Fairy [Bread] Cake (This Is What My Memories Taste Like)

Fairy [Bread] Cake (This Is What My Memories Taste Like)

Shown here on Halloween, c 1980 or 81. From left, my younger sister, me, my older sister. 

Shown here on Halloween, c 1980 or 81. From left, my younger sister, me, my older sister. 

When I was a little girl, my mom sometimes surprised my sisters and I . . .

. . . with Fairy Bread, slices of squishy white sandwich bread liberally spread with butter and topped with sprinkles. I thought everyone was familiar with this but, like the Elk my dad hunted and then turned into chili, or the cow's brains he once convinced us to try by claiming it to be chicken (less fond memories. Sorry dad.), mentions of Fairy Bread tend to elicit blank stares from most everyone. Had I grown up in Australia or New Zealand, this would not have been the case.

It wasn't until quite recently that I learned the origins of Fairy Bread, both its appearance on  tables in AU and NZ, as well as in our humble house on Holly Place. An extremely popular birthday treat Down Under, it came into our lives via the mother—who happens to be Australian—of my oldest friend. 

This cake is inspired by Fairy Bread and the magical qualities of something so simple. Makes me wonder what other Down Under treats I've been missing out on (Anzac Biscuits, I'm looking at you).  

The finished cake is about the size of a trade paperback book (show here to scale on a co-worker's desk).

The finished cake is about the size of a trade paperback book (show here to scale on a co-worker's desk).

Fairy [Bread] Cake
Makes two "slices"
Note: this cake requires a special pan, which can be found here

3 c (300 g) cake flour
1 T baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1 c (240 g) whole milk, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c (300 g) sugar

Preheat oven to 325° and prepare the silicone pan by spraying with cooking spray. Set the pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Measure the 1 c of milk, mix in the vanilla extract, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until lighter in color and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after the addition of each white. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. 

Reduce the mixer to low speed and alternately add in the dry and wet ingredients in a few additions: dry/wet/dry/wet/dry. Once the last bit of dry has gone in, stop the mixer and finish with a few turns of a silicone spatula to ensure all ingredients are combines (esp. scraping the bottom of the bowl).

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan set atop the baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for 1 hour 10 min to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top springs back lightly when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan set on a rack. 

Buttercream

12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c (150 g) confectioners sugar
2 T (28 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until thoroughly combined. Turn off the mixer, add in the confectioners sugar then turn the mixer on, gradually increasing the speed as the sugar combines with the butter until you reach medium speed. Add in the salt and mix for two minutes until fluffy and well-combined.

To assemble the Fairy [Bread] Cake: Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally making two cake "slices." Spread half of the buttercream on each and top as desired with sprinkles. 

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