22 Jun 2013

How to make a cake with a butterfly shape inside and frosting roses

A few weeks ago I entered a charity bake-off at my work and I shared a few snaps of my creation on Instagram like the photo below (my username on instagram in fluttersparkle).  I know a few people wanted to know how I managed to get a butterfly shape into a slice of cake, so I thought I'd do a little step by step explanation of the process - it's really quite easy.

So, the basic principle of the idea is that you're baking two cakes.  Firstly you bake the cake you'll use for your butterfly shapes, or whatever shape you've chosen to make.  I chose to make red velvet cake for the butterfly shapes and a pink vanilla for the background cake.  You can use whichever colour and flavour cake you like.  

I started off by baking two small red velvet sponges, like I'd use to make a Victoria sponge type cake.  I let the cake cool on a rack until it was ready to be cut.

Once the cake was cool to the touch I set about using a butterfly cutter I got from Lakeland to cut my cake into shapes.  They don't seem to sell the one I bought anymore but they have this one and these.  I tried to place the cutter in such a way as to get as many butterflies from the cake as possible.  I couldn't help wasting quite a bit of cake, but my boyfriend was happily hanging around to eat the scraps.  

I ended up with ten or so butterfly shapes to use for my cake.  They're about one inch thick and about 2 - 3 inches across.

Next I greased a large loose bottomed cake tin with low fat spread and set about arranging my butterflies.  I stood them all up in a circle around the middle of the tin.  The idea here is that when you cut the cake, a slice should be the right size for you to see a whole butterfly shape inside.  Of course you can't guarantee this will be perfect as it depends exactly where the cake is sliced, but I couldn't work out a better way to do this.

After lining up the butterflies I poured in my second cake mix and made sure it went into all of the gaps, and then it was ready for the oven.  I used my usual simple sponge recipe for both the butterflies and the pink cake - I just switched some of the flour for cocoa powder and added red gel colouring for the butterflies.  Ideally I think I should have found a different recipe for my outside cake as I had to bake it a lot longer than usual because of the size and baking it in one pan rather than two, so it wasn't the softest or loveliest cake in the world.  If I made this again I might try a Madeira cake recipe, or something that's meant for baking as one large cake.

I iced the finished cake once it was cool with my usual frosting mix which is 100g Philadelphia, 200g margarine / butter, vanilla essence and around 600g icing sugar, although I always keep adding to get the consistency I need.  I had to make double to ice the cake and to decorate it.

To add a bit more of a wow factor to my cake I iced on some big swirls to look like roses.  I just did this using a normal piping bag and nozzle and a similar technique to the way I would ice a cupcake.  I found putting the frosting in the fridge for a bit before starting this really helped as if the icing bag warms in your hands you get very droopy roses.  I've seen people ice cakes like this in a way that makes the swirls look much more like petals, so I need to experiment with different piping nozzles until I find the right one.  I also added a few edible butterflies to finish the cake off.  I bought these from Amazon here.  

I was really pleased with the overall look of the cake but was really nervous about it being cut as I hadn't tried this technique out before and for all I knew there might just be a splodge inside rather than a pretty butterfly!  The first slice wasn't the best as it managed to go between two of the butterflies, but I managed to get a perfect slice for this photo.

I actually came joint last in the bake off, but I won't go into that as I really need to get over it now!  I was really pleased with how the cake turned out, but really I went for looks over taste, and I think the judges were looking for the opposite!  

If you have a go at making anything like this please leave me your link or tweet me a picture, I always like to see photos of cake :) 



  1. This is such a cute idea! My stepdaughters would adore it, definitely pinning for future birthday cakes :)

    Jess xo

  2. that is sooooo clever and look scrummy yum yum!!!

  3. say whaa?! I would have picked your cake as the winning one any day!! :) ..looks awesome!! xx

  4. I made a cake with red cake pop balls in for red nose day :) yours looks so pretty. Try using the Jem 2D nozzle for piping roses, the willow 1M just doesn't work for me but I always get perfect swirled and roses with the 2D xx

  5. I love this cake will definetly use this idea in my cakes

    Carrieanne x


  6. Looks amazing and delicious!

    - Trina

  7. You're so cute...and inspiring of course! :)

  8. Love this! Thanks for sharing xx

  9. Great inspirational post!

    I will definitely be having a go at this in the near future :)

    Shanaz @ La Belle Aventure

  10. Such a baking whizz! I love the icing so pretty!

  11. If I use a vanilla cake for the butterflies and a chocolate cake for the outside will it change the colour of the butterflies?

    1. I'm not sure as I've never tried that. I think it might darken the edges but the middle should still be okay?


Let me know what you think, and feel free to leave your blog link! I really appreciate every comment and always reply to questions x

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