Butterfly CakesCredit: authors own image

For a great twist on the classic cupcake, have you ever tried making what are known as ‘butterfly cupcakes?’ Not only do they look more interesting and three dimensional than the average fairy cake, everyone will wonder how you made the little butterfly in the middle with extra sponge!

The secret is that you simply cut a small circle out from the middle of the cupcake and fill this with delicious, light and fluffy butter cream. Sprinkled with a light dusting of icing sugar, these little gems will melt in the mouth and look really impressive at a party or for a special occasion.

CupcakeCredit: rosevitaIf you simply do not like lemon then you can miss it out of the recipe altogether and you will still get delicious and classic cupcakes. Alternatively, try adding lime if you really like a citrus kick or even orange juice. There are many other ways you could customize this recipe to create any butterfly cake style that takes your fancy.

If reading that has enticed you to make these sweet treats, then follow my simple recipe and you will be eating them in no time at all. Essentially they are created using exactly the same method that you would use for baking sponge cakes, so there is nothing fancy or complicated to remember in this recipe. So without further ado, let us get started with how to make these delightful and special fairy cakes.


  • 150g self raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Filling

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 200g butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • Optional jam for decorating

Butterfly Cake 2Credit: authors own image












Step 1

First things first, find a cupcake baking tray or bun tray and place your individual fairy cases on them. This recipe will make either twenty-four regular sized cupcakes, or around twelve large ones if you prefer to fill the cases more deeply.

This method using paper cupcake cases means that you do not have to grease up any baking tins, and it is quick and simple to set up in a few seconds. Alternatively, you could use re-usable silicon cupcake cases which are great for the environment.

In addition, preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 to get started. This recipe really does not take long to prepare, so you will have them in the oven in no time at all. Now that you are all prepped, let’s move on to step number two.

Butterfly Cake 4Credit: authors own image

Step 2

In a large mixing bowl, combine the caster sugar, butter, vanilla extract and lemon juice together. Essentially this is all the wet ingredients and doing this means that we can work them together before adding the dry ingredients. Next up, using either your hand whisk or wooden spoon, add the eggs gradually a bit at a time to the cake batter.

Once they are all combined into the mixture, use a wooden spoon to fold the sifted flour and baking powder into the mix. You want the cupcakes to be fluffy and light and therefore you need as much air as possible to get to that flour. Hold the sieve high up for extra fluffiness, but try not to miss the bowl completely, as flour on the kitchen top is not going to make a cupcake!

Butterfly Cakes 1Credit: authors own image

Step 3

Now that everything is combined nicely together, simply use a wooden spoon and a tablespoon to scoop even sized dollops into the cupcake containers. Take your time to ensure that they are all roughly even, because after this there is no going back once they bake in the oven. Once you are happy with them, place the cupcake trays in the oven for around twenty minutes at 180C or Gas Mark 4.

Keep an eye on them from around fifteen minutes into the bake. Once they appear to be a nice, soft golden color on top then you know they are fully cooked and ready to take out of the oven. Use the 'knife check' and insert a clean knife into one of them. If it comes back out clean then you can be sure that the cupcake is cooked throughout. Allow the cupcakes to fully cool on a wire rack before going on to step four.

Butterfly Cakes 6Credit: authors own image

Step 4

This is the most creative part of the butterfly cupcakes process. If you are worried, you do not have to be, because it could not be easier to do this step. The first thing to do is to make the delicious butter cream icing which our little butterflies are going to rest upon in the center of the cakes. In a medium sized bowl, combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla extract and lemon juice together. Stir until everything is integrated and you have a nice, creamy texture.

Get a sharp knife and carefully cut a small circle in the center of one of the cupcakes. Use the knife to help get underneath the circle and it should gently come out in one piece. Fill the hole with the butter cream and cut your sponge piece down the middle into two wings.

Place the wings back on the fairy cake and you have made a butterfly cupcake! Dust with icing sugar for a special and magical looking touch.

You just need to repeat this process for how ever many cupcakes you have made. You will certainly feel like an expert baker by the end of this process if you have twenty-four to ice!

Butterfly Cakes 5Credit: authors own image

However, if at this point you are feeling lazy or think that this simply sounds like too much hard work, then why not make half into butterfly cakes. For the other half, simply add the butter cream to the top of the fairy cakes.

There you go, butterfly cakes made easy. I personally like to add a hint of edible glitter to mine.

These go down a treat at parties, special events and large gatherings. It is nice to make something different from the average cupcake every once in awhile, and the lemon flavor takes everyone by surprise too.

I hope that this simple and easy recipe is something you feel encouraged to try out today. Even if you are worried that you may go wrong cutting the butterfly wings out, do not worry as you have lots of spare ones to try it out on.

Below is a You Tube video from Kirstie Wilson showing you how to make these delicious butterfly cupcakes.

(All cup cake images are the authors own).