Butterfly Cupcakes - serves 10


  • 200g unrefined caster sugar
  • 200g butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g gluten free plain flour
  • 50g maize flour or cornflour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • Buttercream
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Couple of drops vanilla extract or other flavouring

How to make this recipe dairy free?

Need some advice on ingredients see -
The wheat, gluten and lactose free store cupboard


Fill a muffin tray with 10 muffin cases.

Preheat oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas mark 5

Combine the gluten free flour, maize flour, ground almonds and gluten free baking powder. Sieve together 4 times to combine.

Cream together the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. It is best to do this using a food mixer with a beater attachment or use a hand held electric mixer.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Beat the egg into the creamed mixture a bit at a time making sure to beat in each addition properly before adding the next. If the mixture starts to split, mix in a spoonful of the flour.

Add the vanilla. If using a food mixture, mix in the flour on the lowest speed setting. If not then fold the flour in with a spoon.

Divide the mixture equally between the 10 cases and bake for 18 – 20 minutes until firm to touch and a knife inserted comes out clean. These will rise above the top of the case. Leave on a cooling wire until completely cold before finishing.


Beat the butter to soften using your food mixer.

Add the icing sugar and mix into the butter slowly. Add the vanilla.

Once the icing sugar is mixed into the butter, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Add a drop of milk if the buttercream is too firm.

Use straight away or place into a container with a lid and store in the fridge.

You may need to rebeat the buttercream before using again or bring to room temperature.

Carve the tops off the sponge with a sharp knife and cut the top in half to make the wings. Spoon a tiny amount of jam into the centre of the cake. Pipe a swirl of buttercream on top. Stick the ‘wings’ into the buttercream and dredge the top with icing sugar.

how to make this recipe dairy free...

Use dairy free margarine in place of butter in the butterfly cakes. Use dairy free margarine in place of butter in the buttercream.

  • 100g dairy free margarine
  • 400g icing sugar
  • Couple of drops vanilla extract or other flavouring

Mix the icing sugar and vanilla into the dairy free margarine. Do not overbeat the mixture as it will split. Stir in a few drops of water until it reaches the required consistency.

You may think this is a lot of icing sugar. If you use less icing sugar to margarine, the mixture will split. Add a little extra flavouring to this buttercream.

Gem's hints and tips

In all recipes requiring self-raising gluten free flour, I advise sieving the flours together with the gluten free baking powder four times to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

If you have made a cake that is really heavy with a solid lump of eggy mixture at the bottom one reason could be because the baking powder wasn’t mixed into the flour properly.

If you can’t find maize flour then cornflour is easily available and makes a good substitute.  There isn’t much difference but I do prefer maize flour.  See resources.

Gluten free cakes are best eaten fresh, they will keep well for a week. They can be frozen but the texture goes a bit grainy when defrosted.

Gluten free cakes are crumblier than other cakes but taste just as good.

To cut neat slices, dip a sharp knife in hot water and wipe clean between slices. The ‘wings’ of the butterfly cakes will dry out if made too far in advance.

The sponges will get soggy if stored in a tupperware container.

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