Soft and fluffy Butterfly Cakes made from scratch. These gorgeous vanilla cupcakes are filled with whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar for a classic kid’s party treat!
Meet my new favourite thing! 🙌🏻
Beautiful homemade Butterfly Cakes. Whether you remember these from your childhood parties or have never seen them before, you’re in for one sweet treat.
Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with clouds of whipped cream, all dusted with sweet icing sugar.
These pretty cupcakes are an Australian staple. Sometimes called Butterfly Cakes or Fairy Cakes, they’re so easy to make. But don’t they make an impressive treat?
It starts with a very light and delicate sponge for the cake itself. It’s basically a soft vanilla cake but we add a little sour cream or yogurt to make sure they just about melt-in-your-mouth.
Instead of topping the cupcakes with a traditional buttercream or icing, they’re filled to overflowing with whipped cream. And when I say filled, I literally mean, you dig a hole in the middle of the cupcake and add spoonfuls of cream – hello!
Then to get the magical butterfly effect, the middle piece of cake is sliced into two, placed on top of the cream and sprinkled with icing sugar. So simple and yet so incredibly delicious.
How to make Butterfly Cakes
- These vanilla cupcakes are very easy to make.
- One of the keys is making sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature. This will ensure your cake is light and fluffy and all ingredients incorporate well together.
- Start by mixing together your butter and caster sugar using an electric mixer – also known as ‘creaming’. This important first step will make sure your cupcakes are soft and fluffy.
- If you don’t have access to caster sugar, you can swap it 1:1 for granulated sugar. Read more about caster sugar here.
- In just a minute or two, your butter mixture will become pale and creamy – almost a little fluffy. This is perfect.
- Next, add your egg. It’s important for your egg to also be at room temperature. If they are fridge cold, it’s likely your mixture will curdle or go a little lumpy. If this happens, it’s ok, but try to avoid it next time by using a room temperature egg.
- Mix just briefly to break up the yolks and give the sides a good scrape down.
- Finally, add half your flour and baking powder, along with your full fat milk, and slowly mix to combine. Then add the remaining flour mix and sour cream. Mix together just until your cake batter is combined – it’ll be very thick and creamy.
- Finally, bake your cupcakes in a moderate oven for around 18 minutes or until they spring back lightly to the touch. They should go lovely and golden on top.
How to assemble Butterfly Cakes
- The assembly of these cakes is super quick and easy as there’s no piping involved.
- Once you whip your cream to form stiff peaks. You can then use a knife to carefully cut out a round piece of cake from the very middle of the cupcake – try to keep it in tact. Do not discard (or eat 😂).
- Generously fill the middle of the cupcakes with whipped cream.
- Carefully cut the middle piece of cake into two and then place on top of your whipped cream so it forms two ‘butterfly wings.’
- Dust cupcakes generously with icing sugar and serve!
Simple vanilla cupcakes filled with whipped cream.
- 115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 175 grams (1 and 1/4 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) whole or full fat milk
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 300 ml (1 and 1/4 cups) thickened or heavy cream (around 35% fat)*
- Icing sugar or powdered sugar, to serve
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy – this will take a couple of minutes.
- Add egg and beat briefly until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture and all the milk and slowly mix together on a low speed.
- Add the rest of the flour and the sour cream and mix briefly until smooth and creamy. The mixture will be thick.
- Spoon out the cake batter in your prepared liners (approximately 2/3 full) and bake in the oven for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the filling, add cream to a large mixing bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until cream is thick and stiff peaks form. You’ll know it’s ready when you can hold the bowl of cream upside down without anything moving.
- Using a small knife, carefully cut circles of cake out of each cupcake – keeping the spare piece of cake intact (don’t eat it yet!).
- Fill each cupcake with a generous amount of whipped cream. Then divide the extra piece of cake into two and arrange on top of the cream so it looks like butterfly wings. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
- Generously dust cupcakes with icing sugar to serve.
*Just be sure to use a cream that’s suitable for whipping as this is what gives the filling its stability. Here in Australia, it’s called thickened cream. Look for a high-fat cream (at least 35% fat) that clearly states it’s suitable for whipping. Do not use a light or low-fat version.