Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl and then add the vanilla essence.
Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour between each.
Fold in the rest of the flour and then add a little milk as needed.
Food Processor Method
Add the butter, sugar, vanilla essence, eggs and flour to the food processor and blend until smooth.
Add a little milk and pulse - add enough milk to achieve a soft, dropping consistency.
Divide the mixture between 12 bun cases in a muffin tin. Bake in the oven at 200°C (Electric oven | Electric fan oven 180°C | Gas Mark 6) for 10 - 20 minutes until cooked and golden on top. Don't overcook the fairy cakes otherwise they will dry out. Lift the fairy cakes out of the muffin tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For a simple icing topping, add a little water to some icing sugar until you have a smooth paste. When the cakes are cool, drizzle some icing mixture over the top. These fairy cakes are best eaten on the day they are made.