This recipe is my go-to one when I need to bulk bake a load of cakes for a crowd; resulting in 30+ fairy cakes, making it ideal for children’s birthday celebrations.
I don’t remember it being a ‘thing’ when I was at Primary School that parents would send their children into class with cakes on their birthday… Perhaps it was but when you were born on the 26th December you don’t really have to concern yourself with thinking about school on your birthday…!
My son is 11 this year and will be moving up to ‘Big School’ next September. That means that this birthday is the last time I shall have to bake a big batch of Fairy Cakes (or cupcakes) for him, his classmates and teachers. I’ve already made it clear to him that I have no intention of baking 280+ next year for his entire year group at the secondary school!
As my time of baking en masse for small children comes to an end, I thought it would be helpful to share my fool-proof recipe which makes manufacturing and decorating 30+ celebration Fairy Cakes a walk in the park. I get 32 fairy cakes from the quantities in this recipe – enough for all the children in the classroom, plus the teacher and teaching assistant.
One piece of advice I would offer before plunging into this recipe is to enquire at the school as to whether there are any allergies in the classroom. I always avoid nuts when baking for an occasion so this recipe is safe on that score – just remember to consult the labels on your ingredient as different manufacturers of cocoa, yoghurts and margarine etc sometimes warn that they may contain traces of nuts.
It is worth considering anything else that might cause an issue for other children… dairy for instance or gluten. This recipe can be adapted to make it dairy free if you use oat or soy milk in place of the dairy milk and yoghurt for the cakes and a vegan margarine in lieu of butter in the frosting. Likewise, gluten free plain flour and baking powders can be used in place of the conventional ones I use in my recipe. Don’t be afraid to adapt this recipe to suit – it really is very flexible and forgiving.Print
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 250ml semi skimmed milk + 2 or 3 tbsp for the frosting
- 180ml natural yoghurt
- 5 free range eggs
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 350g plain flour
- 175g cocoa powder (100g for cake, 75g for the frosting)
- 2 tsp baking powder (heaped)
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (heaped)
- 500g icing sugar
- 150g margarine or butter
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas Mark 3. Line three 12-hole muffin trays with muffin papers – I get 32 muffins from this quantity of ingredients by filling each paper case 2/3 full but you can reduce this if you need to make your mixture go further for your child’s class. And do not worry if you don’t have three muffin trays to hand – you can bake this mixture in batches if needs be.
- Whisk together the eggs, sunflower oil, 250 ml milk, yoghurt and caster sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid, making sure it is well combined but not over-worked.
- Fill the muffin papers 2/3 full – ensuring an equal amount of mixture in each paper. I find it easy to use a 1/3 measuring cup (80ml) to spoon the mix equally among the papers. Place the trays in your oven and bake for 20 minutes. When the baking time is up, remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool fully on a rack.
- When the cakes are fully cooled, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter or margarine with electric beaters until it is lighter in colour and fluffy – this can take 2-3 minutes. I use a freestanding mixer for ease but a hand whisk will also work well. Sift the icing sugar and 75g of cocoa powder together and gradually add to the butter – being sure to switch off the whisk each time you add so that you don’t get engulfed in a cloud of powder! Once all the icing sugar mix is incorporated, switch the beaters up high and whisk everything for a good five minutes – using a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl every so often so that everything is beaten evenly.
- When everything is light and fluffy, take heaped teaspoons of the frosting and splodge onto the top of each fairy cake. Using a clean teaspoon, swirl the frosting across the top of each cake with gentle whirls. You can leave the cakes like this if you wish but we usually pop a large milk chocolate button on half of the cakes and sprinkle some hundreds and thousands over the rest.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: baking, cakes
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: birthday cakes, cake, cakes for birthday, cakes for school, cakes for school class, chocolate cake, cupcakes, fairy cakes