Springtime Fairy Cakes

It is officially spring and we are celebrating with these sweet little springtime fairy cakes.

Springtime fairy cakes

What are fairy cakes?

Unlike their American cupcake counterparts, fairy cakes in the UK are smaller and lighter - like a delicate little fairy. The cakes themselves are a light sponge and are topped with a simple glaze. American cupcakes by comparison, are larger and more substantial, often including a filling and topped with clouds of buttercream - delicious in their own right, but different.

Sometimes you will find fairy cakes with the tops trimmed and cut in half. The trimmed tops are angled on top of the cakes like little wings, reinforcing the fairy cake image.

Springtime fairy cakes

How to make fairy cakes

These fairy cakes have a light vanilla crumb, similar to a Victoria Sponge cake. The cake liners are filled no more than ¾ full - the tops should be nicely rounded but not towering like a cupcake.

Some recipes will fill the cakes with a little jam or cream. We chose to keep these simple and unfilled.

Rather than a buttercream, these cakes are glazed with a lightly lemony icing made of powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, and milk, no butter.

Simply decorated

In keeping with the springtime theme, we found pretty paper liners to hold the fairy cakes and topped them with festive sprinkles.

Springtime fairy cakes

A note about baking tin sizes

The smaller size of fairy cakes may be in part to the size of the baking tin. In the UK there are smaller tins that are typically used for fairy cakes. The cupcake tins in the US are often referred to as muffin tins by comparison. The smaller UK tins, however, are not as small as the mini-muffin tins used in the US.

For this recipe we are using standard American cupcake/muffin tins.

Happy Spring!