Butterfly Cakes: for the young, and the young at heart.

Whether you’re young or old, we all love a pretty little cake. And I’ve never needed an excuse to bake these, and watch with pleasure as a small child gobbles one up: icing sugar and whipped cream on pink noses and tiny fingers, and crumbs everywhere.

Lately I’ve been baking these, not for small children, but for Hazel, my dear 91-year- old mother in-law. Now living in a nursing home she has always had a penchant for the sweet things in life. So when I pop in to see her, I like to bring her a little something. And these take no time at all to make, give her great pleasure, and she’s always excited to see whether I’ve popped the ‘wings’ on top, or piped an extra generous swirl of jammy cream in the cavity of the cake.

Either way, we all need a treat now and then, and there’s nothing like one of these little, homemade cakes to satisfy that need, particularly when it resembles a butterfly.

Brown Sugar Butterfly Cakes

Makes 12

  • 100g / 2/3cup plain flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 55g / 1/4cup castor sugar
  • 40g / 1/4cup brown sugar
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 300ml cream
  • Jam
  • Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Triple-sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. 

Whisk sugars and eggs in an electric mixer until very pale and tripled in volume. (5-8 minutes). Sift over flour mixture and fold in with a large metal spoon, then fold in the melted butter. Divide mixture among 12 x 8ml capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases, filling to 5mm below rims. Do not overfill. Bake until risen and pale golden in colour. (15-20 minutes). Cool in tins for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.

Using a sharp knife, remove the centre, (about 3.5cm in diameter), to about 1cm deep. Halve each round and set aside.

To fill, whip 300ml cream and fold in a few spoons of jam of your choice. 

Swirl together lightly.Pipe into cakes, set ‘wings’ on top, dust with icing sugar, and serve.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller.