Rachel Allen's fairy cakes

(199 ratings)
Rachel Allen's fairy cakes recipe
Rachel Allen's fairy cakes recipe
  • Makes: 12

  • Prep time:

    (including decorating time)
  • Cooking time:

    (may need an extra 4 mins)
  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

Rachel Allen's fairy cakes are the prettiest little cakes for a birthday party or just for a special treat; they are also known as butterfly buns. These simple fairy cakes are infused with vanilla and filled with jam and buttercream which make them sweet and delicious. This recipe can make 12 medium fairy cakes or 24 mini ones. Rachel Allen's fairy cakes are the perfect food gift for birthday parties to pop into kids party bags at the end of the day or would make a great activity for the kids to do, filling each cake with jam and cream and adding the sponge on top. These batch of fairy cakes take under 1hr to prepare and cook and taste as good as they look. The kids are going to love them!


  • 125g (4.5oz) butter, softened
  • 125g (4.5oz) caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • ¼tsp baking powder
For the filling:

  • 100ml (3.5fl oz) raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 200ml (7fl oz) crème Chantilly or vanilla buttercream icing
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Dragèes (metallic sugar balls), to decorate (optional)

When you cream your butter and sugar, make sure you do this really thoroughly until the mixture is pale. Do the same when you beat your eggs. This means you've beaten in lots of air and that's a great start for well-risen fairy cakes.


  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC, 375ºF, gas 5. Line a 12-hole fairy cake tin, or a 24-hole tin for mini cakes, with 12 (or 24) paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating continuously, then sift in the flour and baking powder. (If you are pushed for time, and the butter is sufficiently soft, put the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder into an electric food mixer and briefly whiz just until the mixture comes together.)
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases using two teaspoons for mini cakes or two dessertspoons for larger ones. Cook in the oven for 8-12 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch. (The mini cakes may take just 5 mins.) Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.
  5. When cooled, cut the top off each cake, then cut the tops in half to make the butterfly wings. Set aside. Spread half a teaspoon or so of jam on the top of the cut cake, then spoon or pipe the crème Chantilly or buttercream on top of the jam. Arrange two butterfly wings at an angle on top of each cake. Dust generously with icing sugar and decorate with dragèes, if using.

This recipe is taken from Rachel Allen’s Bake, published by HarperCollins Publishers and is available from Amazon

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(199 ratings)

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Mine rose well. But the tops cracked and the cupcakes were a wee bit dry. Maybe I kept them in the oven a little longer than necessary


yummy and easy to follow,however mine were cracked on the top ,is that how they are supposed to be like?


I love Rachel, she's such a babe. She's my inspiration. #teamrachelallenforevzies make it trend you guys :)


1/4 tsp baking powder is not enough for this recipe? Should it read 1/4 tbsp?


just put these in the oven they smell great, though the mixture was a bit thick


Mesdames ! I started out looking for a basic queencake recipe and this is all I could find, recipe works but I certainly don't have time for the filling and icing and all that fancy stuff so I left them as "queencakes", the texture and taste is similar to madeira cake, that may be betraying my age, and that's the way they're meant to be. ADVICE, this makes for 9 standard size "buns" or 12 at a push, my recommendation is to double, triple or even quadruple this recipe if your family is anyway like mine. They do look plain, so you can always throw an indiscriminate amount of icing sugar into a small bowl and run a trickle of lukewarm water into it directly from the kitchen tap, then mix with a knife to form a smooth stiffish paste and with the same knife, spread a little circle over each bun and allow to could always chuck a few of those dragees in the recipes onto the icing before it sets, but what's all this 1950s retro cake decoration/ kitchen slave business? this is 2014, bake & go! You could also throw in some raisins with the basic mix to make them a little more interesting, the basic recipe works and that's important because its often hit or miss, bises !


Rachel Allen


Fan assit ovens are usually 20deg lower than regular ovens, so at 180deg fan assisted should be set at 160degs


Dont understand i stuck to the exact recipe and my fairy cakes rise up and then just went flop on the middle so i was left with empty shells and it is very sweet, Very disappointing :)


Is the oven temperature for fan assisted oven?


Absolutely by far the best fairy cake recipe!! No sooner have I a batch made that they are demolished!!


who sed this cozz your not rio osborne


This recipie is realy good. Who made this recipie?(silly question)


i love your recipe i WANT it and i WANT the cakes :( xxx there look lovely :) xxx


the cakes are amazing i WANT them ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :[


found this is the best recipe on the net for fairy cakes! it is perfect and i end up with a delightful cake at the end

GTK Recipes editor

Hi serena, sorry that this recipe didn't work for you. If you found them to be too sweet, just reduce the amount of sugar and jam you use in the icing to suit your personal taste. That should help!


I found they were too sweet why and what could i do to change them


your fairy cake recipe is really good u got me making more and more now thnx a lot from rio osborne

GTK Recipes ed

Hi kirti chawla, eggs help keep the cake moist and bind it together so it can be difficult to find a good substitute for cakes. If you really can't use eggs, you can buy egg substitutes in your supermarket, or try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure you don't mind the taste. Let us know how it works out!

kirti chawla

i wanted to ask wht can we use instead of eggs???


Just put them in the oven i have changed the recipe a little because i didnt have Dragees or buttercream icing so im using millions and thousands and chocolate :) Either way Brilliant :)x


i would just like to say that your cake recipe looks and taste absoloutly gorgeous! :)

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