Fruit buns like these were and remain a familiar sight in many Irish homes, and with a cup of tea in the evening these humble sweet treats cannot be beaten. They are so easy and fast to whip up, perfect for the most beginner of bakers or for making with the kids.
With just a few staple cupboard ingredients in under an hour you can have your own little taste of nostalgia. This recipe makes about 12 cakes. To give a citrus twist you could add the grated zest of a lemon in with the fruit. Or of course, if you don’t like raisins or cherries these could be substituted with chocolate chips or just left out altogether. Still just as tasty!
-110g (4 oz) margarine, softened.
-110g (4 oz) caster sugar.
-2 medium eggs.
-110g (4 oz) self-raising flour.
-1tsp baking powder.
-30g glace cherries.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°/gas mark 5. Line the fairy cake baking tin with good quality paper cases. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Next whisk in each egg one at a time, making sure each is well incorporated before adding the next.
Now you want to introduce as much air as possible to give a light fluffy sponge. Sieve in the flour and the baking powder and stir gently into the wet ingredients, so as not to knock out any air.
As the cherries contain a lot of moisture, to avoid them sinking to the bottom of your cakes it’s a good idea to quarter and then wash them to remove some of the syrup. Make sure they are thoroughly dried before folding them into the mixture carefully with the raisins.
You can of course add more or less fruit if you prefer, this is a personal preference. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases, about one heaped teaspoon per case should be sufficient. Don’t fill the cases to the top as the mixture will rise, about ¾ full is perfect.
Place the cakes in the oven for 12-18 minutes or until they spring back when you touch them, are well risen and golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully before eating, if you can wait! Serve on a plate with a doily and a dusting of icing sugar for that extra touch of sweetness.