Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Fairy Cakes – We Should Cocoa 10

Much as I try fight it, I am irresistibly drawn into bookshops if ever I’m passing one, especially into the cooking section. On one such occasion, I was flicking through the rather gorgeous copy of British Baking by Peyton and Byrne when I came across a recipe for Strawberry Jam Fairy Cakes; the picture was just too scrumptious and I not only had to buy the book but I had to make these cakes at the earliest opportunity. I have to confess, I created the opportunity myself by choosing strawberries for this month’s We Should Cocoa. However, it was also the recipe for Strawberry Jam Icing which drew my attention. It used the Italian meringue method of making the buttercream and although I’d promised myself to have a go at this, I still hadn’t managed it. The only change I made to the fairy cake recipe was to add some white chocolate and use less sugar to compensate for the additional sweetness in the chocolate. Oh yes, I also used vanilla sugar and vanilla white chocolate instead of the vanilla extract. For the icing, I halved the recipe as it seemed as though there would be way too much. I was all ready with some beautiful Cornish strawberries, a jar of a friend’s strawberry jam and some pink fairy cake cases.

This is what I did:

  • Melted 50g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water and left to cool slightly.
  • Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 100g vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the white chocolate.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs.
  • Sifted in 150g flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white) and 3/4 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred in 2 tbsp Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp strawberry jam.
  • Spooned into 13 cupcake cases (meant to be 12, but I had a bit too much mixture) and baked at 180C for 15 mins. This wasn’t actually long enough for six on the bottom shelf – they sank. I put them back in for another 5 mins, but it was too late by then.
  • Whisked 1 large egg white (duck egg in my case) with 75g caster sugar over a bowl of hot water until the sugar had dissolved and the mixture was thick (about 8 mins).
  • Took of the heat and continued to whisk with a balloon whisk until the bowl was cold and my arm couldn’t stand it any more. By this point the soft peak stage was meat to have been achieved. Mine was thick, but still a bit runny. I gave up hoping it would all come right in the end!
  • Whisked in 80g very soft butter, bit by bit, ensuring all was incorporated before adding the next bit.
  • Stirred in 2 large mashed strawberries and 2 tbsp strawberry jam.
  • Placed in the fridge and crossed fingers the mixture would firm up.
  • It didn’t. Luckily, when I related my tale of woe to CT when he arrived home that evening, he managed to talk me into whisking it all again with the electric beater; this time the mixture came together enough to stay on top of the cakes.

Oh, I had such high hopes for these and oh I was so disappointed! First off the cakes on the bottom shelf sank. Then when I turned them out, the specially chosen pink papers pulled away making the cakes look shrivelled and messy. My icing was runny and the day was so dark I couldn’t take any decent photographs anyway.

Now the question is, do I blame Peyton and Byrne or do I just try to make them again using different cases and cooking them a little longer? The icing? I really don’t know, it’s the sort of thing I’d like to see someone doing to be convinced it could really work.

However, in the end, I managed to get five fairy cakes looking reasonable enough to take to friends that evening, where we’d been invited over for supper. And I have to say, both slightly underdone cake and rather runny icing both tasted extremely good, delicious even. The flavour of the strawberries was very much present in both cake and icing and the white chocolate added a certain touch of unctuousness. They may be a little on the sweet side, but they are the sort of cakes where this seems highly appropriate.


  1. Paula..SweetHarts Cakes and Bakes

    16th June 2011 at 7:56 am

    Gorgeous! I’ve made Italian meringue buttercream and it can be a pain,I remember I had to let my electric whisk beat it furiously for quite a long time. For all the effort,it isn’t a favourite in my house so I don’t make it often. At least you could salvage some and they do look yummy! I’ve made something similar to these cakes a couple days ago but with dark chocolate and fresh cream. 🙂

  2. Kath

    16th June 2011 at 8:30 am

    These look good. Do you want to hear my tale of woe? Well I will tell you anyway. I made my choc muffins adding some sliced strawberries in the mix yesterday with the hope I could enter them in this month’s challenge. I liked them but three out of three children didn’t! Oh dear. The six year old said that they were, and I quote, unappetising. The four year old looked in horror at the white gooey strawberry in hers and asked me to take her cake away immediately. The nine year old was more polite but didn’t eat hers. Oh dear, oh dear. I won’t be making them again anytime soon.

  3. Kate@katescakesandbakes

    16th June 2011 at 9:02 am

    Oh Choclette, so sorry to hear not all of them worked out, but the ones that did do look great.

    I too rather spontaneously bought the Peyton and Byrne book after being seduced by the gorgeous photos and descriptions in.our local bookshop- I’ve only tried a few recipes but the lemon curd and chocolate swiss rolls worked well. I’ll keep you posted of any other recipes I try!

  4. Victoria (The District Chocoholic)

    16th June 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Don’t sweat the frosting. Meringue-based frosting is REALLY HARD to do – especially mixing by hand (?!). I’ve screwed up more than my fair share.

  5. At Anna's kitchen table

    16th June 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Oh it’s such a shame when things don’t work out as well as you’d hoped!!
    I think I’d try once more. And then blame the book writers! ;-))
    Sometimes I wonder if some actually try the recipes before putting them in a book!

  6. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    16th June 2011 at 2:36 pm

    nice strawberry breasts!… sorry… my mind is twisted today!

