Monday, 28 November 2011

Butterfly Cakes

Recipe Number One Hundred & Twenty Four:  Page 118.

I have such fond childhood memories of making and eating butterfly cakes. I think they were and still are a staple cake for children’s parties and a wonderful thing to bake with little ones. Baking is definitely not one of my mother's favourite pastimes but that doesn't mean she didn't bring out a mixing bowl and wooden spoon when my sister and I were small. I can still remember having great fun making these; I was amazed when my little cake turned into a butterfly! I really think these cakes started me off on my baking obsession. My mum is currently staying with us and I know how much she still loves these little cakes, so I thought I'd take her on a trip down memory lane.

The recipe is very similar to Mary's Victoria Sandwich cake and so very simple to make. I measured the flour, eggs and butter into a bowl. When I added the sugar a giant lump, big enough to rival a golf ball, fell from the packet and landed with a heavy thud. This amount was far too much. When I carefully tried to remove the oversized sugar lump, it of course fell to bits. It took a while to extract the surplus with a spoon. Once all of the ingredients were included, I used my electric whisk to combine it all together. Mary is quite particular on how long to beat the mixture; she says to keep going for two to three minutes. It did seem a long time but it did indeed take that long before it became smooth and lump free. I can quite imagine her whisking with a stopwatch! I spooned the smooth mixture into the cupcake cases. I love making cupcakes and muffins as I don't have to faff about lining tins! They only needed 15 – 20 minutes in the oven. I very nearly forgot about them as I was too busy yacking to mum!

My little cakes were a little more golden in colour than perhaps I would have liked but they looked good and well risen. I had to make the buttercream next; I don't know why I had decided to clean the kitchen the day before making these. It was heartbreaking whisking the butter and icing sugar together and watching it spray all over the once gleaming work surface and floor. It seemed to take ages before the two ingredients combined, or at least it seemed so. The buttercream was so light and fluffy by the time it was ready that it almost melted in the mouth.

I enjoyed slicing the little domed top off each cake and then cutting it in half to form the wings of the butterfly. I piped what I thought to be generous swirls of buttercream onto each cake. I can't have been as generous as I'd thought as I still had nearly half of the buttercream left over. I therefore went round each cake again! I happily popped the wings on top of each cake; I really did feel like I was six years old again. It was a lovely feeling and I can't wait until my little boy can get baking with me in the kitchen.

Once my little butterfly cakes had the obligatory dusting of icing sugar they were ready to be eaten, yippeee! They were of course just as I'd remembered; a light cake with sweet smooth buttercream. Neil thought them very moreish and Mum loved not only the look but the taste. I think they brought memories back for Mum too. This time I didn't have to stand on a chair to reach the worktop or need help with weighing the ingredients. I felt rather proud to pass a cake to my mum and know I'd made it all by myself!!
Fluttering butterflies! :-)
Recipe Variation: Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

I was in need of something to perk me up after a long week; a chocolate fix was in order! These little cakes sounded very tempting and I was keen to sink my teeth into one or most likely two. I could either leave the sponge plain and simply fill with a chocolate butter cream or both could be chocolate. Well, I think you can guess which I went for. As if there was ever any choice!!

I made the sponge up as for the original recipe. The only variation was to deduct a little flour and replace with cocoa powder. I used my electric whisk to combine all the ingredients together. After a couple of minutes of vigorous whisking I was left with a beautifully smooth chocolatey mixture - YUM! Isaac took over the important task of licking out the bowl. I felt rather envious as he greedily scraped the bowl clean. When his little brother is born I will be elbowing him out of the way!!! 

The cakes rose beautifully in the oven and as they cooled on a wire rack I made the chocolate butter cream. I heated up some water in the kettle and poured a little into a mixing bowl along with a few tablespoonfuls of cocoa powder. When the lumps of cocoa had dissolved I tipped in a horrifying amount of butter. I thought I would give it a quick beating before adding the icing sugar. Big mistake! The chocolate liquid splattered over everything within a twelve inch radius. I should of used a larger bowl. To try and avoid further mess I whisked in the dreaded icing sugar a little at a time. Of course a cloud of dust soon appeared but it wasn't as bad as I'd feared!

I ended up with a huge amount of butter cream. I filled the cakes as much as I could but I was still left with a half full piping bag. The cakes looked very rich and chocolatey and they tasted just as they looked. I was in heaven! The cakes were moist and light and the butter cream was sweet and mousse like. I went to share one with Isaac. I tried to give him one of the 'wings' but he wasn't sure that this was a fair deal. He turned his nose up at my offering and said "want the big one" pointing at the butter cream filled cake I was about to scoff!! 

I know I will be making these delicious little cakes again. They really hit the spot!
Oh go on then!
Recipe Variation: Lemon Butterfly Cakes

Before starting this challenge I'd only ever made butterfly cakes as a small child. For some reason I associated them with childhood and hadn't considered making them since. Now I'm on my third batch of these cute little cakes and I am hooked once again.

For the variation I simply needed to add the zest of one lemon to the cake mixture and a little juice to the buttercream. I have to say that the lemon buttercream was quite addictive and I could of eaten it on its own!

The cakes were light with a delicate lemony flavour and the buttercream almost melted in my mouth. Yet another yummy butterfly cake. They really are for ALL ages not just for children!! 
Lemon Butterfly Cakes


  1. They look amazing! Such a lovely thing to bake for your mum. I don't know why I've never made my own butterfly cakes either - must change that asap.

  2. What pretty butterfly cakes, I bet those won't last long around the house!

  3. Thank you Baking Addict! Great cakes to make, they are so simple and quick. xx

    Thanks Jo. You are right, they were all gone within 24 hours!! xx

  4. Those are the first cakes I remember making! They look so much better than mine probably did. bet Isaac loved them xxx Dor

  5. Thanks lovely Dor. I think they are such a lovely thing to make when you're small. I'm sure yours were wonderful! Isaac did indeed love them. xxx

  6. That look really pretty, how did you make that!! That would take me forever.. look amazing though :)

  7. these look gorgeous! can you believe I never made these as a kid :( i was deprived in the art of baking! xx

  8. Thank you!! You were indeed a deprived child! You should make some now to make up for it ;-) xx

  9. Thanks Julieta! They are very easy. Cut out a circle of sponge from the top of each cake. Pipe a swirl of buttercream into the dip in each cake. Take the circle of cake cut out cake and cut in half. Place on top of buttercream and they look like wings!!

  10. Childhood memories on a plate! Yum yum!! x

  11. Mmn, these look delicious, especially the chocolate ones! It's 11am on a Saturday morning and I'm contemplating what to have for a late breakfast. All I can think of now is these!!!