happy birthday to me!

18 May 2007

(or, it wouldn’t be a craft blog without patty* cakes)

It’s my birthday and by golly, I deserve CAKE! Little fresh patty cakes, sweet vanilla sponge with sharp lemon icing or passionfruit curd and cream.

Here they are fresh out of the oven. That’s the passionfruit curd in the bowl.


I couldn’t decide between icing or butterfly cakes, so I made both. Because it’s my birthday and it’s all about me today.
These ones have lemon icing and silver cachous.
pattycakes 1

These ones are butterfly cakes with cream and passionfruit curd.

I’d forgotten till today how much I loved patty cakes when I was a kid. At my first primary school, there was a fundraising event called Patty Cake Day; when everyone’s mothers made patty cakes, and the kids bought them for 20c each at morning recess. I liked it so much, that when I had bad dreams, my mum tricked me back to sleep by telling me to chant ‘patty-cake-day-patty-cake-day-patty-cake-day’ to myself.

*that’s a tiny salvo in the culture wars. In this country, they’re called patty cakes, NOT cupcakes.

Patty Cakes (based on my grandmother’s recipe). Makes 12.
120g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 150C

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix well.

Spoon into patty pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are nicely pale brown and a skewer comes out clean.

Icing (for 12)
Put half a cup of icing sugar in a small bowl. Mix in 1 tsp of lemon juice with a knife, and mix until completely combined. Add another 1 tsp of lemon juice, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, and stopping when you have a stiff paste. I know this sounds fiddly, but you don’t want drizzly icing for cupcakes, and it can turn very liquid very quickly. You can add more sugar to stiffen it up, but this can be a catch-22 that leaves you with three cups of unusable icing.

Passionfruit curd (also from my grandmother)
Pulp from about 4 passionfruit (this will vary seasonally, but you want about 1/4 cup of pulp. You can sieve it to get the seeds out but I don’t usually bother).
2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 eggs
60g butter

Put everything in a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (I sit it on the steamer rack), and stir with a hand whisk until thickened (about 15 minutes) – it should coat the back of a spoon. Resist the temptation to turn the heat up and make the water boil – the curd will split and you will get egg lumps in passionfruit juice.

6 Responses to “happy birthday to me!”

  1. Helga said

    Happy birthday!

    The cakes look delicious, if it wasn’t so hot in Monterrey (that’s Mexico) right now, I would try the recipe (I can’t even think about turning the oven on today!)

  2. Bec said


    Love these little cakes!!! The little silver balls bring back so many childhood memories!! 🙂


  3. livebird said

    You are so right – I’m so used to hearing ‘cupcake’ and ‘cookie’ that I’ve forgotten about the ‘patty cakes’ and ‘biscuits’ that I knew when I was a small creature. Not that we aren’t still very well acquainted, it’s just that they have been veiled behind a different, culturally incorrect name. ‘Patty pans’ – does that refer to the paper cup, or to the tray in which they sit? Important, riveting dilemas deserving of lengthy and heated discussion, I feel.

  4. Ali said

    Hmmm, not sure if I meant the pan itself (which I have always called a patty pan though my nanna insists they are called ‘gem scone trays’) or also the paper used to line them. Perhaps I meant both.

    And yes, with you on biscuits vs cookies, though I understand that in the US a biscuit is more like what I’d call a scone?

  5. melissa said

    these look so yummy, thank you for the recipe!
    i love the story abou how you would chant ‘patty-cake-day’ to yourself as a child. that would cure anyone’s bad dreams.

  6. Just found your blog and I’m reading your archives. This entry was so fun — I’ve never heard of pattycakes, except in the song we sung as children. I just thought it was an old term for some sort of “flat cake” that had long since been dropped. Now I’ll sing that song with a vision of a our adorable patty cakes in my head!

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