Butterfly Cakes

Before we get started I want to wish a happy 4th July to all my American friends, I hope you have a great day :D

Now back to todays post, nothing screams British summer more to me then the humble and rather simple butterfly cakes, pretty, effective and really tasty :D

butterfly cakes

Lovely Vanilla

There is no hard and fast rule stating these should be vanilla. I have seen chocolate ones in the past but traditionally they are vanilla because they have a jammy little secret in the middle that tastes better with vanilla.

butterfly cakes

That’s what always makes these little cakes so special. When you were buying them you never knew what jam you will find! For these little beauties I have used a really delicious blueberry jam, but use whatever jam you have to hand.

Old Fashioned?

Nah I don’t think so! I think it’s time for a butterfly cake revival :D

butterfly cakes

These little cakes have always traditionally filled the cake stalls and tables of church fates, school drives and bakery windows. Because of their simplicity kids can always get involved in the making of these. But sadly they seem to be dying out and you don’t see them as often now I partly put this down to the more showy cupcake revolution.

butterfly cakes

But showy isn’t always better. There is beauty in simplicity.


butterfly cakes

As I mentioned before these are pretty versatile and the flavours can be chopped and changed around. In the past I have added citrus zest, cocoa powder and even rose water once. And while all lovely, I just really like these when they are vanilla does this make me boring?

butterfly cakes

I dont think so ;)

butterfly cakes

Small Batch

This recipe is not huge it will only make 8 to 9 cakes but can easily be doubled for a bigger batch if so desired. Or even halved if you require only a few, but why do that after all 8 to 9 isn’t that many to get through ;)

butterfly cakes

So grab your mixing bowl and help me start a little revolution to bring these beautiful little cakes back into fashion!

Butterfly Cakes

butterfly cakes

By Emma Published: July 4, 2014

  • Yield: 8-9 cakes (8-9 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20-25 mins
  • Ready In: 40 mins

A lovely traditional British summertime cake topped with fruity jam and creamy vanilla buttercream.



  1. Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4 and prep your cupcake / muffin pan with liners and place to one side.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time beating in between each addition.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder careful not to knock all the air out of the batter.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cases till they are 2/3 rd's full.
  7. Pop them in the oven and check on them after 20 minutes, if a pick comes out clean they are ready, they may need a few more minutes depending on your oven. Once baked take them out of the oven but leave them in their pans for 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes take them out and place them on a cooling rack till cold.
  9. While they are cooling make the buttercream. Beat the butter until it is very pale in colour and very fluffy. It takes me around 5-7 minutes in my mixer.
  10. Add half the icing sugar and beat in till fully combined. Then add in the vanilla extract and the remaining icing sugar, beat till everything is well combined. If you feel it's still a little too thick add the teaspoon of milk.
  11. Once the cakes are cold, you need to slice a disk from the middle out of them and cut it in half. You will need a sharp smooth edged knife. So do this step yourself if you are working with kids!
    butterfly cakes
  12. Add a teaspoon of jam into the hole.
    butterfly cakes
  13. Carefully spoon the buttercream on top of the jam and spread it to cover the jam completely. With the disk cut in 2 place them in the buttercream so they look like butterflies. Dust with a sprinkle of icing sugar.
  14. Best eaten within 3 days, but kept in an airtight till they will last up to 5. Undecorated you can freeze these cakes for up to 2 months.

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24 Responses

  1. These look so pretty and adorable Emma! I’ve never had butterfly cakes before but they sound like such a wonderful treat with the fruity jam inside :) Love them!

    • Hi Kelly thank you :D They are a great simple summertime treat!

  2. Maureen from Orgasmic Chef

    I made some of these the other day and they just make me smile. Yours look beautiful.
    Maureen Invites you to read…Baked Alaska for the 4th of JulyMy Profile

    • Hi Maureen thank you, there is something about them that make you smile :D

  3. Awww, how cute are these. Well….vanilla is a classic. I love the jam in the middle!

    • Thank you I love vanilla too, I think its sometimes over shadowed by flashier flavours! And the jammy filling is divine :D

  4. Von

    I’ve never had butterfly cakes before so I’ve always wanted to make them :) They’re so pretty! I think it’s because I’ve never seen that cake stalls, but only on blogs and cookbooks that I’ve never had them *sigh* They really are dying out! Yours look so cute and yummy too- I’d love the blueberry jam surprise!
    Von Invites you to read…ProfiterolesMy Profile

    • Hi Von thank you, they are dying out and I think it’s because everyone want’s cupcakes these days, but they are still hanging in there and they are so simple to make!

  5. I don’t think you’re boring at all for keeping these vanilla! When I’m baking I have fun mixing together the craziest combinations possible, but at the end of the day plain vanilla is actually my favorite. :) This looks like a fun and tasty dessert!
    Brianna Invites you to read…Blue Raspberry CupcakesMy Profile

    • Hi Brianna thank you, I think we all love to play about with flavours but I think we almost always return to vanilla, it’s a great flavour and a real classic :D

  6. In Australia as a child, we called these fairy cakes. You’ve made me nostalgic so I need to make some now! Lovely pictures, too.
    pizzarossa Invites you to read…Baklava scrollsMy Profile

    • Thank you, I hope you do make them! In the UK fairy cakes were like small cupcakes with icing or a little buttercream on top but sometimes these were also referred to as fairy cakes depending on who you spoke to :D

  7. i love jam and cream. these look delicious!
    dina Invites you to read…Weekend Whets 7/4–Happy 4th of July!My Profile

    • Hi Dina, thank you so much they are a great combination :D

  8. Liz

    I love the surprise of jam in the center! I can see a revival happening…as these butterfly cupcakes look scrumptious!!!

    • Hi Liz I would love to see a revival :D the secret jam filling was always the best part you never knew what flavour you would get!

  9. These are so pretty!! With that powdered sugar dusting – gorgeous! I am such a vanilla girl so I know I would love these!
    Ashley Invites you to read…The Little Things – June 2014My Profile

    • Hi Ashley thank you :D Vanilla is great I think we all secretly love a bit of vanilla. People just don’t want to seem boring and order it so they go for other flavours instead!

  10. Kelly from Trial and Eater

    These are so adorable! The blueberry jam in the middle sounds delicious :)
    Kelly Invites you to read…Apple nachos with peanut butter and chocolateMy Profile

    • Hi Kelly thank you the blueberry jam was lovely but any fruit jam would work here :)

  11. Your cupcakes look so gorgeous – I especially love the floral cupcake cases! I haven’t made butterfly cakes in ages but your post has definitely inspired me to make some. I agree that sometimes the simple flavours are best, although I must admit I’m quite a fan of lemony butterfly cakes too ;)

    • Hi Julie, thank you :D What a great idea making them lemony and some lemon curd instead of jam would be lovely!

  12. Emma from Fork and Good

    Yay! I love butterfly cakes! They take me right back to my childhood. These look amazing too, perfect, especially with the jam, I could really eat one right now….
    Emma Invites you to read…Thank Fork it’s Friday | Food Photography ‘blunders’My Profile

    • Hi Emma thank you :D I know they always throw me back to my childhood whenever I see one I love that jammy centre!

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