This is a Halloween post that's not really a Halloween post. It's actually a birthday party planning post. Admittedly, he's probably been influenced by all the ghoulish shop window displays, but my eldest little dude has asked for a spooky castle party for his fifth birthday in a couple of weeks time. So our home is going to be decorated in black and orange a little earlier than normal. But don't think you come come round here trick or treating before October 31st. The chocolate is remaining well and truly hidden (possibly in my tummy) until then!
In preparation, last night, I decided to have a first attempt at some ridiculously complicated orange velvet cupcakes to disastrous results. I bake quite a lot and can turn my hand to a decent cake or two so I'm not entirely sure whether it was a rogue recipe or if my eyes were a little too drawn to the Great British Menu. Either way, they did not taste good. Anyway, I came to the conclusion, that to a group of four and five year olds, it's all about the sprinkles, isn't it? My two go wild for sprinkles, way more than for the actual cake. So, this morning, I quickly threw together my failsafe fairy cake recipe and heaped on the sprinkles. Squishy, delicious cakes made in just over thirty minutes .... thirty minutes and with the 'help' of a two year old.
Fantastically wonderful, verging-on-art recipes are all well and good, and they really do have a time and place, but if you want a seriously easy but truly yummy, works every time, fairy cake recipe, this is the one that my family have been using since I was standing at counter height waiting to lick the spoon, i.e., an unbelievably long time ago.
This recipe makes six fairy cakes but baked in muffin cases. I normally bake with my boys and they like to make them by hand rather than in a mixer. The reduced mixture means that they can easily whisk the ingredients together as they're not too dense or heavy to move around the bowl. And, I'll be honest, if we make a full batch, I only eat them all. And greed won't get me in to a little sparkly number come Christmas, will it?! Also, I use the muffin cases because they act like little plates as opposed to the smaller fairy cake cases. Anything to save on the washing up, right?!
Ingredients (for the sponge)
50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
50g self-raising flour
1. Place six muffin cases in a muffin tin and turn the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
3. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and then whisk in to the butter/sugar mixture.
4. Sieve in the flour and then fold until it has all been incorporated.
5. Spoon in to the muffin cases (the mixture should come about a third of the way up).
6. An optional element is to pop a teaspoon of sprinkles in to the centre of the mixture in each case.
7. Bake for twenty minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
Ingredients (for the frosting)
25g unsalted, softened butter
150g icing sugar
70g full-fat Philadelphia
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together until there are no lumps.
2. Add the cream cheese and then mix together, slowly at first, until the mixture becomes soft and fluffy.
3. Spoon on to your fairy cakes or use a palette knife if you have one as it's much easier.
4. Top with sprinkles.
Because the frosting is made with cream cheese, you need to store the cakes in the fridge if you don't eat them straight away (does that ever happen?!). I'm not getting on the Great British Bake Off with these cakes but they really are delicious and so easy for children to make.
To celebrate baking-fever and Halloween, HomeSense kindly sent me a voucher to pop in to my local store and pick up a couple of items to help with both. As usual, I was spoilt for choice. If you love baking or Halloween, or baking and Halloween, get yourself to your local store NOW! I chose the Halloween sprinkles, the black and white muffin cases and the cake stand from the baking range. That gorgeous cake stand was just £6.99, can you believe?! I'm thinking that it might also come in handy for a festive 'styling the seasons' post later this year. I also couldn't resist the spiders web serving plate (£3.99) and the black candle holder (£5.99). While I was there, I stumbled across some bejewelled pumpkins that I'm thinking of going back for, too. I have no idea where I'd put them but they were fab-u-lous!
Party planning-wise, now all that remains is to decide on the games (I love the 'pin the fangs on the vampire' free printable from Wayfair) and to chill the wine for once the chaos is over. Wish me luck!