Lemon fairy cakes recipe

(719 ratings)

Lemon fairy cakes
  • healthy
Preparation Time25 mins (includes making the icing)
Cooking Time30 mins plus cooling
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories300 Kcal15%
Fat16 g23%

Our lemon fairy cakes are infused with vanilla, lemon zest and made with golden caster sugar, which adds to the warm, golden appearance of the fairy cakes. 

The sweet, citrus topping is made using just four ingredients; butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon curd. The tanginess of the lemon curd really adds a zing and punch of flavour to each bite. These lemon fairy cakes are one of our favourite afternoon tea ideas.


For the fairy cakes:

  • 100g butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, mixed with 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1-2tbsp milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the topping:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon curd




  1. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper bun cases.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar in a food mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs and the flour. Add the milk so the mixture easily drops off a spoon. Add the lemon zest and stir through the mix.
  3. Put 1tbsp of mixture into each fairy cake case and bake near the top of a preheated oven at 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5) for 12-15 mins, until springy to the touch, golden and risen. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. For the topping, beat the butter with 50g (2oz) icing sugar, then add the rest of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract (add a few drops of natural food colouring for coloured icing).
  5. Scoop the very top off each cake and cut in half to make 'wings'. Mix some lemon curd into the butter cream, then fill each cavity and place the 'wings' on top.
  6. You could also spread the buttercream over the top of the cakes instead of making the butterfly 'wings' and add decorative flowers (we got ours from Squires Kitchen)

Top tips for making lemon fairy cakes

Try not to over whisk the ingredients once the eggs have been beaten in. Over whisking can add too much air to the mixture and will cause tunnels in the cakes.

These fairy cakes should last around 3-4 days, which makes them a perfect gift option. Just pop into a cake box and tie with a ribbon.

You might also like…

Mary Berry’s fairy cakes

Chocolate fairy cakes

Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake

Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies