Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A NaNoWriMo Fairy Feast (thanks @DianeJReed)

A little while ago I read a wonderful book by lovely author Diane J Reed.  Twixt was billed as a magical modern fairy tale and so I was expecting.... what?  A sweet tale with a touch of whimsy?  A princess in a tower?

Twixt confounded my expectations.  There's nothing Disney about this book.  Its a hard hitting story about  breaking negative cycles and about the power of belief and the resilience of the human spirit.   It's also magical, rich and vivid.

Magic is real in Twixt, it can be seen, heard and touched.  The heroine Rose is cursed to relive the life of her ancestress, cursed to fall in love again and again with the same evil spirit.  Her own magical powers are diminished by him, drained from her.  You can take that at face value - and love it (which I did).  Or you can read it as an allegory for abusive relationships, and the cycle of abuse which often trickles down the generations.

Becoming in tune with her own magic is essential to Rose breaking that curse.  Again and again she is told to look within herself, to trust herself, to be herself - and it is not until she does that that she is free.

And then there's the cake.

Boy, do I love a book with magical food.  From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe through to Like Water for Chocolate magical food is always a bonus to me.  But our lovely Diane goes one step further.  Not only does she describe her magical food in mouth watering detail, but she kindly gives us the recipe for her heroine's magical cake - it's right there at the back of the kindle book.

A thousand thank yous!

Want to see fairies?  Look no further.  This cake has magic in every crumb. Well, there was no WAY I could resist the siren lure of Diane's special fairy cakes, so of course I had to give it a go.

Anyone care to lick the bowl?

To do that, I had to convert all her US measurements to British measurements.  That being the case, I thought for Diane's British fans, it might be handy to reproduce the recipe in Brit measurements.  You can find the US version over on Sophie Moss' blog along with an interview with Diane!  So here goes:

Fairy Cake Ingredients:

4 oz butter
7 oz white sugar
4 oz brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
4.25 fl oz cup sour cream, room temperature
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (scrape seeds into batter & discard hull)
7.5 oz cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 handfuls rolled oats

{ Now here’s where the MAGIC comes in! According to your fancy, add any of the following ingredients that you like (go with what your heart tells you!):

2 oz of chopped walnuts/or pecans
3.5 oz of chopped dried fruit (such as dates, cranberries, apple, or apricots)

A few flower petals!

Then wiggle your fingers and sprinkle joyful feelings (it matters!) }

Lemon Fairy Icing Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese
2 oz butter
2 cups powdered confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (zest)
Several drops of yellow food coloring (to desired color)
(Feel free to add more or less sugar/lemon to taste)

Directions for Enchanted Irish Fairy Cakes:

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Cream the butter & sugar in a bowl until light & fluffy, then add eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract & vanilla seeds (discard hull) and mix until creamy. Add flour, cornstarch, salt & baking soda and mix until just combined (don’t overmix). Stir in by hand the with a wooden spoon the 2 handfuls of rolled oats and any or all of the following: chopped nuts, dried fruit, flower petals & sprinkles of good feeling (remember, this is where your MAGIC comes in—so be creative and play!). Spoon the batter to fill cupcakes liners & bake for 20-30 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool to room temperature before frosting.

Directions for Lemon Fairy Icing:

Mix cream cheese & butter & add lemon juice, lemon zest & powdered sugar, beating until creamy. Spread a generous amount on each fairy cake—and if you happen to swipe a lick (like Rose does in Twixt), prepare yourself to see fairies! Adorn with flower petals, of course!

My added special ingredients were dried black cherries and pecans - and I can tell you now, they were delicious!

Want to know how these cakes can help you see fairies?

Go read the book!


Sophie Moss said...

Wonderful post, Meg! Loved Twixt and LOVED the fairy cakes! I made mine with sugared dates. :) Isn't the lemon icing out of control? Never tasted anything like it before. YUMMMM! :)

Diane J. Reed said...

So delighted that you enjoyed the book TWIXT and made the recipe! Hope it helped you spot a fairy or two... ; )

Lisa Shambrook said...

I shall be passing this recipe on to my daughter who is experimenting with cakes right now...and a true 'fairy' cake should be enchanting! And Diane's book sounds great!

Meg McNulty said...

You won't regret it Lisa! Until you've eaten two in a row, that is *looks guiltily at crumbs*