A Complete Numpty’s Guide to Baking

Fairy Cakes à la Alice

This is a favourite recipe of mine, inspired by the immortal words of Tumblr:

“It’s not about the destination, but the journey”

You will need:

2 eggs

3oz caster sugar

3oz butter, softened

3oz self-raising flour (plus extra)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Fudge loads of random stuff to add in the name of ‘spur of the moment experimentation’

For decoration:

Cake cases that will undoubtedly prove to be too big or too small later on

An unqualified amount of icing sugar

Too much water OR too much butter

Fudge loads of random stuff to add in the name of ‘spur of the moment experimentation’




  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (erm, gas mark…4?)
  2. Get out your twelve, holed, cake/bun tray thingy out (you know the one). Put cake cases in the holes and congratulate yourself for doing a good job thus far
  3. Weigh out ingredients (do people put ‘weigh out ingredients’ in the method? Or are you expected to have already done that? Oh well)
  4. Put flour, butter, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Whisk eggs separately and slowly add to the mixture whilst beating
  5. Once mixed you may think “this is a bit runny” in which case add extra flour. How much? The length of a piece of string
  6. Add random ingredients into the mix. Berries, flavourings, golden syrup (personal favourite), wine…
  7. Evenly divide mixture between the cake cases. Don’t forget to leave a suitable amount of batter behind for personal consumption.
  8. Put in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. Put the TV on.
  9. About 20 minutes later suddenly realise the time, shout expletives and rush to the oven. Remove cakes just in time and leave to cool.


Post Dinner Decoration

  1. Place cakes on a plate or suitable decorating surface
  2. Lay out all items of decoration and take in a moment to visualise how amazing your cakes are going to look. No one will care about the burnt edges or iffy flavours but they will look like God’s gift when you’re done
  3. For butter cream icing mix icing sugar and butter and keep adding either ingredient to the mix until you final get the balance right and you find yourself with far too much icing
  4. For simple icing sugar and water combo (classic) most normal people add water to icing sugar. For the à la Alice version though, put about 100ml water into a bowl and add sugar. Realise you don’t have enough icing sugar. Rope in housemate to lend you her sugar. Discover that even this isn’t enough. Scream into a pillow.
  5. At 10pm, put on normal clothes and power walk down to local supermarket. Buy biggest bag of icing sugar they stock and rush back home
  6. Add icing sugar to water until it vaguely resembles icing. Add in more golden syrup (no reason). You’ll now have around a gallon of icing to cover twelve – fourteen small cakes
  7. Apply far too much icing to each cake so that it leaks over the top of the cases. Curse the cases for being too small
  8. Drizzle syrup on top, because one really can never have too much syrup. Mutter strong words when pretty syrup pattern melts into icing
  9. Go into desperation mode and stick literally anything and everything on top. Sprinkles, sugar, edible decorations, just anything


Finishing Off

Stand back and admire handiwork:


Turn around and look at the carnage left behind:


Tidy up the essentials, leaving the kitchen area looking like a scene from CSI Bake Off:



The Aftermath

Eat/drink literally half a gallon of icing (i.e. pure sugar), eat one of the cakes and then have the world’s biggest sugar crash. Wake up the next morning with a sugar hangover and vowing to never go through that again in a hurry.

Take cakes into work, have them devoured by colleagues and be worshipped like a baking Goddess.

Voila! Fairy Cakes à la Alice = Baking success

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