Butterflies and birthday cakes!

I am lucky enough to have three awesome nieces and a nephew and all I had to do to get them is marry Chad. :)

Our niece, Kayla, had a  birthday in May and her birthday party/cookout was the last weekend of the month…and I got to make the cake!

I’m still learning a lot of the techniques so I  love the opportunity to try out new things and bake for people. For Kayla, I made butterflies!

I ended up baking chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and a white cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream icing. I’ll post some of my favorite cake recipes later, but today I am just focusing on the butterflies!

Butterfly Cake/Cupcakes

So…to get started you need to have:

1 bag dark brown candy melts
1 bag each of whatever colors you want to make the butterflies (this quantity will make 24 cupcakes plus the three butterflies I put on the cake…you can cut back or add on to fit your needs)
White nonpareils
chocolate chips
chocolate icing
toothpicks
plastic ziplock bags
wax paper cut into squares

I used the butterfly template that came in the book Hello, Cupcake!, which is also where you can find this recipe along with some awesome ways to doctor boxed cake mixes and even more fun decor ideas.

1) Place wax paper over butterfly wing template on cookie sheet.

2) Place one cup each of dark brown candy melts in a ziplock bag. Place one cup of colored candy melts into a ziplock bag. Do not seal the bags. Microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Massage melts in the bag, return to microwave and repeat process until candy is completely melted. Press out the excess air and seal the bags.

3) Snip small corner from bag. Work on one wing at a time, or the candy will harden too quickly. Trace outline of template with dark brown melts. Fill in with colored candy. Tap cookie sheet on counter to help colored melts fill in the space. Using a round toothpick, swirl the dark brown melts slightly into the colored portion to create wing design. Sprinkle with white nonpareils.

They will look like this:

4) Repeat to make as many wings/antennae as needed. If candy starts to harden in the plastic bag, toss back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. Allow wings to dry completely. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the process.

Once all your wings are made and your cakes/cupcakes are baked and frosted, here is all you have to do to assemble cupcakes:

1) Carefully peel wings from wax paper. Place two chocolate chips about half an inch apart on cupcake frosting. This will help support the wings. Place wings inside the two chocolate chips, allowing wings to rest on chocolate.

2) Spoon chocolate frosting into plastic bag and snip corner of bag (I used an actual frosting bag and decorating tip for this, either way works). Pipe a line of frosting between the wings, to resemble the body of the butterfly. Gently press antennae into frosting at the head of the butterfly and you are finished!

For the cake:

You will have to add additional frosting on which to place the butterflies. Just pipe a circle shaped area of frosting like you would onto a cupcake top (it helps anchor the butterflies) and assemble the butterfly the same way you did on the cupcakes.

**I’ve found that it is better to use a stiffer icing for the cupcakes as it helps stabilize the butterflies. You can use whatever you want to frost the cake, but use the stiff as well for anchoring the butterflies on the cake.**

I won’t lie, this project took me two days. It was time consuming, my first few wings looked HORRIBLE, and it was insanely messy.

BUT…the outcome was clearly worth it. Plus, once I got the hang of piping the wings it really was not so bad. I’m sure I’ll be making these again, I just love them. And I think everyone else enjoyed them as well. :)

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