Fairy Tales and Fairy Cakes

I had intended to post this on Valentine's Day because I'd read that The Princess Trap, by the amazing and inimitable Talia Hibbert, was initially intended to be a Valentine's Day novella. 

I did not manage to post this for Valentine's Day, but I suppose that's fitting because The Princess Trap did not end up being a Valentine's Day novella for which I (a Valentine's Day hater) am glad. The Princess Trap is instead a fabulous (if sometimes heart-wrenching) full length novel. 

A modern fairytale.

Complete with fairy cakes. 

The truth is, royal romances aren't generally my thing, but mostly that's because I don't love monarchies as a form of government and because they often tend to gloss over things that I have trouble suspending my disbelief over. Like, as I've maybe previously mentioned, I don't love that several of the royal romances I've read have had Jewish love interests for princes and no one seems to want to talk about anti-Semitism... which on the one hand I'm like, yes, anti-Semitism is decidedly unsexy but on the other, like, why introduce this potential conflict and not deal with it? It just... doesn't make sense to me.

The Princess Trap *doesn't* do that. Not that it deals with anti-Semitism, but it delves into the issues it presents like racism, classism, abuse (in multiple forms: do read the content warnings, please), homophobia (specifically, people being shitty about a dude being bi), and kinkphobia (if that's the word for people being shitty about kink). Also, there isn't any hint of, "being a prince is awesome! I wanna be a princess!" here. Cherry is decidedly not happy about getting involved with a prince and being scrutinized by the press and the public. It's a different take on a royal romance and I love that, even if my work-brain has trouble not thinking about the complications of immigration involving foreign monarchs and whether this fictional country is party to the Hague Convention and I have to remind myself, romance novel. Not real people. Not a real country. Not subject to real laws. 


Cherry is fierce and charming and badass and perfect. And a curvy girl. As a big and curvy girl myself, I am not always pleased by all representations of big and/or curvy girls but Cherry is confident and beautiful and Ruben is into every inch of her and it is perfect. Unsurprisingly, cuz, well Talia Hibbert wrote it so of course it's perfect. 

Ruben is an absolute delight. I just cannot even begin to tell you how much I love him. He is charming and complicated and tries so fucking hard. He's like the antithesis of everything I hate about princes, he's all about like grassroots work and lives in the guest house and I just... want to hug him?

Demi, Hans, Agatha, Maggie, and all the rest of the supporting cast are lovely and developed and build a beautiful world for the main characters to live in.

The Princess Trap does such an excellent balance of funny and sweet and sexy and serious, and that's what I love about Talia Hibbert. All of her books are funny and sweet and sexy and serious: she does such a brilliant job of balancing all the elements so that the characters and stories really just hit all the buttons. 

But anyway, I'm here to talk fairy cakes. 

Because sure, Cherry has chocolate cake for her birthday and I did initially choose to make this recipe for a birthday for which my friend requested chocolate, but the fairy cakes scene is just so epically charming that I couldn't resist making fairy cakes instead. Also, The Princess Trap was the first time I'd ever heard of fairy cakes and didn't know if they were a British thing or a Cherry thing but they sounded like fun. I've since seen/heard of them elsewhere and found enough internet recipes to discern that they are probably a British thing that Talia Hibbert did not invent, but in my mind they will always be Cherry's.

So I followed this recipe, because, well, I've never seen or tasted a fairy cake so I wasn't about to trust my own judgement. 

Prep: 20m     Cook: 20m     Makes: 12 cakes


  • 100g sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 80g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk


  • Heat the oven to 355F. 
  • Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners. 

I thought Cherry's description as "smaller than cupcakes" meant they should be in the mini cupcake tins, but the Chocolate Fairy Cake recipe I found didn't call for mini tins, and they made smaller-than-normal cupcakes in my normal cupcake tin so that's, you know, fine? But if I did it again I'd probably go with the mini size.
  • Put the sugar and butter in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. 
  • Gradually mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to the bowl and mix to make a smooth batter. 
  • Fold the milk through to loosen. 
  • Divide the mixture evenly.
  • Bake for 20 mins, or until a cocktail stick poked into the center of one of the cakes in the middle row comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, make the icing. I went with chocolate frosting from the recipe I found rather than something I could dye lavender and other pastel colors, or marble because that's what was with the recipe and, I thought, what my friend would want. But I did take the glitter, sprinkles, little pearls, and tiny stars *very* seriously. 


  • 75g softened butter
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsp milk


  • Beat together the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl for 5-10 mins, until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. 
  • Add the milk to loosen if needed. 
  • Pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes and decorate with edible glitter, sprinkles, pearls, stars, etc. etc. etc. 

Anyway, I've said it before and I'll surely say it again... I'm not really a fan of chocolate cake... Cherry and Ruben and I are just not in agreement here. But these went over really well with my friend whose birthday I made them for and the other friend I shared them with and I can absolutely say the texture was lovely, and they were super cute... but honestly they kind of left me just wanting more chocolate? If you want something lightly chocolatey, though, this is the recipe for you!


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