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Here I write about the things I love, the places I’ve been to, the interesting people I’ve met, the recipes I’ve tried and also some sewing tutorials & tales from the Sewing Room.
It's that blackberry time of year again and I've been using mine in fruit flapjacks (recipe coming soon) and ice cream. My most recent culinary experiment were these yummy Blackberry Fairy Cakes.
I'm not one for complicated recipes that require lots of ingredients. This cake recipe is one that my mum has used for as long as I can remember. You can of course use any sponge cake recipe if you have a favourite. The topping is surprisingly simple - honestly! By adding cream cheese to a buttercream icing you'll get a lighter topping. Fairy cakes are smaller than the American cupcakes, which surely means less fat and less sugar!
For 24 Fairy Cakes you will need:
8oz / 225g margarine
8oz / 225g caster sugar
8oz / 225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
24 blackberries (optional)
The Blackberry Topping
6oz / 170g unsalted butter - room temperature.
6oz / 170g icing sugar (sifted, ....but I forgot and it still worked).
6oz / 170g Philadelphia cream cheese (I read that other brands can go a bit runny when beaten. I ignored that bit of advice for another recipe & learnt that it's true. The small tubs of Philadelphia are 180g, so you can either just add the extra 10g in....or eat it).
15-30 blackberries (blackberries have quite a subtle flavour, so the more blackberries you use the deeper the colour and more flavour. Too many will make the topping runny).
24 blackberries (optional - for putting on the top of the finished fairy cakes).
Making the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan oven) and place 24 paper fairy cake cases on to a baking tray or a bun/muffin tray.
2. Put ALL the ingredients in the food mixer and mix for a few minutes. You might like to mix the margarine and sugar together first and then add all the other ingredients, but it's not really necessary. Don't forget to stop the mixer halfway through and stir any ingredients that might have got stuck at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
3. Spoon the mix into the paper cases until they're just under a half full. If you have enough blackberries them drop one on to the centre of each little cake. The blackberries will sink down as the cake cooks.
This cake mix had an extra yolk in it, as one of the eggs was a double-yolker !
4. Pop in the oven and bake for about 15-20mins. The tops will be a pale gold colour if they're ready & will spring back if you press them lightly. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
This batch could have done with an extra couple of minutes, but I had to take them out early as I was late for the school run - ooops ! Fortunately, they tasted fine :)
Making the topping
1. Blend the blackberries with a hand-processor. Using a spoon push the blackberry puree through a sieve and into a small bowl. Set the bowl aside.
2. Mix the butter and icing sugar for a couple of minutes in a food mixer, until it is quite fluffy. Add the cream cheese to the mix a spoonful at a time. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl a couple of times, to make sure everything is mixed in well.
3. Pour in the sieved blackberry juice and continue to mix. You may like to add a bit at a time. The shades of "blackberry" are absolutely gorgeous and better than any artificial colouring !
4. When the topping is thoroughly mixed, pop into the fridge for at least 1hour. By chilling the mix before decorating the cakes, you'll have a firmer topping to ice the cakes with. This can even be left overnight if you want to make it the day before.
1. I used a piping bag and a #1M Wilton icing nozzle. It's so quick and effective: just a quick swirl. Other icing nozzles will be fine or you can simply put a teaspoon of icing on each cake and smooth it with a knife (or even a fork, for a bit of texture). If you're going to spread your icing, rather than pipe it, then there's no need to chill the topping first.
Place your icing bag in a jam jar or glass and roll down the sides of the bag. It will be easier to fill and you won't get icing stuck all the way up the inside of the icing bag.
2. If you havent used up (or eaten) all of your blackberries then use them to decorate the top of your fairy cakes.
I didnt have any blackberries for the tops of my first batch, as the punnet I'd picked that afternoon, from my parents' garden, fell off the roof of my car as I drove home. N.B. do NOT put anything on the roof of the car, whilst strapping a child in.
3. Pop the finished cakes in the fridge, so the icing can firm-up again.
4. Eat and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.
♥ No topping, instead drop 2 or 3 fresh blackberries into the cake cases just before they go into the oven
♥ Use raspberries instead of blackberries - just imagine how pretty the topping will look!
♥ Try a lemon topping, by using some freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the blackberries (thank you, Natasha, for that idea) and grate some of the lemon rind into the cake mix.
***Please note I have no training or qualifications in cooking. I'm just a mum experimenting with either my own recipes or other people's (who I will always credit). Feel free to add your own tips, comments and how your version of this turned out. So sorry, but I can't reply to individual comments - I'd love to , but the webhosts dont allow it at the moment. I can write general replies though.