.  Unsurprisingly the result tastes very pleasing indeed.  The decorations are because its Mothers Day – Anna made these for her Mum who was fortunately visiting us on the day itself.

The cakes were literally dripping in icing – we poured it on until it wouldn’t stay any more.  Every time I moved them for a photo, I got deliciously sticky fingers, so the process took some time…

Who made it: this was all Anna.  All I did was lick the bowl, but its OK because I licked it for maybe 10 minutes until it was clean and then didn’t want dinner.

Recipe: “Fairy Cakes”, by Joanna Farrow, page 42.

February 14, 2010

Love Heart Fairy Cakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:54 pm

For Valentines Day Anna surprised me with

Love Hearts

Which are fairy cakes coated in icing and decorated with, well, hearts!  We all know how yummy fairy cakes are when fresh, and the presentation here adds something a little special.

The Marks and Spencers Chocolate Hearts on top are really tasty!

Anna actually made two types: the chocolate heart and silver ball design above, and a red marzipan heart:

Anna had to keep me out of the kitchen whilst making them, so she couldn't wait for the red food colouring to dry...

We’re never that successful at using food colourings to make things look professional – here the problem was that the red colouring in the marzipan wasn’t dry.  To get it right it needs to have a couple of hours in the fridge but of course Anna couldn’t keep me out of the kitchen that long 🙂

These are tasty as you’d expect, and extremely moreish. For “research” purposes we had shop bought cakes at lunchtime, and they weren’t a patch on these!  Fresh fairy cakes are a magical thing.

Side note: I figured out how to use manual focus on our camera, producing better results I think (top picture).  This is my first food photography that I’ve been happy with.

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: “Fairy Cakes” by Joanna Farrow, page 31.  Though really you don’t need a recipe because google knows how to make fairy cakes and the decoration has to use whatever you have!

January 22, 2010

Christmas flavoured fairy cakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:47 pm

Fairy cakes come in all shapes and sizes.  So next Christmas why not try:

Mini Christmas Cakes

A “Fruit and nut” variation on the standard fairy cake, when coated in royal icing and decorated accordingly these cakes have all the good bits of Christmas Cake with the best of fairy cakes.  Not as heavy or stodgy as their bigger, jolly cousin, they are still more substantial than an ordinary fairy cake and keep a lot better.

Christmas Fairy Cakes

Left: Icing sugar inverse holly leaf. Top and Right: Mini Christmas Cakes coated with marzipan, royal icing and sugar decorations.

These were boxed up attractively and given as a Christmas gift to a family member (Hi Tony!), along with some standard fairy cakes in a variety of decoration schemes.  I can’t speak for his opinion, but we’ve made these before and they are really tasty.  The nuts help create a more complex flavour, but it is important not put in too many bitter varieties to keep the taste sweet.

These obviously belong in with the December posts but these were delayed due to bad weather… there was the wrong type of snow on the internet wires or something.  Oh yes – I was worried the snowmen in the field would come and get me if they saw their poor doomed friend above.

Who made it: Anna made the cake, and insists Dan helped by cleaning up the leftovers. That is not true, of course, but I better not tell her that..

Recipe: “Fairy Cakes”, by Joanna Farrow, page 30.

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