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Cupcakes / Fairycakes - Need Help!

(21 Posts)
rebelmum72 Sat 11-Oct-08 16:07:12

Now, I'm not at all bad at cooking and baking, but I am having difficulties making fairy cakes which do not look and taste like they have been baked by a half-blind chimpanzee with no taste-buds

I have tried every bloody recipe I can find, and there is always at least one of the following problems, or an "interesting" combination thereof:

- too brown on the outside, so rather nasty looking
- not cooked on the inside
- pointy Madonna-bra-style bit in the middle which means icing is impossible
- way-too-sweet icing that is indedible
- messy icing that either doesn't go to the edges of the cupcakes or goes over and drips down the sides
- really bleurgh what the hell is this supposed to be taste

This is the recipe which I keep seeing everywhere and IS NOT WORKING for me:

125g butter or margerine
125g caster sugar (cannot BELIEVE this is right, I couldn't even swallow a bit of the batter is was so sweet)
2 eggs
125g s-r flour

I should point out that I do not have s-r flour, but I have used the substitute that I use for everything else that I bake which uses s-r flour, so do not think that is the problem.

Baked at 180°C for anywhere between 15 and 20mins.

What I don't understand is that I make just the most gorgeous muffins in various flavours, which I am constantly asked for the recipe for, and yet I cannot make a bloody fairy cake!
Please, please help! I would so like to take in a batch of lovely little fairy cakes for playgroup when I'm next due to do snacks.

Lubyloo Sat 11-Oct-08 16:14:23

I do the same recipe as you but add vanilla essence and some milk to loosen the mixture. Mine normally have pointy tops which I just slice off to ice.

As for the icing dripping down the side problem - I think the trick is to use muffin cases which are bigger so that the fairy cake sits below the top of the case. You can then ice and the icing is contained!

ClosedForCleaning Sat 11-Oct-08 16:17:22

That's a classic victoria sponge recipe and should be fine. Do you then thin the mixture with water or milk to dropping consistency? They're rising well, so you must be doing most things right. My first guess would be that the oven temperature is too high - possibly your temperature gauge is not very accurate. I think that can cause them to dome a lot, as well as brown on the outside but remain undercooked inside.

As for icing, I'm still working on that bit!

rebelmum72 Sat 11-Oct-08 16:17:48

But I do use muffin cases - what else is there? And they always come up to at least the top of the case when cooked, if not higher.

And if you slice the pointy bits off, don't you get really uneven icing with crumbs in it? [she asks, already knowing the answer as she is the ONLY BLOODY PERSON IN THE WORLD who cannot make a farking fairy cake]

Ok, stupid question now - how do you make your icing? And how much do you make to ice 12 fairy cakes?

pinkteddy Sat 11-Oct-08 16:18:52

Dh makes fantastic fairy cakes. He usually uses this recipe:

100g margarine or butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla essence

Baked at 180 for 20 mins.

So very similar recipe to yours. I think you do need to use self raising flour FWIW.

As for the icing - if you use a cream cheese icing its not quite as sickly. Use 50g butter, 225g icing sugar and 100g cream cheese. Add 1sp vanilla essence. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until crumbly, then stir in cream cheese. Spread over cakes - yum! Hope this is of some help!smile

Lubyloo Sat 11-Oct-08 16:21:48

You can get the smaller bun cases which I used to use until I discovered that muffin cases stopped the icing running over and looked a lot neater.

You need to use a really sharp knife and make sure the cake is completely cold before you cut the top off. That way you should have a lovely flat top. I've never got crumbs in the icing - sorry blush

As for the icing I just bung a load of icing sugar in a bowl and add warm water until it is the right consistency.

rebelmum72 Sat 11-Oct-08 16:22:44

Oooh, hadn't really thought about oven temp, but you may be onto something there....I guess I'd need an oven thermometer to check it?

meridian Sat 11-Oct-08 16:25:36

sorry about your cupcake woes.. I never bother abotu there beign ones that rise to full.. those are reserved for my DH who goes all homer simpson on me when I have been making cupcakes..

my best icing recipe is


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla in a bowl and slowly add in the powdered sugar as you mix. Blend until smooth and ice the cupcakes. add a cocoa a little at a time until you have the right amount to your taste.. normal a few teaspoons will do..

onceinalifetime Sat 11-Oct-08 16:26:08

Have you got a fan oven? They usually need to be a bit lower.

rebelmum72 Sat 11-Oct-08 16:27:34

Aaargh, this is just confirming what I thought - I am doomed! How can I not be able to make these?

