Fairy cakes on a wire rack with a pot of jam, a pink spoon, a plate of icing sugar and a bowl of buttercream frosting off to the side

Mammy buns

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always referred to buns as ‘mammy buns’. That’s what our mammy made and if you went to a friend’s house as a kid and there were buns, you could be assured they were made by their mammy. But no matter what you call them – fairy cakes, queen cakes, cupcakes or buns – these little classics were a staple growing up, especially at a party along with Rice Krispie buns.
Makes 12 large cupcakes or 24 small traditional buns
165g butter, very soft
165g caster sugar
165g self-raising flour
3 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla
To decorate (choose one):
jam and desiccated coconut
jam and buttercream frosting or whipped cream
buttercream frosting and sprinkles
For the buttercream (if using):
300g icing sugar
150g very soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
1–2 tbsp milk (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Line your cupcake or bun trays with paper cases (12 cupcake cases or 24 smaller bun cases).

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined, fluffy batter. This will take a minute or two.

Divide the batter among the paper cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 18–20 minutes for the larger cupcakes or 14–16 minutes for the smaller buns, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely

Meanwhile, to make the buttercream frosting (if using), put the icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer. Start on a slow speed (or you’ll have a big mess!) and beat everything together for about 5 minutes, adding 1–2 tablespoons of milk if you would like to make the frosting a little softer.

Now decorate as desired:

  • Spread a little jam across the top of each bun and roll in desiccated coconut.
  • Cut the top off each bun. Decorate with a little jam and frosting or freshly whipped cream. Cut the top in half and place back on the bun to look like butterfly wings.
  • Pipe on some buttercream frosting and decorate with sprinkles.


From BAKE: Traditional Irish Baking with Modern Twists by Graham Herterich

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