In our home, no birthday is complete without a homemade birthday cake. Our kids get to choose the flavour and a theme, if they want, but the cake is kept a surprise (if we can!) until the birthday party. So far we’ve had many chocolate cakes, rainbow cakes, cakes with a tractor, a fire engine and even a teleporter for our 3 year old boy – you won’t find that in Asda! This butterfly birthday cake is the most recent one and it was a definite hit.
For us, it’s a really special tradition. I love making something unique, just for them and I enjoy getting ideas on Pinterest. So much so, that a 3rd birthday teleporter cake was produced when our youngest was just over a week old! I had help though, I’m not a superhero!
In my opinion, taste tops looks. I would much rather eat a slightly wonky but really tasty and not sickly birthday cake than a perfectly presented one that just tastes like pure sugar. As such I actually try to use as little icing as possible. Call me an icing scrooge if you will… Bah Humbug.
Another requirement is simplicity. Simple recipe, simple ingredients and no fancy tools that you’ll only use once or twice. As a mum of four (or, to be honest, a mum full stop) I don’t have hours and hours to twiddle and tweak and make things perfect or learn techniques that take hours and hours to master.
Does this sound like you? I’ll be sharing more easy recipes and birthday cake ideas as I make them, so please subscribe at the bottom of the page so you can keep an eye out for new ideas.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s my trusty chocolate cake recipe and chocolate buttercream recipe and, of course, the instructions for how to turn an ordinary 8″ sandwich cake into a butterfly birthday cake!
Chocolate Cake Recipe
6 1/2 oz/ 185g self raising flour
1 1/2 oz/ 40g cocoa powder
8oz / 225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
8oz / 225g softened butter or margarine
1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340F. Line and grease two 8″ /20cm cake tins.
2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Put all remaining ingredients into the bowl and use a mixer to beat it well for 5 minutes or until it is light and fluffy.
3. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
4. Let the cakes cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the tin. Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
4oz / 115g softened butter
8oz / 225g icing sugar
1oz / 28g cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2oz / 40g melted dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1. Beat the butter on high speed for a minute or two then sift in half on the icing sugar. Whisk well to combine.
2. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar and cocoa powder and whisk well.
3. Add in the milk, vanilla and melted chocolate, beat on high until light and fluffy.
4. Cover and place in the fridge until required.
From Simple Circle to Butterfly Birthday Cake
What you need:
6 twisty marshmallows
1. Remove paper from cakes. Spread about a quarter of the buttercream on one cake and place the other on top.
2. Carefully cut the cake in half to create two semi-circles.
3. With a sharp knife, cut a small triangle out of the straight edge of the two cake sides, about 2/3 of the way down. (The edges of the triangles I did were roughly an inch and a half long – I didn’t measure) These are no longer needed so it’s a great way to check if everything tastes OK, especially with a cup of tea!
4. Spread a dot of buttercream on the serving board where the “wings” will be.
5. Carefully place the wings on the board, notched edges outwards, like the photo, leaving a gap for the body.
6. Spread buttercream over the whole surface of the cake, being especially careful with the crumby cut edges – be gentle and it’ll be OK. Save about 1/4 of the buttercream and put it all in the fridge for an hour or so.
7. Once it’s been chilled, use the remaining icing to tidy up any messy bits and spread another layer on the top. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
8. Place six marshmallows in the centre to create a body, using a tiny bit of buttercream to stick them together.
9. Outline the edges of the wings with smarties, I used mini ones because that’s what we had in.
10. Fill in the centre of the wings with plenty sprinkles – the ones we used were unicorn coloured sprinkles from Dr Oetker and Asda’s own unicorn shaped sprinkles.
11. Clean up the board and enjoy!
I really hope you try this, it really is a simple and effective way to jazz up an “ordinary” chocolate cake. Let me know how you get on!