  7. Chele

    16th June 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Wowee! Must make these myself, they look amazing. Good pick I’d say ;0)

  8. cheries stolen recipes

    16th June 2011 at 4:37 pm

    wow no words ,looks amazing

  9. Choclette

    16th June 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Paula – I’m glad it’s not just me being a complete idiot and that it is indeed a tricky thing to get right. Your cakes looked lovely.

    Kath – what’s wrong with them all? Not like your chocolate muffins – it’s truly shocking. But you obviously have more discerning taste 😉 Do enter them.

    Kate – thank you for your comforting words. I’m assuming it’s me rather than the book – I haven’t given up on it yet anyway!

    Victoria – thank you, thank you. thank you – just the words to make me feel better.

    Anna – wise words and I shall do just what you say. Thank you.

    Dom – not sure this one deserves a reply. I’d assumed, obviously completely erroneously, that you wouldn’t be fixated by breasts 😉

    Cheries – you’re far too kind.

    Chele – and you are WAY too kind.

  10. Janice

    16th June 2011 at 7:39 pm

    What a shame! That is a fun looking cakey bun, but we all have off days. Keep at it, I’m sure you will adapt and survive 🙂

  11. MissCakeBaker

    16th June 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Sometimes it’s all about the taste! The 5 good ones look v good!

  12. Maria♥

    16th June 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Don’t you just hate it when things don’t work out?! It happens to the best of us though but I bet it’s the recipe and not you!

    The cupcakes look good regardless.


  13. cityhippyfarmgirl

    17th June 2011 at 3:51 am

    They didn’t work out exactly as planned but I love that you still blogged them 🙂
    I was flicking through a cupcake book the other day, and pausing over a meringuey type frosting, don’t think I will be doing it in a hurry now though. Sounds like too much hard work!
    Now I’ve got high hopes of doing this We should Cocoa, hopefully I don’t get side tracked.

  14. Suman Singh

    17th June 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Cupcakes looks fantastic and delicious to me..thanks for sharing.

  15. Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane

    17th June 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I think the running icing ives it a nice restauranty pudding look 🙂 I’d be happy with that!

  16. Choclette

    17th June 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Janice – it’s not even that the cakes were that bad, it’s just it didn’t fit the image and aspiration I had in my headm 🙁

    MCB – true, thank you and they did taste good.

    Maria – thank you for your lovely supportive comment – of course it was the book 😉

    CityHippy – it’s tempting to only put my successes on the blog, but this is also a sort of diary of my baking efforts for my own benefit so need to put in the failure too. Yippee, do hope you manage to make something for We Should Cocoa this month 🙂

    Suman – thanks for being supportive.

    Xinmei – you’re right, I should have just come up with a fancy name and called it pudding 😉

  17. sniffandsnort

    18th June 2011 at 12:25 am

    Wow. That must have been hard work trying to make meringue buttercream by hand! I’ve only made it with a table top mixer and that takes me the best part of an hour.

    I’m looking forward to posting my entry tomorrow. Hope you guys will wonder over and have a look.

  18. Cookie Sleuth

    18th June 2011 at 3:36 am

    My first visit! Love it!

  19. Working london mummy

    18th June 2011 at 5:39 am

    Lovely idea. Well the 5 that worked out Look gorgeous and clearly tasted lovely!

  20. C

    18th June 2011 at 6:49 pm

    It’s so frustrating when the picture in your head doesn’t match the reality that lies before you isn’t it! I’ve had exactly the same thing with my WSC entry this month – they tasted fine, but looked really grim. and I couldn’t even be bothered to tart them up 🙁

    I’m very impressed that you attempted meringue based buttercream, especially without the aid of electricity!!! Anyway, they look lovely just as they are.

  21. celia

    18th June 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Your five good ones look delicious, and I’m sure you found something clever to do with the others.. 🙂

  22. Baking Addict

    19th June 2011 at 12:13 am

    Oh dear its a shame it didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted but it looks good to me! I’ve never tried meringue buttercream and am a little worried to try now. I bought the Peyton & Byrne book but haven’t had time to try anything out yet.

  23. sniffandsnort

    19th June 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m beginning to think I’m missing out on this Peyton & Byrne book you guys have been talking about. Am such a Luddite 😉

  24. Brownieville Girl

    19th June 2011 at 9:49 am

    I’d even like the one with the runny icing!!!

  25. Foodycat

    19th June 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Well I like the sound of them, even if they aren’t all you hoped for!

  26. Choclette

    19th June 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Sniffandsnort – I’ve learnt my lesson and will not be trying this by hand again – possibly not trying it at all! The book is lovely – I’m glad I bought it even if the first recipe I tried from it didn’t work out.

    Cookie Sleuth – thank you.

    WLM – thank you, they were much appreciated by the recipients.

    C – indeed and unfortunately, it seems rare that the reality matches the expectation. But it does happen often enough to keep me going. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry to hear you experienced the same problem 🙁

    Celia – yes very clever – CT and I demolished them – they were very tasty 😉

    Baking Addict – oh, interested to see what you bake first from the book. It is a lovely book isn’t it?

    BVG – you’re just a star of the first order 🙂

    Foodycat – thank you – they did taste very good.

  27. Gloria

    21st June 2011 at 6:01 pm

    These look amazing, sooooo cute! gloria

  28. Johanna GGG

    27th June 2011 at 3:31 am

    Those cakes at the top look so cute that I was surprised to read you were disappointed – glad you had a few good cupcakes at least

  29. Choclette

    27th June 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Gloria – thank you

    Johanna – it comes from seeing the picture from the book – guess I was aiming too high!


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