Butterfly Birthday Cake with Cake Mix

I certainly do not consider myself a cake decorator. In fact, when my 3 year old daughter asked me for a butterfly cake for her next birthday it caused my stomach to get butterflies (pun intended). After researching on Pinterest and drawing out a detailed plan of how to tackle her coveted butterfly cake, I felt like perhaps this birthday cake wouldn’t be so bad after all, and was happily surprised to find it easier to make than I had thought! The butterfly cake turned out beautifully with the help of my kiddos and a cake mix for the cake base. We ended up having lots of fun making it too! Hopefully, after reading the detailed instructions and tips we gleaned along the way, you will enjoy the butterfly cake process as much as we did. For more fun cake recipes, try Ocean themed birthday cake, or Strawberry surprise cupcakes.

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Easy Butterfly birthday Cake with cake mix

Butterfly Birthday Cake with Cake Mix

marilynpeight
This cute butterfly cake is fun to make and just as fun to eat! With the cake mix shortcut and helpful tips, this cake is one even beginners like myself can master.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Piping bags (linked below)
  • Mixing bowls (linked below)
  • Cake spatula (linked below)
  • Parchment paper (linked below)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15.25 oz. chocolate or vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients listed on the package)
  • Fresh strawberry buttercream frosting
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (Sally's Baking Addiction) *see note
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate candies for decorating
  • Swiss roll for the butterfly body
  • Twizzlers or Sweet Tart Ropes for antennae halved
  • Edible butterflies optional
  • Strawberry Buttercream Rosettes *see below for instructions

Instructions
 

  • Combine the ingredients listed on the cake mix package with the mix, then divide into 2 round 9 inch baking pans lined with parchment on the bottom and greased on the sides *see note on how to cut out the parchment for lining.
  • Bake the cakes as directed on the package until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (around 15-20 minutes in my oven). Allow the cakes to cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an hour until cool to touch on top and bottom.
  • Trim the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface (if needed), then frost the bottom top half of the cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. Place the top layer of cake onto the strawberry buttercream, then frost the cake on the top and sides with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting (or plain buttercream). For an ombre look with plain buttercream and strawberry frosting, see below the recipe card.
  • Place the frosted cake in the freezer for 1 hour to allow the frosting to harden and the cake to firm up. After 1 hour, remove the cake and cut in half. Carefully turn the cake around until the rounded halves are touching at the center and the cut halves are facing outward to create the wings. Frost the outer edges of the cake, then place the body (Swiss Roll) and antennae (halved Twizzlers or Sweet Tart Ropes) onto the center of the cake to create the butterfly. Decorate the remainder of the cake with candy, sprinkles, sanding sugar etc. Have fun! See below for additional notes and step by step photos.

Notes

You can also use plain buttercream or frosting of your choice for frosting the cake and also for filling the cake. We love the fresh strawberry buttercream and Swiss meringue frosting (from Sally’s Baking Addiction), but if you are looking for a shortcut, buttercream frostings work well too. 
Additional notes and step by step photos below. 
Keyword Butterfly cake, Birthday Cake, Cake Mix, Easy butterfly cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Equipment needed for this easy butterfly birthday cake:

  • Piping bags I like to use piping bags fitted with a round tip for adding frosting onto the cake before smoothing the frosting out with a cake spatula.
  • Mixing bowl A mixing bowl (or several) is needed to combine the cake mix in and also for mixing up the frostings.
  • Cake spatula I like to use a cake spatula for smoothing out the frosting onto the cake. A work in progress in my case, but a cake spatula does make it much easier!
  • Parchment paper Parchment paper is useful if you wish to make rosettes for the cake ahead of time, or for placing the cake onto to contain the frosting mess.

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Ingredients I used for this Butterfly Birthday Cake: Whoppers (chocolate candies), swiss roll, fresh strawberry buttercream frosting, Edible Butterflies , Pink sanding sugar, Sweet tart ropes, pink sprinkles, cake mix and Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting from Sally’s Baking addiction (not shown).

Can other candies be used to decorate the butterfly?

Absolutely, the ingredients shown are given as ideas or a guide to how I made my butterfly cake, but are by no means the only way to make a butterfly cake. You can also use Milk duds for the outline of the wings, frosting or other candy types etc. You can use frosted rosettes (instructions for those below), for the top of the cake, or you can just add more fun candies. The sky is the limit with this cake, which makes it even more fun because you can customize it to your preference.

Step 1: Combine the ingredients listed on the cake mix package with the mix, then divide into 2 round 9 inch baking pans, lined with parchment on the bottom and greased on the sides.

To cut the parchment paper for lining the bottom of the cake:

You do not want to simply stuff a haphazard piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the cake pan, because it can mess with the shape of the cake as it bakes if it is too big. You also don’t want to risk having a cake that sticks to the pan, losing some of its shape in the process of removing it. The best method for lining the bottom of the cake pan is to flip the cake pan over and trace the shape of the bottom of the cake pan onto parchment paper. Cut out the circles and fit them into the cake pan, then spray the sides of the cake pan with cooking spray for extra reinforcement.

Step 2: Bake the cakes as directed on the package until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (around 15-20 minutes in my oven). Allow the cakes to cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an hour until cool to touch on top and bottom.

Step 3: Trim the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface (if needed), then frost the bottom top half of the cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. Place the top layer of cake onto the strawberry buttercream, then frost the cake on the top and sides with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting (or plain buttercream).

For the ombre look or blended colors look:

Pipe a ring of strawberry buttercream (or colored frosting of your choice) around the bottom half of the cake. Spread the strawberry buttercream up toward the center with a spatula, then pipe a ring of Swiss meringue frosting (or frosting of your choice again) around the upper half of the cake. Carefully bring the colors together, adding more rings of frosting (or even additional shades of color) to the cake as needed. Carefully blend the colors together in the center to create the faded ombre look.

Step 4: Place the frosted cake in the freezer for 1 hour to allow the frosting to harden and the cake to firm up. After 1 hour, remove the cake and cut in half. Carefully turn the cake around until the rounded halves are touching at the center and the cut halves are facing outward to create the wings. Frost the outer edges of the cake, then place the body (Swiss Roll) and antennae (halved Twizzlers or Sweet Tart Ropes) onto the cake to create the butterfly. Decorate the remainder of the cake with candy, sprinkles, sanding sugar etc. Have fun!

Tip for adding rosettes onto the top of the cake or onto the sides:

Piping rosettes straight onto a cake and hoping for the best is a bit tricky. I have discovered, through another blog, that you can pipe the flowers onto parchment paper, then freeze them overnight or several hours until hardened. Carefully remove the cold rosettes with a spatula and place them onto the cake wherever you like. I like to pipe extra flowers, to ensure I can pick out the best ones for the cake.

Edible butterflies are optional, but a lot of fun for the kids. I loved how they added to the look of the butterfly themed cake, and they make the decorating even easier!

Storage options for leftovers of this butterfly themed cake:

Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to 4-5 days if tightly wrapped or kept in an airtight container. This cake also freezes well and can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for several months.

Feel free to pin this recipe for later and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram to show off a photo of your own creation of this recipe. Thank you for your support!

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