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Vanilla Butterfly Cupcakes

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

These beautiful butterfly sponges are simple, easy baking magic.

This Saturday 5th June is World Environment Day, so you could have guessed that I would want to celebrate by baking some cute butterfly cakes!

Butterflies are incredible indicators of the health of the environment, and so can give us an insight into how well we're conserving our beautiful planet. And, of course, they make for super cute cupcakes!

We can all do more to protect our planet, and I hope you'll spend World Environment Day not only baking some delicious cupcakes but having a think about how you can be greener.

So, let's get to the crux of the cupcakes!

They're a delicious and simple vanilla sponge. When I first started baking gluten free cakes as a child, vanilla was my go-to flavour because it was a 'safe' one for me. I feel I've baked this one enough now to say its full-proof!

I like to include jam as well as buttercream in my butterfly cakes, but you can just stick with jam if that's your preference.

These are so easy to assemble. You just cut a cone-shape out the sponge and cut it in half, then fill with a dollop of jam and cream, and stick the cones back on top in the shape of butterfly wings!

I hope you enjoy World Environment Day, and have a go at these incredibly simple and completely delicious cupcakes.

Let's get Caking It.



180C (170C fan)

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep: 10 mins

Bake: 18 mins

Assembly: 10 mins



160g unsalted butter

160g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

160g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

2 tbsp sour cream


Strawberry jam (or other jam)


150g unsalted butter

350g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp milk


Method: Sponge

Don't forget to wait until all the ingredients are room temperature before starting.

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Fill 12 muffin holes with cases.

  2. With a fork, cream the butter until pale, then add the sugar and cream together until fully incorporated.

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing with an electric whisk between each addition. Now add the vanilla extract.

  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum with a fork, and then add this to the mixture, mixing until fully incorporated.

  5. Spoon in the sour cream and fold until combined.

  6. Spoon 2 tbsp of the mixture into each muffin case.

  7. Let the mixture sit in the cases for 20 minutes before placing in an oven for 18 minutes. A skewer or toothpick inserted into the cupcakes should come out clean.

Method: Buttercream

This buttercream is the simplest of them all - but it's perhaps my ultimate, all-time favourite!

  1. While the sponges are cooling, move onto the vanilla buttercream.

  2. Cream the butter until pale, and gradually add in the icing sugar until it is all incorporated. You can do this either with a standing mixer, an electric hand whisk, or a fork. At this point the mixture should be a little stiff.

  3. Add the vanilla extract and a splash of milk and mix, and continue adding milk until a glossy, smooth and pipeable buttercream is formed.


  1. Making sure the sponges are completely cool, scoop out a cone shape.

  2. With a teaspoon, fill the middle with a good dollop of jam, then dollop on some vanilla buttercream.

  3. Cut the cone shapes in half and stick 2 halves into the buttercream as butterfly wings.

  4. Enjoy!

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