This week is National Vegetarian Week! What better way to celebrate than with these delicious bite-sized cakes which are packed full of goodness and iced with a delicious cream cheese frosting in a rainbow of colours. I used natural food colours for the cream cheese frosting, containing beetroot, paprika, turmeric, tomatoes and grape skins which are now widely available in most supermarkets. One word of caution: don’t make the colours too strong as you may then be able to detect some of those flavours! If you would like more than one flavour of cake, make up one cake mix, divide it into two or three, and add 150g each of two different fruit or vegetables, or 100g each of three.


Makes 80–90 tiny fairy (mini muffin) cakes,
or 36 fairy cakes


For the cakes

80–90 mini muffin paper cases, or 36 fairy cake cases

350g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

80ml whole milk

120ml sunflower oil

230g light muscovado sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

300g prepared fruit or vegetables. Choose from: blueberries; courgette (roughly grated and excess moisture removed); apple (skinned, cored and grated); parsnip (peeled and grated); carrot (peeled and grated); or banana (roughly chopped)


For the frosting

240g icing sugar, sifted

500g cream cheese

juice of up to 1½ lemons

natural liquid food colours: blue, green, yellow, pink, red



  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½. Line as many small-hole baking trays as you have with paper cases. (Or line three fairy cake trays with fairy cake cases.) Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, oil, sugar and eggs. Prepare your chosen vegetables or fruit. Make sure they are very well dried to avoid soggy cakes!
  2. Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, taking care not to over-mix, then fold in the vegetables or fruit. Spoon into the cases and bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch. You may need to bake them in batches. Cool on a wire rack. (If you are making fairy cakes, they need to be baked for 15–20 minutes.)
  3. To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar into the cream cheese. Gradually add the lemon juice, to taste, then divide into six little bowls. Colour each bowl a different colour of the rainbow, mixing the food colours to achieve the orange and purple tones.
  4. Divide the little cakes into six equal groups. Spread the frosting on to the cakes with a small blunt knife. You will have at least 12 of each colour. These cakes need to be iced on the day they are to be eaten, though the un-iced cakes freeze well, if you need to get ahead.


Taken from Celebration Cakes by Fiona Cairns, published by Quadrille. Photography by Laura Edwards. Available on amazon.