Yesterday, I dangled the promise of a delicious recipe in front of you, and I’m not about to go back on my word! Whilst I’m not claiming that my idea to swap buttercream with real cream on a butterfly cake is really revolutionary, I have to say it makes a huge difference to these cakes. Okay, they won’t keep as long and they’re not as immune to standing around for hours (days?) not being eaten, as with traditional butterfly cakes (like the one below), but to me, they are a million times nicer, and a special treat of epic proportions. Just right, in other words, for serving at your royal wedding watching party!

Old fashioned butterfly cake

This is hardly a ground breaking recipe, but I personally had a hard time trying to sort through the many recipes for butterfly cakes I found online for a good one. There were some interesting variations but not a lot of simple, good old fashioned recipes. So, rest assured that if you want to make plain, no-nonsense butterfly cakes, the sponge recipe below, from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, will do you right. Then, you only have to follow the directions for the dulce de leche buttercream and omit the dulce de leche, and you’ll have butterfly cakes the old fashioned way in no time.

But life is short, why not try yours with sweet vanilla cream?!

Butterfly cake

Ingredients

For plain sponge cakes:

125g softened butter

125g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour

2-3 tbsp milk

Icing sugar, for dusting

For the sweet cream and dulce de leche topping:

Small tub of double cream

1 tbsp (or to taste) vanilla caster sugar

Tin of Nestle Carnation dulce de leche

For alternative dulce de leche buttercream

125g butter

125g icing sugar

2 tbsp dulce de leche

Method

Preheat oven to 200c or gas mark 6.

Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Mix the eggs in one by one, adding a large spoonful of flour in between each addition.

When mixed, add the rest of the flour, then mix to a smooth dropping consistency using the milk.

(Alternatively, if you’re one of these super duper posh types what has a fangled machine, simply add all the ingredients except the milk to a processor or food mixer until blended, then add the milk until it reaches the correct consistency. I’m not bitter or jealous at all, honest.)

Line a 12-bun cake tin with cake cases, and pour in the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

While the cakes are cooling, you can make your sweet vanilla cream! Simply add vanilla sugar (or sugar and a hint of vanilla extract) to your double cream, and whisk until it forms soft peaks. You need it to hold its shape when you spoon it onto your cakes, but be careful you don’t overwhisk – I am the worst at over-enthusiastically churning my cream into a grainy mess, so I can talk…

Once you’ve created your sweet cream, you only have to wait for the cakes to cool before assembling.

To make a butterfly cake, simply cut a round circle in your cake, tipping the knife inwards so you form a circular well inside as you do so. Fill to the top with your dulce de leche. Then, finish with a swirl of sweet cream – you can make a jaunty tip simply by using the end of your spoon and lifting off in the middle. Then, cut the piece of cake you excised in half and turn those pieces into the wings of a butterfly, and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.

Here’s what those beauties will look like inside:

Inside butterfly cake

An additional thought – if you reckon dulce de leche is too forrun for a patriotic national celebration such as the wedding of Kate and William, why not turn it into a tribute to a classic Victoria sponge by adding a spoonful of jam to the middle instead of caramel?

My tip for these is that the cream should be still chilled when the guests eat (why? Because it’s DELICIOUS that way, try it!), and that they really should be assembled last minute, just because the cream will wilt and spoil if you leave them sitting around for too long.

But, if you want to make your classic butterfly cakes with buttercream, simply cream your sieved icing sugar and very soft butter together until the mix is creamy and white, then add in dulce de leche until you have a still-stiff yet caramelly topping. Finish as above to make your butterfly wings.

Just one thing though…

Old fashioned butterfly cake

Don’t forget your icing sugar!

Old fashioned butterfly cake top

It is absolutely vital for optimum uh, prettiness…

Also, patriotic napkins are optional. (I got mine from Tesco’s.)

Butterfly cake on Union Jack napkin

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