Vanilla Fairy Cakes

Vanilla fairy cakes are a childhood staple and a centrepiece at children’s parties.

They also figure in many children’s first experiences of cooking at home or at school, which makes it a shame for those who can’t join in because of food hyper-sensitivities. Here are versions — made easy for little hands — that make it possible for everyone to take part.

Makes 12 Dairy, egg and nut free

170g (6oz) plain flour 1 tbsp baking powder Pinch of salt 140g (5oz) soft light brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp corn or other flavourless nut-free vegetable oil 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 240ml (8fl.oz) water

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/gas4). Line 12 sections of a tartlet tin or small muffin pan with paper fairy cake cases. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Add the remaining ingredients and beat until you have a smooth, liquid batter.

Pour or ladle the batter into the cake cases, filling to just below the top of the case. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until risen and firm to touch.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tip: If you are making these with children, place the batter in a jug or easier pouring into the paper cases.

Gluten-free and also nut-free

3 eggs 140g (5oz) soft, light brown sugar ½ tsp vanilla extract 85g (3oz) butter or margarine, melted 85g (3oz) potato flour 85g (3oz) soya flour 2½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180C (350f/gas4). Line 12 sections of a tartlet tin or small muffin pan with fairy cake cases.

Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Whisk with an electric or balloon whisk until thick and pale and the mixture leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted out of the batter.

Whisking all the time, add the melted butter or margarine in a thin trickle.

Sift the flours and baking powder over the surface. Fold in with a metal spoon, using a figure of eight motion.

Spoon into the cake cases. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until risen and the centres spring back when lightly pressed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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