Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes

Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes
Recipe yields 12 regular size cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 Tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour *
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
(May use 1/2 teaspoon almond extract instead of the suggested 1 tsp.vanilla extract.)

2-3 Tablespoons milk
Directions :
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (I bake them at 375* F)
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking paper cups.

Put all the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel to make for a soft consistency. (I use the full 3 Tablespoons)  It doesn't seem like enough batter, but it will all work out, scrape every bit from the bowl and try to fill each cup equally.
Bake for 15-20 or until they are golden on top. (These are perfectly baked in 14 to 15 minutes @ 375* in my oven) It's best to start checking them at 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack, but remove from the tin as soon as possible.
Before you decorate, if desired, slice off any mounded tops so you have a flat surface to decorate. Some don't cut the mounds off, but with Fairy Cakes, I always do... and the trimmings become cook's treat!

For the Icing ~
Note: Some don't like this icing because it hardens in less than a day. I don't mind because the cakes usually don't last an entire day around my house. They are delicious with a soft buttercream, chocolate ganache, or simply softly whipped cream, too.
Enough for 12 fairy cakes

1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
3-4 drops lemon juice
food coloring, if desired

Mix the sugar, egg white and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and creamy, it should have the consistency of heavy cream. Nigella suggest dividing the batch of icing into smaller portions so you can add different colors to each, if you like.

In the cookbook the "Fairy Cakes" are topped with rosebuds and little sugared daisies and fresh berries, so cute! But allow your imagination to take over, these are so much fun to decorate in a number of ways.

* Note: I make my own self-rising cake* flour, using the following guideline:
Mix the following (in the proportions you need):
For each 1 cup cake flour add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Tips:* For some reason, in my experience, these bake up much more uniformly when I use all-purpose flour, rather than cake flour.

I use the full 3 Tablespoons of milk for best cake results, and always bake these in a 375* (F) preheated oven, not 400*.
My Alternate Frosting suggestion:

Extra creamy Buttercream Frosting

1 stick softened butter (4 ounces)
2 cups confectioner's sugar
Enough heavy cream to loosen
Flavoring of your choice (I used 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the icing shown here)
If you choose to use almond extract reduce amount by a scant 1/2 teaspoon.

Blend all ingredients (except cream) together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Whip on high speed until well mixed and fluffy, gradually adding enough cream to produce the desired consistency for spreading or piping.

Since this frosting contains cream, the frosted cupcakes should be stored in refrigerator until shortly before serving.