Rachel Allen’s fairy cakes recipe

Click to rate
(1097 ratings)
Sending your rating






40 min


8 min
(may need an extra 4 mins)

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)


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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.

Top tip for making Rachel Allen’s fairy cakes

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.

Click to rate
(1097 ratings)
Sending your rating

Latest Recipes