Melbourne Cup Day. An excuse for a get together, and in my case, an office get together. I volunteered to help organise, and we opted for a bring-a-plate type affair. So of course I felt I had to bring something spectacular. No pressure, no pressure.
I have never really gotten into horse racing. I have been to the races a few times, but I get bored. I am not really into gambling. I don’t like to drink a lot. I didn’t even watch the race the stops the nation itself. And several of my Facebook friends posted extensively about the animal cruelty associated with horse raising. I gave me pause to think. Yet it is still an event: I did enjoy getting dressed up and having a bit of fun with my colleagues, and I enjoyed baking my Nana’s fairy cakes to take. I like the way the Cup brings people together.
My Nana was a wonderful cook. (She is still alive, just not really able to cook anymore.) Long before cup cakes became über trendy, she used to make these and serve them every week as the piece de resistance of her sumptuous morning tea. Of course, she would get out the good China teacups and saucers (Royal Albert, of course) and there would be the ritual of pouring the tea and serving the guests. She made everyone feel like royalty.
These are a simple recipe, but they taste good. Not all cupcakes do. There is nothing worse than eagerly biting into an elaborate and beautiful cupcake only to discover it tastes like sawdust, or worse, that it is sickly sweet. I don’t have the talent to make elaborately iced cakes, but at least using this recipe the cake itself tastes good.
I like to make fairy cakes in patty pan cases, i.e. about a third of the size of cupcakes and using only a generous dessertspoon full of batter to each one. I think that this makes for a more elegant look, and is also good for children who might not have big appetites. And for adults, too, if they are selecting from a feast at a pot luck function (as I was).
1/3 cup sugar (75g)
½ teas vanilla (preferably extract)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (125g) self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour, beating constantly. Slowly add the milk, and beat a further two or three minutes until the entire mixture is pale.
- Spoon mixture into patty pan cases, which have been placed in muffin trays or patty pan trays. Bake at 150c for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Up to a teaspoon hot water to mix (optional)
- Combine the butter with the icing sugar, and gradually add the hot water until you have reached the desired consistency. The mixture should be soft enough to be able to spread them ontop of the fairy cakes. Add a few drops of food colour if desired and mix to ensure an even colour. Add more icing sugar as required if the mixture is too thin.
- Using a smooth knife or small spatula, gently spread the mixture on top of the fairy cakes. You can dip the knife or spatula into a cup of hot water if you want a smoother result, but this is not necessary. Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands, coloured sugar crystals, or purpose made sugar cupcake toppers. Or in the case of these, top with roses. (Ensure that no pesticides have been used on the roses.)
Makes around a dozen
Self raising flour 15c
Icing sugar 60c
Total: $2.11 or 18c each