Gluten free butterfly cakes

Gluten free butterfly cakes

A few months ago, my friend Paula, messaged me to ask would I make a batch of cupcakes for her Birthday. Her request was; “something like a Victoria sponge but as fairy cakes, so a jam and cream fairy cake”. I thought that a batch of freshly made gluten free butterfly cakes, filled with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream and generously dusted with icing sugar would fit the bill and they did.

I know butterfly cakes have been around for a long time and they may not seem like a very original thing to natter about on the blog. But for me, I want to share things that may inspire you, whether that be a brand new recipe or a good old classic that’s slipped your mind. Butterfly cakes had indeed slipped my mind, but thanks to Paula’s request I was pleasantly reminded about these gorgeous little cakes and knew at some point I would be sharing a recipe for them on my blog.

For these delicious gluten free butterfly cakes, I used Nigella’s ‘fairy cakes’ recipe from her fabulous ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ book. It’s very much like the recipe I use for my Victoria sponge cake, just slightly different quantities, additional baking powder and also a spot of milk. The texture of the sponge using this recipe was perfect.


For the cakes (makes 12)
125g butter, softened (I used Lurpak spreadable full-fat which can be conveniently used straight from the fridge – just perfect for this type of bake!)
125g caster sugar
125g gluten free self-raising flour or mix
2 large eggs
1 heaped teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon *vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons milk

For the filling
Raspberry jam (I recommend using homemade or a good shop bought one – it makes ALL the difference)
150g butter, softened (I used salted but unsalted would be fine – cubing the butter will allow it to soften quicker)
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon *vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

To finish
Icing sugar to sift over the top of the cakes

Flatlay of ingredients for gluten free butterfly cakes


Preheat the oven 200C/400F/Gas 6/180C Fan.

Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin cases. 

Add all the ingredients for the cakes to a large mixing bowl. With an electric or stand mixer whisk for a few minutes until the mixture becomes pale and creamy.

Gluten free sponge mixture in a stainless steel bowl

Using a couple of dessertspoons divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases.

Gluten free sponge cake mixture in paper cases

Pop the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. The cakes will be golden brown and springy to touch when they are fully baked.  

Gluten free sponge buns in a bun tin

Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool. To speed the cooling process up you can take the cakes out of the tin after a few minutes and transfer them onto a cooling rack. 

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can get on with making the buttercream: Add the softened butter to a large mixing bowl and with an electric mixer give it a quick whisk to soften it up a little more.

Creamed butter in a pyrex bowl

Gradually add the icing sugar, completely mixing each lot into the butter before adding more.

Vanilla buttercream in a pyrex bowl before being whisked

Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the bowl and whisk well until the buttercream is pale and creamy.

Vanilla buttercream in a pyrex bowl

Add the milk and whisk again, until the buttercream becomes light and airy.  

Vanilla buttercream in a pyrex bowl

Using a sharp knife cut out a circle from the top of each cake and then cut each circle of sponge in half.

Assembling gluten free butterfly cakes

Fill each cake with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.

Gluten free butterfly cakes filled with jam

Pipe or spoon the buttercream over the top of the jam.

Gluten free butterfly cakes filled with raspberry jam and buttercream

Gently press the cut pieces of sponge into the buttercream of each cake to resemble butterfly wings. 

Gluten free butterfly cakes

Dust over a little icing sugar to finish. 

Gluten free fairy cakes


Gluten free fairy cakes

Recipe notes and suggestions:

Because of the buttercream, the butterfly cakes will need to be stored in the fridge if not being eaten straight away. Cover them well or pop them into an airtight container, to prevent them from drying out. I’d suggest taking them from the fridge about 1hr before eating to enjoy them at their best. They will store really well in the fridge for 3-4 days.

The butterfly cakes are not suitable for freezing. You can however freeze the plain cakes prior to decorating.

If your gluten free flour self-raising flour doesn’t already contain Xanthan gum add ¼ teaspoon to the cake mixture.

Switch the buttercream filling if you fancy, to whipped fresh cream or a delicious pastry cream instead. 

Lemon curd or other flavoured jams would also make a great alternative to raspberry jam. You may like to serve up a batch of cakes with a selection of different fillings?

Thanks so much for checking out this recipe for gluten free butterfly cakes. Do hope you like it. Any questions please give me a shout.

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.

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