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Frances Atkins' party fairy cakes recipe

Frances Atkins' party fairy cakes recipe

19 ratings

These lovely fairy cakes will definitely bring out the creative side in the kids. Create your own bespoke pieces of edible art for the whole family to enjoy. See method

  • Serves 16
  • 1 hr 40 mins to prepare and 20 mins to cook
  • 582 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


For the sponge mix

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs

For the frosting base

  • 190g butter, softened
  • 500g icing sugar

For the blackcurrant frosting

  • 40ml blackcurrant cordial or squash

For the vanilla and cream cheese frosting

  • 100g low-fat cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

For the maple frosting

  • 50ml maple syrup

For the decorations

  • 200g marzipan, at room temperature
  • 1 red food colouring
  • 1 blue food colouring
  • 1 green food colouring
  • yellow food colouring
  • edible stars (optional)
  • hundreds and thousands (optional)
  • edible glitter (optional)
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    31g 44%
  • Saturates

    17g 86%
  • Sugars

    61g 67%
  • Salt

    0.3g 5%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 73.3g Protein 8g Fibre 0.8g


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Prepare the regular-sized and mini cupcake tins by lining them with the appropriate sized paper wrappers. Set aside until needed.
  2. To make the sponge mix, add the butter and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream together until fluffy and combined. Add the self-raising flour and baking powder and continue to mix until smooth. Using either an electric mixer or spatula, add the eggs to the sponge base one at a time, mixing to combine with each addition. Use a spoon to gently fill the cupcake casings ¾ of the way up- if the kids are careful they can definitely take over once you've shown them how!
  3. Bake the fairy cakes in the oven for 20 minutes, but take out the smaller cupcakes after 12 mins and set aside on a wire rack to cool. To check that the cupcakes are cooked all the way through, insert a metal skewer - it should come out clean with no raw sponge mix on it. After the full 20 mins, remove the large cupcakes from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make the frosting base, use either an electric hand-whisk or spatula to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the icing sugar on a slow speed until incorporated - don't forget to let your little helpers have a little taste of the delicious frosting!
  5. To make each different flavour of frosting, place the ingredients for the blackcurrant frosting, vanilla and cream cheese frosting and maple frosting in 3 separate bowls. Divide the frosting base between these bowls and mix each well so that the flavours are incorporated into the frosting base. Once the cupcakes have cooled, you can begin the process of transforming them into fairy cakes.
  6. Prepare 3 piping bags with ½cm nozzles, filling each with a different flavour of topping. Get the kids involved in decorating the cupcakes with the icing – if you wish you can use a spatula instead to achieve a more rustic effect.
  7. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and split the marzipan into four even blocks. If you do not have gloves, you can create a makeshift version by putting sandwich bags around your hands while you complete the next steps – the aim is to prevent your hands from staining! Shape one of the blocks of marzipan into a ball. Using your finger, make a deep indentation in the ball without pressing all the way through. Shake a couple of drops of food colouring into the hole and pinch to close the food colouring inside the marzipan.
  8. Use your hands to knead to marzipan, working until the food colouring is thoroughly distributed throughout the marzipan and it is one solid colour. Feel free to repeat the process with more food colouring for a more vibrant finish.
  9. Repeat with the other three pieces of marzipan and other colours until you have four different coloured blocks of marzipan. Ensure you cover the marzipan you're not using with a cloth to prevent it from drying out. This step is ideal for the kids – let them get creative with the marzipan, making a range of shapes such as animals, snowmen, stars or swirls. Use these shapes to further decorate the fairy cakes.
  10. To decorate the cakes even more, top with your choice of edible decorations such as stars, hundreds and thousands or edible glitter. Serve on a tired cupcake stand. You can freeze cupcakes in an airtight container (before they have been decorated), for up to a month. They can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place for 2-3 days – after this time they will not be as fresh.

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