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Fairies & cups make magic cakes

May 3, 2008

You say tomatoe (just imagine the yankee accent 😉 ) I say tomato (and a brit one here). The same could go for cupcakes or as us Brits call them fairy cakes. I was doing some research for my next cookery class. The theme is cupcakes which is all the rage in Paris and I found a few interesting titbits…

According to the “The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America”, cupcakes were originally just small cakes minus the icing, that came in the 1950s. The “cup” derived from two origins:
1. The switch from weighing to using cup measurements in the 19th century American households.
2. The practice of baking in small containers or cups. Large cakes were often burnt in the the hearth ovens.

Brits use the term “fairy cakes”, as you normally scoop out the top, fill that with buttercream and jam and then cut the top into two wings which you place on top. Hence them looking slightly fairy like. I would normally call those butterfly cakes and all the plain iced cakes, fairy cakes.

Anyway, at the end of the day they taste delicious and bring back memories of sticky little fingers at birthday parties (well, that is if you had an anglophone childhood).

By the way thanks a mil to all those who wished me luck for my muffin class. It went very well. We even had a waiting list for the class. Everyone seemed happy and went home with their little goody box of muffins and muffin secrets. If you’re on Facebook, you can check out the pictures on the La Cocotte group page.

Fairy cakes/cup cakes/small cake

recipe inspired by Donna Hay (my food styling hero 😉 )

125g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
60ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence. Beat in one egg at the time. Sift the flour into the mixture and then add the milk. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes bounce bake when touched or the skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.

Dulcheese frosting/icing

75g cream cheese
125g ricotta
200g dulce de leche

Sprinkles/decoration/chopped walnuts

Combine all the ingredients. Spoon into a piping bag. Pipe onto cupcake and sprinkle on decorations. Eat immediately or put in fridge (take out 10 minutes before consuming).

Here’s my pick of cupcake books:

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12 comments

  1. I’ve resisted the cupcake wagon for a long time, thinking that they were slightly overrated but there is something so adorable about them that can’t be denied! I was planning on making them last night for a friend, then waivered, but after seeing your cute little ones up there, I am back on board. Glad to hear that all went well with La Cocette! Hopefully next time I can gather enough money to make the transatlantic flight and visit La Cocette!


  2. oh my rachel you are killing me. this looks so fantastic. i love the dulce de leche frosting. i’d be licking off the frosting from all of the cupcakes!!


  3. Dulche de leche frosting? Yes. Yes. A hundred times yes.


  4. This frosting looks so wonderful!


  5. In any language, I would say YUM!


  6. Looks cute an delicious,I must try the fosting, love the combination


  7. I am always amazed at the rantings and ravings over Delce de Leche, because here in SA people will not blink twice over it. It is delicious though and your cup(fairy) cakes look so divine….


  8. YUMMMMMMMMMM! These look so divine…oh my goodness, my mouth is just watering.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go


  9. I love cupcakes; so easy to make! But then mine are nowhere near as pretty as this…


  10. […] it certainly feels like that there are a whole load of cupcake junkies out there at the moment. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that everybody in Paris is cupcake crazy. Well the proof has definetly been in […]


  11. Amanda – jump on the bandwagon! They’re way too much fun to not. Everyone was having a great time decorating their cupcakes at “Pimp my cupcakes”. So much so they didn’t want to stop.

    Meeta, Indigo, Alejandra & Jerry – Just a shame you guys live so far away, otherwise you could have popped by for the tasting session 😉

    Sylvia – Let me know how it goes if you do try out the frosting. Love to hear your feedback.

    Natalie – Thanks, hope you didn’t damage your keyboard with your dribbles 😛

    Scott – I’m sure your cupcakes would look as just as pretty! The secret is not to go too crazy with the sprinkles.


  12. je ne savais pas qu’une des Cocotte(s) avait son tablier en ligne, je me régale d’avance devant ces cupcakes so cutes, et j’espère pouvoir faire un saut pour choper des Dulce de leche lors de mon prochain voyage à Paris.



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