Nigella Lawson’s fairy cakes recipe

Today I’m sharing with you my attempt at another easy baking recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (my all-time favourite baking bible). These fairy cakes/cupcakes can be done even more easily with a food processor, but I am not that modern, so I’ve done these by hand using Nigella’s instructions for Victoria sponge. This is what they look like when they’re finished (yours will probably look better, as your cake decorating skills are certainly better than my mediocre efforts).


Tip: I highly recommend getting your butter out of the fridge a couple of hours before you start making these. What you lose in spontaneity you will more than make up for with the ease of step 2!

You will need

  • 125g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk
  • Icing sugar (play it by ear how much you make, or use a packet of pre-made royal icing) and food colouring of your choice
  • Decorations of your choice

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line two muffin tins with cases (the ones I’m using are from Cath Kidston), so that you have 12 ready and waiting for the mixture.


Step 2

Cream the butter and sugar together.


Step 3

Add the vanilla extract and then the eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of the flour with each to help mix it in.


Step 4

Mix in the rest of the flour, little by little, and add the milk. Mix until smooth.


Step 5

Spoon the mixture into the cases, ensuring an even amount in each.


Step 6

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.


When cooled slightly, put them on a wire rack to cool properly.


Step 7

When completely cooled, commence icing. You might like to slice off the peaks of the cakes so that the icing doesn’t run off too much. I made three different colours of icing (may have overdone it on the blue food colouring, oops).


At this point I readily admit that while my cakes may taste nice, I’m never going to win any medals for decorating them. Much depends on the consistency of the icing, and I clearly did a better job of the white than I did with the pink and blue ones!

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The end result.

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