Fairy Cakes (From my boys for my birthday)

Making fairy cakes with children is so simple and so much fun. Here’s my recipe for simple vanilla cupcakes and two different types of icing.

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fairy cakes

Today is my birthday and so the boys decided that they wanted to make me a cake (I know I probably shouldn’t be posting recipes on my birthday, but we celebrated yesterday so I think it’s OK!). After some discussion they decided that it would be most fun to make a selection of cupcakes.

They’re all made from a simple all-in-one vanilla sponge (recipe below) to which they added either chocolate chips, sultanas or kept them plain. They then made butter icing, glacé icing and melted milk chocolate and finished them off with a selection of different sprinkles.

Daniel was in charge of making the cupcakes with a bit of help from Jon, and my only job was running around with the camera (Josh decided that he was too sleepy so went for a nap instead).

Making the cupcakes

The great thing about making cupcakes with children is that they can get really involved. The cake mix is an all-in-one sponge so you simply chuck all of the ingredients in together and mix them up. They’ll need a bit of help to measure the ingredients, crack the eggs (unless you want to be picking bits of shell out of the cake!) and make sure the mixture is fully combined, but they can really feel like they’ve been a part of it.

Here’s Daniel making the cakes. You can see Jon’s hand sneaking in every now and again to help him out, but it was mostly his own work. I love the look of concentration on his face when he’s stirring the mix and the happiness in spooning the mixture into the cupcake cases with Daddy’s help. It was so lovely to see them enjoying baking together.

Making fairy cakes

They decided to make a selection of different cakes by splitting the mixture into three, keeping one bowl plain, adding chocolate chips to one (1 tsp per cake) and adding sultanas to the other (1 tsp per cake).

They then topped the chocolate chip cakes with melted milk chocolate and sprinkles, the sultana ones with glacé icing (recipe below) and either a cherry or sprinkles, and the plain ones were either made into butterfly cakes, or topped with buttercream (recipe below) and mini marshmallows.

If you want your little ones to be as involved in making the icing as they were with the cakes then I’d recommend making just glacé icing, as it’s simply a case of stirring the ingredients together. The buttercream needs beating (preferably with an electric mixer) and the chocolate needs melting on the stove (in a glass bowl over simmering water), so both would require more adult involvement.

And here they are, the finished cakes…

fairy cakes 2

Fairy Cakes, Buttercream and Glacé Icing

Making fairy cakes with children is so simple and so much fun. Here’s my recipe for simple vanilla cupcakes and two different types of icing.
Servings 12 cupcakes


For the vanilla cupcakes

    • 175 g unsalted butter - at room temperature
    • 175 g self-raising flour
    • 175 g caster sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 12 cupcake cases

    For the buttercream (makes enough for all 12 cupcakes)

      • 100 g unsalted butter - at room temperature
      • 200 g icing sugar
      • 1 tbsp ish milk
      • A few drops of vanilla extract

      For the glacé icing (makes enough for all 12 cupcakes)

        • 125 g icing sugar
        • 1 tbsp warm water
        • A few drops of vanilla extract


        To make the cupcakes

          • Preheat the the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan.
          • Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
          • Put all of the ingredients into a bowl (175g room temperature butter, 175g self-raising flour, 175g caster sugar, 3 eggs, ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract) and beat until fully combined and smooth.
          • Evenly divide the mixture between the cupcake cases.
          • Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean then they're done. If not then pop them back in for a couple more minutes.
          • Cool on a wire rack.

          To make the buttercream

            • Beat the butter (100g) until it is light and fluffy (preferably use an electric mixer but this can be done by hand).
            • Sift in the icing sugar (200g) and beat until combined.
            • Add a few drops of vanilla extract and beat to combine.
            • The icing needs to be soft but not sloppy. If it is a little hard then gradually mix in milk (up to 1 tbsp) until you have the required consistency.

            To make the glacé icing

              • Sift the icing sugar (125g) into a bowl.
              • Gradually add the warm water (1 tbsp) and mix until combined.
              • The icing should be just runny enough to spread onto the cakes. If it is a too stiff then add a little more water, if it is too runny then add a little more icing sugar.
              • Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract and stir again to combine.


              For the two types of icing I have given the measurements needed to cover all 12 cupcakes. If you want to make a selection of different types of icing then simply reduce the quantities for each type.
              Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.

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              Any nutritional information shown is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.

              Free From/Suitable For…

              The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary and product recipes can change over time.

              • Suitable for Vegetarians
              • Tree Nut-Free
              • Peanut-Free
              • Sesame-Free
              • Soya-Free
              • Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphite-Free
              • Fish-Free
              • Crustacean-Free
              • Mollusc-Free
              • Celery-Free
              • Mustard-Free
              • Lupin-Free


              1. I’m sorry but this recipe was an epic fail

                • In what way? If there’s a problem with any of my recipes I’ll always do my best to fix them or make the instructions clearer.

              2. Hi Charlotte, my 5 year old grandson made and decorated these cakes yesterday, with only a little help from me, helping to hold the wisk upright. We both enjoyed it very much and the cakes were delicious. They were well received by the family, after Sunday lunch. Thank you, I will be trying the birthday cake next.

              3. Looks like he had a fab time making those cupcakes and they look delicious 🙂 I love baking with little ones, its always messy but so worth it xxx #SundaySweets

              4. Ah I love when the kids get involved in baking, so sweet that they wanted to bake you cakes for your birthday too. Thanks for linking up to #SundaySweets, hope to see you back next week x

                • Thanks Toni. I’ll hopefully be back next week, I just need to make sure I get myself organised as Sunday’s can be chaotic in my house!

              5. Oh wow! He looks like he’s having so much fun and those cakes look amazing! What a perfect birthday treat for you.
                Thanks for linking up with #LittleChefs

              6. i bet he told all his friends at school bless him x.

              7. o daniel really like’s to get involved u can c it in his face.
                i bet he felt really special making his mum a cakes x.

                • He loved it! I told him at the start of the week that it was my birthday soon and everyday he checked whether it was time to make the cake.

              8. This is soooo sweet! Your little one looks like he’s really enjoying himself in the kitchen! x

                • It was so lovely to watch them cooking together. Daniel was so excited and had so much fun. I don’t cook with him enough but I really want to start doing it more.

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