What size cake would be appropriate for feasting fairies? A cupcake size would definitely do the trick, and inspires the name fairy cake. To many, fairy cake can be defined as the UK term for cupcake, since it represents an individually sized cake, suitable for serving one person, or a lot of tiny fairies, pixies, nixies or otherwise.
Some argue that there are essential differences between the cupcake and the fairy cake. British fairy cakes are more likely to be made of lighter cake mixes, sponge cake or genoise, instead of richer and denser butter cake. Others argue there is no appreciable difference between the two, since many recipes exist for both British and American types. Frosting for the fairy cake is just as variable as cupcake frostings, though many favor the three classics: lemon, vanilla or chocolate icing.
Fairy cakes are often, as is true with American cupcakes, served at children’s birthday parties. Many adults from the UK have warm memories of fairy cakes at their own birthdays, though you can certainly still buy or make them in the UK. They haven’t by any means gone out of style, just as American cupcakes are perhaps more popular than ever. There are even cupcake wedding cakes in vogue at present.
You can decorate fairy cakes in so many ways. In fact, a current fashion is to allow children to decorate already frosted cupcakes with additional candies, nuts, chocolate chips or others. This is also fashionable in the US.
Some contend that a fairy cake should have a tiny amount of the top of the cupcake scooped out so that more frosting can be added. This is also called a butterfly cake, and there are others who argue these are quite different from most fairy cakes. It can be said the traditional fairy cake is very simply a frosted individually portioned cupcake.
Though the term is common in the UK, it has a certain magical appeal that might make it particularly ideal for children’s birthday parties. Imagine a magically themed princess party with fairy cakes as the main dessert. Many argue it just sounds more delicious and slightly more mysterious.
Most cupcakes are made from basic cake batters, and you can really choose any cake recipe or cake mix you like to make fairy cake delights. If you do use cake mix, you should probably avoid angel food cake mixes, though they sound like a good pairing with fairies. In cupcake tins, angel food cake tends to rise unpredictably, and it is difficult to frost.
Another definition of fairy cake is definitely not edible and should be avoided at all costs. The fungi Hebeloma crustuliniforme, which grows in Europe and parts of the US, is a toxic mushroom that should not be consumed. Doing so can cause extreme gastrointestinal pains and upset. Save your consumption of fairy cakes for those made in cupcake tins instead, and avoid the toxic mushrooms that go by the same name.