Spiced fairy cakes

"After years of trying to avoid the usual chocolate overload at Easter, I came up with these. I think spring – and Easter especially – is a time of year when many people like to bake," says Amber Rose, author of Love Bake Nourish.
"However, unless you’re an exceptional baker, hot cross buns are not always easy to get right, and often store-bought ones are tastier. I wanted to create something that anybody can make and these little cakes are just the ticket, combining traditional Easter spices with light spring colours and beautiful flowers. You can colour the icing by squishing berries into it or using a bit of berry juice."

Makes 12


125g white spelt flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 large free-range eggs
125g maple syrup
Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed orange
30g seedless raisins, roughly chopped
2–3 tablespoons milk

For the icing
300g cream cheese
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and a squeeze of the juice
4 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
Edible spring flowers, fresh or crystallised, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole fairy cake tray with paper cases.

Mix the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cream the butter for about 4 minutes using an electric hand mixer until very pale and fluffy, add a heaped tablespoon of the flour mix and whisk to incorporate. Add an egg and whisk for a further minute, then add another heaped 1–2 tablespoons of the flour mix and whisk again before cracking in the second egg. Continue whisking until you have a light, fluffy mixture (if it looks as if it’s curdling, add another tablespoon of the flour mix).

Add the rest of the dry ingredients, the maple syrup, orange zest and raisins. Gently and lightly fold everything together until thoroughly combined, adding a little milk at the end – just enough to give you a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases, trying to fill the cases evenly, and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes. The cakes are ready if they spring back to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, mix the cream cheese, lemon zest and maple syrup until smooth and creamy, adding a little squeeze of lemon juice at the end. Spoon a little icing on top of each of the the cooled cakes and spread with a small palette knife or use the back of a teaspoon. Decorate with the flowers.