If you haven’t gone back and read Part 1 yet, I recommend you do!
Recently, I learned that no one seems to agree on what a fairy cake is. In the comment section of my book review of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson, my readers across the globe tried to tell me what fairy cakes really are. Remember, I thought this was a fairy cake:
People argued for certain cake types, how much icing should be on top, how frosting is the devil, and whether or not we’re really taking about bread with sprinkles. Karen at BookerTalk sent me a link to Mary Berry’s recipe for fairy cakes, and thanks to Netflix and The Great British Baking Show, I know who Mary Berry is. And I’m gonna trust Mary Berry.
The recipe promised to be simple (it actually says “skill: easy”). Right away, Mary Berry lied. What is this castor sugar? What fresh hell is “self-raising flour?” — and why isn’t it called self-rising flour? How would Mary Berry define these “sweets” that I’m supposed to use to decorate? I don’t recognize the decorations in the picture:
*channeling my inner Mary Berry so I can make something that looks really special*
Oh, and I don’t know what icing sugar is.
So, using the power of Google, I learned that self-raising flour, according to this site, is 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of all-purpose flour. I guess in the States we also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, which they don’t do elsewhere. Let’s be honest: Americans are salty enough as it is. I’m finding recipes for my recipe. This is a poor start.
Google tells me icing sugar is just the British way of saying confectioners sugar.
And I Googled confectioners sugar, which led me somewhere familiar: we’re talking about powdered sugar, ya’ll. I know powdered sugar sounds like an illegal drug, but still.
Now, back to castor sugar.
This website tells me it’s either not available or is super expensive in U.S. stores. They even provide a photo comparing cookies with and without castor sugar. Apparently, without this special medium-sized sugar, my cookies will be hard, though still an excellent “biscuit.” I don’t want biscuits. They recommend the following in lieu of castor sugar:
- “cooler than room temperature butter” — this should be easy. It’s about 90F in Indiana right now and I own a refrigerator.
- “whisk eggs on a lower speed” — Mary Berry says to “beat” all of my ingredients, so I’m pretty iffy on this. Maybe I should just half-aggressively address my eggs?
- “make your own castor sugar” — okay, why didn’t they just start with this option? *puts coffee grinder on grocery list*
*SIDE NOTE: I’m starting to realize why Julia Child had to do all that French to American cooking translation for us. Julia Child is a true American hero.
Now, Mary Berry says I’ll need a bun tin for my fairy cakes. Once again, I had to consult Chef Google. The tech Chef says that a bun tin is just a muffin pan, and a muffin pan is a damn cupcake tin. I got that *dusts off hands*
Here is my Americanized Mary Berry Fairy Cake recipe:
- 4 ounces softened butter
- 4 ounces coffee grinder sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 ounces all-purpose flour
- 0.5 teaspoons of baking powder to turn all-purpose flour into self-raising flour
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 8 ounces powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons warm water
- handful of [gummy bears cut in half to look like] sweets, to decorate
- 1 cupcake tin
I also need to learn what mad scientist created this oven setting and translate it to Fahrenheit: “heat the oven to 200C fan, 180C fan, gas 6.”
This post has already gotten lengthy, and I haven’t even pre-heated my gas fan yet, so tune in next week when I actually bake . . .
MARY BERRY’S FAIRY CAKES!
Check out how it went by reading Part 3!