History Cookbook: Butterfly Cakes (1970's Party)
Always use oven gloves when handling hot cake tins.
An adult may need to help when cutting off the tops, as a sharp knife is needed.
Preparation Time: 10 mins to make the mixture, 15 minutes to assemble cakes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Number of servings: Makes 12-15 cakes
Serving suggestions: Serve as part of a party buffet or just as a tea time treat
View a modern version of this recipe
Butterfly cakes were extremely popular at children's parties - they look attractive and the buttercream icing makes them sweet to eat. They are also quite easy to make.
By the 1970's, many kitchens had acquired food processors which helped a lot with mixing. Before then, you had to be very careful to mix everything in the correct order
and a lot of beating was required to make the mixture light - very time consuming. In this podcast, everything goes into the food mixer and it is quickly ready to put into the cake cases - a lot less work.
You will notice that they are decorated with shop bought coloured sugar strands - another convenience for the modern cupboard.
It is thought that butterfly cakes came about from fairy cakes that had risen too much - so the tops were cut off so they could be iced more easily - and soon someone thought of turning them into 'wings'.
Nowadays, it is useful to add a little baking powder to the self raising flour, if you want to make butterfly cakes, to ensure that they do rise enough.
For images of the cooking process see our Butterfly Cakes Images
With thanks to Caroline Cuerden, The Hair Company for their help with this podcast.
- 100g (4 oz) soft butter
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 100g (4oz) self-raising flour
- pinch of baking powder
- 2 eggs - at room temperature
The butter cream frosting:
- 50g (2oz) soft butter
- 100g (4oz) icing sugar
- 15ml (1 tbsp) milk
- colouring (optional)
- sugar strands to decorate (optional)
- Patty tin
- Food mixer
- Wire rack
- Grease well 12 - 15 bun (patty) tins or prepare the same number of small cake cases
- Turn on the oven to 185C / 375F / Gas no 5
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together in the food processor until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs and flour a little at a time, mixing in the food processor
- Drop a large teaspoon of mixture into each of the bun tins (or cake cases)
- Bake for 20 - 25 mins (until golden and well risen)
- Take from the oven and cool on wire rack
- Whilst they are cooling, make the frosting by gradually beating the sifted icing sugar into the soft butter, adding a little milk as it becomes too difficult
- Split the frosting up to add a few drops of colouring if wanted
- When the cakes are completely cool, carefully slice off the risen top
- Cut each top in half to make the wings
- Put a portion of the butter frosting on each cake (you can pipe it if wished)
- Place the 2 wings on each cake, pressing the thicker ends into the frosting
- Sprinkle with a little sieved icing sugar or sugar strands
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