I can't get s-r flour here, and iirc don't the american version for cupcakes use normal flour with baking powder, so it should be ok...I can make a sponge just fine

rebelmum72 Sat 11-Oct-08 16:29:49

Meridian, those are beautiful....and I am now deeply depressed.... (wink)

meridian Sat 11-Oct-08 16:45:02

rebel-- I use SR or plain flour with baking powder... if you can make a sponge you can make a cupcake.. its basically the same thing.. just portioned out into smaller sizes...

the recipe I use most is a basic american "Yellow" cake recipe.. so a sponge.. but with more vanilla extract in it...

I have to make a shed load of cupcakes in a few weeks for DS's birthday.. its a halloween theme so the cupcakes will be black and orange... with plastic spiders of course...

DforDiva Sat 11-Oct-08 16:48:49

meriden and other experts, is there any other topping ideas? dh does not eat cream cheese and butter. how to make icing not too sweet?

meridian Sat 11-Oct-08 17:01:07

you can do a plain butter cream icing that is just butter and icing sugar... its sweer than one with cream cheese though... or just icing sugar and water/milk/soymilk/coconut milk.... and whaever flavoring that you like... I often do a butter cream with lime juice in... sort of a key lime pie flavoured cupcake..

or you can jsut spread nutella on.. its a quick fix but its DH's favourite topping..

or jsut melt chocolate with a little sugar butter and cream... and dribble it on..lake a ganache

DforDiva Sat 11-Oct-08 17:32:34

just checked link and love nutella topping and love blog, i have jar of nutella that need using, and i have school fayre coming soon.
hats off for cupcake comp winner. do you use nuffin cases or normal cake cases.

SqueakyPop Sun 12-Oct-08 19:32:10

The pointy Madonna bit is standard. If you want to ice them, you slice the tops off (and eat the trimmings) and then you have a nice flat surface.

MommyHasaHeadache Sun 12-Oct-08 19:49:26

Rebel - I had problems with my cupcakes being a little dry and overcooked, and it turned out that using the fan setting of the oven was the problem. Not saying you are doing this, but just in case!

MommyHasaHeadache Sun 12-Oct-08 19:50:26

Oh and Meridian - I HEART your cupcakes! They look gorgeous!

stealthsquiggle Sun 12-Oct-08 19:59:15

Haven't read it all - but I use the same recipe as the OP but with vanilla essence and a couple of tablespoons of milk added.

I cook them in muffin cases. For mini bite size ones I use mini muffin cases and a lower oven temp - the recipe makes about 44 of those.

pointy Madonna-bra style tops are (IME) inevitable on at least some of every batch - I just trim them off (and eat them grin) before icing.

I will post piccie of DD's birthday cupcakes shortly (well, tomorrow, cos my card reader is not to hand and I am lazy tired).

stealthsquiggle Sun 12-Oct-08 20:02:05

Just saw the overflowing icing problem bit - the recipe should make 11-12 cakes - are you being too generous? That should leave plenty of room for icing once the top is trimmed flat

(I find a little peeling knife best for trimming tops without dislodging the cake case or getting crumbs in the icing)

Icing - I use tate&lyle royal icing sugar - beat it well when making it - then be generous to get a flat layer.

meridian Mon 13-Oct-08 11:51:36

thank you everyone for your lovely comments abut my cupcakes.. grin

I made some banana and pecan muffins this morning thats probably as close to cupcakes as I will be getting until DS' birthday in a few weeks...

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