These easy chocolate chip fairy cakes are perfect for children’s parties or any occasion where you need a quick dessert that will appeal to everyone! This recipe will yield 12 fairy cakes or 32 mini fairy cakes.
What Are Fairy Cakes?
Fairy cakes are small British cupcakes that are traditionally composed of butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour and flavorings. They can be decorated with icing made by adding hot water to powdered (icing) sugar.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Basic ingredients: No need for fancy ingredients for fairy cakes! You probably already have everything you’ll need.
- Incredibly easy: All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl then fill the cupcake pan. Seriously, as simple as that! And one bowl equals minimal dishwashing! Can’t beat that!
- Customizable: Flavorings, add-ins and presentation are completely up to you. You can ice the fairy cakes if you’d like, decorate them with sprinkles etc.
- Perfect for kids: Fairy cakes are ideal for kid’s birthday parties. They are just the perfect size for young guests and the birthday kid can have fun preparing them.
- Butter: Unsalted butter for richness, flavor and tenderness. The butter should be softened at room temperature. If it’s too cold, you’ll have trouble mixing all the ingredients together. If you forgot to take it out ahead of time, cut it up into small pieces and place it in the microwave in 5 second increments to soften it. Just take care not to melt it or your fairy cakes might become very greasy!
- Sugar: White granulated sugar for sweetness, tenderness and color.
- Eggs: For structure, flavor and moisture. You’ll need eggs which weigh around 50 g (1.8 oz.) without the shell (large size in the US, medium in Europe).
- Flour: To give structure to the cake. These fairy cakes are made with plain flour (all-purpose flour). If you’d like to use self-raising flour instead, simply omit the baking powder when making the recipe.
- Baking powder: For rise. If you’re using self-raising flour, you won’t need it.
- Flavorings and add-ins: This recipe calls for vanilla extract, orange zest, chocolate chips and a little bit of salt to enhance all the flavors. Feel free to use or omit whatever you like.
How to Make Fairy Cakes
This recipe is enough to make 12 fairy cakes or 32 mini cakes. I will usually make 16 mini fairy cakes with half the batter. While those are baking in the oven, I’ll use the remaining batter to make 6 large fairy cakes (in a 6-hole cupcake pan). Up to you to decide what you want to make, based on your preferences and available pans!
Prepare the batter
- Before starting, make sure the butter is soft enough by pressing it with a spoon. If it is still firm, heat it in the microwave in 5 second increments, stirring every time to soften it evenly (without melting it).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F, conventional setting). Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with 12 paper cases. If using a mini cupcake pan, generously grease it with butter. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the softened butter, sugar, eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix just until fully combined and smooth. Don’t overmix so the cake doesn’t come out tough.
- Add the chocolate chips and briefly stir to spread them in the batter.
Bake the fairy cakes
- For large fairy cakes: Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cavities of the cupcake pan, filling each about 2/3 of the way. You can use an ice cream scoop with a trigger to easily portion the dough. Spread the batter evenly with the back of a spoon (if needed) and sprinkle with more chocolate chips, if desired.
- For mini fairy cakes: Using two small spoons, fill each cavity about 2/3 of the way (1 heaping teaspoon of batter). Briefly smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.
- Bake in the middle of the oven until puffed up and slightly golden around the edges. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out with a few moist crumbs. This should take about 15-18 minutes for large fairy cakes and 9-11 minutes for mini cakes. Don’t overbake them or they will be dry. They will continue cooking for a little longer even when you take them out of the oven.
- Remove from the oven and briefly cool down in the pan (about 5 minutes). Remove from the pan and cool down completely on a wire rack. To release the mini fairy cakes: Invert the pan over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you notice chocolate chips stuck to the pan you can simply place them back on the cake.
Iced Fairy Cakes
If you’d like to make iced fairy cakes, wait for them to cool down completely before topping them with icing.
- Sift as much powdered (icing) sugar as you’d like over a bowl.
- Add about half a tablespoon of hot water at a time, stirring, until the icing is smooth and spreadable.
- Spread (or drizzle) over the fairy cakes using a small spoon. Decorate as desired.
If you added too much water and the icing is runny, simply add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, keep adding more water.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A fairy cake is usually smaller than a cupcake and is topped with a thin layer of icing instead of swirls of buttercream.
A butterfly cake is a variation of a fairy cake which will usually have cream and jam instead of icing. To make a butterfly cake, the top of the fairy cake is sliced off and cut in two. The cake is then topped with cream and jam, before placing back the two cut pieces in the shape of wings.
When the fairy cakes have completely cooled down, place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature.
And that’s it! I hope you give these homemade fairy cakes a try! You won’t be disappointed!