There are times when fancy is good. Times when you want to push the boat out and bake some edible delicacy worthy of a master baker.
And there are times when simple wins.
Those are the times when just the act of baking is the thing. When small hands, eager to help, poke fingers into cake batter and lick spoons with abandon. When your kitchen resembles a Jackson Pollack painting as icing is flung into the four corners, and you're still finding it, days later, encrusted on the wall. As a child, baking is about far more than the end result; it's a rite of passage. And its about sprinkles. Lots and lots of candy-coloured sprinkles.
For those times, the simplest baking recipe is the best.
It never fails. Four ounces each of caster sugar, self-raising flour and butter. 2 eggs.
If you want more, enough to make a cake rather than little fairy cakes, then increase the measurements to 6+6+6+3.
If you're feeling fancy, add a teaspoon of vanilla essence. And get ready to make the best kind of mess. For fairy cakes, 15 minutes in a hot oven is enough. But my mum never gave me the oven times. Just the formula for easy little buns, perfect for little hands to have their first attempt at baking.