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Julia’s Pantry: Les gâteaux de papillon – Butterfly Cakes

Butterfly cakes

Bonjour! Although I’d planned a rest for half-term recently, whilst in a local supermarché I bought some “Farine au Gateaux” … Self-Raising Flour. My daughter Lucy and I made a batch of gorgeous gâteaux de papillon – butterfly cakes. Although they’ve been around for years, sometimes these simple recipes also make the most delicious cakes! The butterfly cake is a type of cup cake which have been around since the early 1800s at least – and there’s a reason that they are always so popular – they’re scrummy! No one knows quite where these little cakes originate from but I like to think that they are a great grandchild of the French petit-fours which were first baked in the 1700s in coal fired ovens…


175g Soft Margarine or Butter
175 g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
175g Self-Raising Flour/Farine de Gateaux
For Buttercream Icing
100 g Soft Margarine or Butter
200g Icing Sugar/Sucre Glacé, sifted
Jam (we used our favourite Bonne Maman Blackcurrant/Cassis but any you fancy will do!


Pre- heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mk 6

Place about 24 paper cake cases in bun tins.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour. Add eggs one at a time, beating in as you go.

2. Sift in the flour and beat again until well blended and smooth. Half fill the paper cases with the mixture.

3. Bake in the pre- heated oven for about 15 -20 minutes until cakes are well risen and golden brown. Lift cakes out of bun tins and cool on wire rack.

4. Make icing by beating butter and icing sugar together until well blended.

5. Cut slice out of top of each cake and cut slice in half. Place a teaspoonful of jam in the centre of each cake followed by a splodge of butter cream on top… for a more professional finish, pipe a swirl of butter cream on top of the jam! Place the half slices of cake into the butter cream at an angle to resemble butterfly wings.

Dust the cakes with icing sugar to finish!


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