Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cakes with Sprinkles

A simple recipe for old-fashioned strawberry and vanilla fairy cakes.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cakes with Sprinkles served with strawberry milkshake with bowl of strawberries in the background

Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cakes with Sprinkles

It's strawberry season and today I'm bringing you these old-fashioned strawberry and vanilla fairy cakes with sprinkles. 

This is an old recipe that my mum would make for me as a child. She has no idea where it came from. It's scribbled in her trusty cookbook that's filled with lots of magazine and newspaper cuttings as well as handwritten recipes from family and friends. I had to convert it from pounds and ounces.

What are fairy cakes, basically cupcakes before they got posh. A simple old-fashioned recipe our mothers and grandmothers made. These are topped with a generous amount of strawberry jam, whipped cream, sprinkles and a strawberry.

What are fairy cakes?

Fairy cakes are an old-fashioned bake. They are basically what a cupcake was before it got fancy.

The type of simple little cake our mothers and grandmothers made us topped with a little white icing and little else. If we were lucky they would let us help bake and decorate them and if they were feeling extravagant the would make them into butterfly cakes. 

Butterfly cakes

Butterfly cakes are fairy cakes with the top sliced off. Then they are topped with whipped cream and the remaining slice is cut in half and stuck in the cream to look like wings.

There was none of this nonsense with rainbow frosting, 101 fillings and sprinkles in a variety of colours and shapes. Hundreds and thousands were as close as we got to fancy back then.

Try - Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes (vegetarian and vegan recipes)

Close up of Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cake on a pale blue plate

Vegan Fairy Cakes

I haven't tried these with a vegan mix for my dairy-free readers yet but I do have a vegan vanilla sponge cake that I think would work rather well. I usually make it if I am making a dairy-free trifle. Alternatively you could try this recipe with dairy-free spread, nut milk and flax eggs.

If you were making these dairy free, I would recommend topping them with vanilla flavoured whipped coconut cream.


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A simple recipe for old-fashioned strawberry and vanilla fairy cakes. Retro cakes like grandma made. #fairycakes #retrocakes #oldfashionedcakes #easyfairycakes #cupcakes #strawberryjam #strawberries

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Instead of filling the fairy cake and topping it with frosting like you would with a cupcake, I topped it with a generous serving of my homemade strawberry jam, then topped it with freshly whipped cream and finished it with some sprinkles.

You can also use shop-bought strawberry jam, which would be just as nice on a fairy cake.

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cakes with Sprinkles
Old-Fashioned Strawberry and Vanilla Fairy Cakes with Sprinkles
Everyone is cupcake crazy, but less face it they are just posh fairy cakes. I've turned the cupcake on their head. Instead of filling them, I've topped them with jam, vanilla whipped cream and a strawberry. They're lush!


250g/2 cups self-raising flour
125g/1 stick soft butter
150g/⅔ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml/scant ½ cup milk
300ml/ 1 ¼ cup double (heavy) or whipping cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 strawberries
3 tsp sprinkles to decorate
    1. Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/350f /gas mark 4.
    2. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.
    3. Sieve the flour into a bowl, then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk with a whisk or an electric hand blender until light and fluffy, then fold in the milk.
    4. Spoon into the cups, they should be just over half full.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes. Test with a skewer or tooth pick just before that, if it comes out clean they are ready.
    6. Cool for a few minutes in the tray, then remove and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
    7. One the cake are cool, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla bean paste until stiff, then pipe onto the cakes.
    8. Finish off the cakes with half a strawberry and a dusting of sprinkles.
    9. Enjoy!
    Total prep time: not including cooling time

    Nutrition per fairy cake with topping:

    248 calories
    8.1 grams fat

    Yield: Makes 12 fairy cakes


    Strawberry and Vanilla Float with Sprinkles in a small bottle with a stripy red and white paper straw

    Strawberry and Vanilla Float with Sprinkles

    A fresh strawberry float with ice cream and cream soda. A fabulous drink from childhood using the last of the season's strawberries and topped with sprinkles.


    1. These look beautiful and so evocative of childhood for me too. My nan always made me fairy cakes

      1. Nice memories Jo and yes these simple cakes are too easy forgotten.

    2. Hoorah, yes yes yes! I do miss the days of simple fairy cakes rather than cup cakes that have so much bloody make up on they look like a 5 year old girl at a beauty pageant! These look so lovely and much more balanced.

      1. Haha I love how you describe cupcakes Kavey, so funny but so true!

    3. How pretty! Love a classic fairy cake and these are just so cute x

    4. this looks sooo fAB!!! Love it!!

    5. Strawberries are my favourite berry and this recipe looks perfect for the weekend.

    6. A cupcake by any other name would taste as sweet! These sound so good -- love that jam!

    7. These cakes look fabulous! I'm sure my 4 year old will love them!

    8. I love this little fairy cake more than any cupcake I have seen. Traditional and old fashioned work for me!

    9. Old fashioned style fairy cakes are always welcome in my house, these cakes looks so yummy with strawberries.

    10. These are lovely, Jac. Such a nice idea, strawberries and cream, it's the taste of summer.


    I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x