Traditional British Butterfly Cakes or Fairy Cakes (Cupcakes)
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
  • 1¾ cups (14 oz) sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz)good quality, unsalted butter (I like Kerrygold) at room temperature
  • 3 cups (16 oz) flour, good quality
  • 1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
To Decorate
  • raspberry jam, good quality (I like Bonne Maman)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C)
  2. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl (preferably in a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar, slowly for 2 minutes. Increase to high and beat for another 8 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  4. Add the 2 of the eggs, one at a time, clearing after each addition, then add half of the flour mixture, scraping the sides with a spatula if needed.
  5. Add half a cup of the buttermilk and mix well, then add another egg. Continue to mix; then add the remaining milk, egg, vanilla and flour. Mix on high for 2 minutes, scraping sides with a spatula at least once.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half full with the batter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when placed in the center of a cupcake. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  7. When ready to decorate, cut out the center of each cupcake, angling the knife at a 45º angle, then cut the pieces in half to resemble butterfly wings. Place a small amount of jam in the center, followed by a dollop of cream (or buttercream, if desired), then place the "wings" on top.
  8. Repeat with all of the cupcakes, then dust each one generously with powdered sugar.
  9. Serve immediately, especially if using fresh cream, as it can spoil quickly, especially in warm weather. Keep refrigerated if you do not serve them right away.
Recipe by Christina's Cucina at