Put 16 paper cases into a tray of bun tins (or cupcake tins).
Cream the butter and the sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour.
Half fill the paper cases. Bake at 190 C / Gas 5 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the icing: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add a few drops of vanilla if desired.
Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the hot water until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream. Beat until white and smooth and the icing is thick enough to coat on the back of the spoon. Add colouring if liked and use at once .
Ice the cooled cakes. Add jellies on top if desired.
If the mixture curdles when adding the eggs tip all the beaten eggs in and quickly stir in the flour.