I was outside enjoying a day of unseasonably warm weather with the kids. Little Sister spied her other costume for Halloween hanging in the closet. She pointed and twinkled on her toes, giving me the “Mama, I want!” command. It wasn’t long before she pulled her Hello Kitty rain boots on and tromped out the back door in to the sunlight and cool grass. Well, our yard is mostly weeds right now, but it’s a beautiful emerald green and a break from the drought stricken brown turf.
I’ve had a used food processor on Kitchen Toy Island for almost a year. It has been sitting there wondering when it would be of service. The recipe for Fairy Cakes in Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat instructs you to use a processor to make baking that much easier. She notes that these cupcakes are what she whips up in a hurry for parties for her children. We were not having a party but Little Sister’s outfit reminded me of the Fairy Cakes. You can make this recipe even if you haven’t gone to a fancy pastry school.
Adapted from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson
Makes 10-12 regular cupcakes, or 24 mini cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp milk
- (optional) food coloring, I used rose petal for the mini fairy cakes
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF for regular size cupcakes, 350ºF for mini cupcakes.
Add everything but the milk to a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the milk and pulse until it is smooth. Evenly distribute the batter to the tins. You can use paper liners or butter the tins.
Bake the regular size for 15 minutes or the mini size for 12-15 minutes at the specified temperatures. A toothpick should come out clean either way.
I baked the regular size cakes a bit too long and they were dry, I kept a better watch on the minis. Next time I will add some yogurt or sour cream, or cinnamon apple sauce for more moisture.
Remove the cakes to a cooling rack as soon as they come out of the oven. Wait for the cakes to cool completely before frosting them. Feel free to perform quality assurance tests while they cool.
I found this via search and modified it
Makes 2 cups of frosting, plenty for 2 dozen regular cupcakes, or 4 dozen mini cupcakes.
- 1 cup shortening (Crisco)
- 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer (Coffee Mate)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 16 oz confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup water (or coffee if using cocoa)
- (optional) 2 Tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
Start with a little water (or coffee) at first and add up to 1/2 cup until you reach the consistency you desire. Blend in a food processor or with a handheld mixer until fluffy. Instead of cocoa you could add food coloring for matching frosting to the cake color.
The great thing about this frosting it that you won’t have to worry about keeping those frosted fairy cakes in the fridge while you wait for party guests to arrive. I kept the cakes in an air-tight container for two days and the frosting didn’t change in taste or texture. Mind you, using Crisco as a base does not give you the best “mouth feeling” or flavor, I suggest cutting it with butter or find a way to flavor the frosting (imitation butter, almond extract, Jell-O?) I used cocoa and coffee since they were available at the time. I was tempted to try adding strawberry Jell-O powder to the mix, that would give it flavor and color!
More experiments needed. If any of you reading this have a better, more natural, way to make this sort of frosting please tell me in the comments below!