Are Cupcakes The Same As Fairy Cakes? | CoachSweetTooth

Are cupcakes the same as fairy cakes? This one question needs to be answered when it comes to cakes and baking.

Do you feel cupcakes are the same as fairy cakes? Are you confused about the differences between cupcakes and fairy cakes? This post is for you.

The size of cupcakes is larger than fairy cakes. Moreover, cupcakes use a lavish amount of frosting on top. On the other hand, fairy cakes are smaller and often drizzled with icing instead of being piled up with cream or other types of frosting that American cupcakes are famous for.

Many people believe that cupcakes are the same as fairy cakes. While the two are types of cakes that are baked using similar ingredients, they are different in terms of size and the type of frosting used on top of each. Moreover, there are several other differences between cupcakes and fairy cakes. However, regardless of their differences, whether it's a birthday party or a dinner, there is always room for both.

As baking enthusiasts who have tried and tested creating different types and sizes of cakes, we have decided to take a stand and thoroughly explain the differences between the fairy cake and the cupcake. Here’s a guide for you to better understand whether cupcakes are the same as fairy cakes.

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Are Cupcakes the Same as Fairy Cakes – Understanding the Difference

Cupcakes and fairy cakes are two different types of cakes that are baked using a very similar mixture. However, they are different in terms of size, frosting, and presentation. Let's take a closer look at the differences between cupcakes and fairy cakes so you can find the answer to your question, "are cupcakes the same as fairy cakes?"

Cupcakes are Larger than Fairy Cakes

Perhaps the most obvious difference between cupcakes and fairy cakes is that cupcakes are larger in size compared to fairy cakes. Traditionally, cupcakes are baked in slightly larger cases, and you can typically find a 95mm case for cupcakes, whereas many manufacturers sell smaller 60 mm cases for baking fairy cakes.

While the difference in the size of cupcakes and fairy cakes is the most noticeable difference, there are other distinctions that will help you differentiate between cupcakes and fairy cakes.

The Toppings of Cupcakes vs. Fairy Cakes are Different

The toppings of the fairy cakes and cupcakes are different.

Traditionally, American cupcakes are piled with a high volume of topping or frosting, typically that of buttercream or cream cheese. The high piled frosting is what makes American cupcakes a popular sugary treat. On the other hand, fairy cakes are often sprinkled with icing such as icing sugar or sprinkles instead of a high pile of frosting. Unlike the popular American cupcakes, you will not find any heavy cream frosting on fairy cakes, and they typically look like Victoria sponge cakes.

Apart from the two obvious differences in size and toppings, there are other less noticeable differences between cupcakes and fairy cakes. However, they are worth mentioning to fully understand how the two types of cakes differ.

The Presentation Differs

Fairy cakes are typically baked in smaller cases, and their trays are usually different from the normal cupcake trays. Moreover, their toppings vary. However, they are also presented in a different way than cupcakes. Traditionally, the tops of fairy cakes are cut off and set aside. Furthermore, a small amount of jam is placed in the center. Finally, the top is cut into two and is placed on either side of the center of the lower part of the fairy cake such that the cake resembles the wings of a fairy. Given its distinct shape that resembles fairy wings, fairy cakes got their name.

On the other hand, once the cupcakes are baked, their top is neither cut nor the center is filled with jam. Rather, it is topped with heavy frosting, typically that of cream cheese or buttercream.

Fairy Cakes Are Made Using Simple Sponge

While cupcakes and fairy cakes are often prepared using the creaming method where butter and sugar are mixed together, followed by the eggs and finally the flour. However, fairy cakes are typically made using a simple Victoria sponge mixture, whereas cupcakes are now becoming increasingly innovative and rely on the use of flavorings such as chocolate, prosecco, and salted caramel.

Target Audience

Last on the list of differences between the cupcakes and fairy cakes is the target audience. The consumers of both cupcakes and fairy cakes are not the same. Given its larger size and a heavier topping, cupcakes are typically more of an adult treat compared to sweet snacks for children. However, the smaller and less sugary version of cupcakes, fairy cakes, is more of a delight for kids. Fairy cakes are smaller and are topped with less sugar, so it serves better as a convenient snack for children of all ages.


Lori Gilmore

Lori Gilmore

Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.

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