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Tuesday 15 January 2013

Baking for Beginners: Parma Violet and Chocolate Fairy Cakes

Remember Parma Violet sweets? As kids we were divided into those who liked them and those who thought they were the Devi'ls own confectionary. I hadn't seen them in years then stumbled upon GIANT ones in Morrisons today so snapped up 4 packs (30p each - win) and headed home through the snow determined to make some kind of celebratory cake creation.

I've replaced lots of the icing sugar in the buttercream with Parma Violets that have been blitzed to a powder in a coffee grinder. You could also chuck them in a blender/processor or just bash them to a powder with a rolling pin. It's not overpowering at the ratio I've used but if you want a full-on violet hit then you could just use 200g of sweets and no icing sugar. I didn't have any food dye so I grated half a small beetroot and squeezed in a few drops of juice to colour the icing (I now have very purple hands as a result so I recommend the easier option of a few drops of dye).

You'll need: (Makes 6)

For the cake mix:
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 capful vanilla extract
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • small pinch salt
For the icing:
  • 125 g butter
  • 75g cream cheese
  • 120g Parma Violets
  • 80g icing sugar
  • couple drops of purple food dye
To decorate: (optional)
  • edible glitter 
Make it!
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Using an electric beater, cream together the butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla and pinch of salt, beat until well mixed then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and stir until fully combined.
  2. Put 12 small cake cases into the holes of a cake tray and fill each one 3/4 full with cake mix. Bake for between 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes from the middle nice and clean. Remove from their cases and cool on a wire rack.
  3. Make your icing by beating together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Blitz your Parma Violets to a powder using a coffee grinder/processor/rolling pin. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the powder for later then add the rest to the icing mixture along with the icing sugar and food dye and mix really well.
  4. Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully slice the tops off 6 of them and cut the bit you sliced off into half to make your fairy wings.
  5. Put the reserved tablespoon of violet powder into a small sieve and dust all over the cakes. To assemble simply top one cake with icing then add one of the ones that you have sliced the top off onto the icing bed, cover with more icing then arrange your wings and dust liberally with more Parma violet powder and edible glitter.


  1. These are the CUTEST. You can buy violet syrup from Monin - that might come in handy in place of the actual sweeties.

    1. ooh loving the sound of that for cocktails...

  2. oh these look & sound fabulous - must find that Monin syrup too - sounds a treat!

  3. These cakes both look and sound amazing! I am now on the lookout for some Parma violets of my own so I can get baking, I wonder what other sweets will work as icing, hmm...

  4. HA HA, time to try and Syn cost these for Slimming World. Oh boy, that'll be fun.

    Gonna give making these a go even though I'm both a man and useless at baking. They sound too good to pass up. Thanks for a great-looking recipe!


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