Originally published 2010. Updated Aug 2017.

This beautiful butterfly cake was made for me by my Mum for my fifth birthday. It’s from the original out-of-print Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, circa 1980.

I’ve published a fast one-bowl butter cake recipe along with it, instead of recommending a packet cake mix like the original recipe suggests.

I hope to post more cakes from this awesome book soon, if not for baking at least for nostalgia. How many of you were made cakes from this book when you were a kid? 

Children's Beautiful Butterfly Cake

Children's Beautiful Butterfly Cake
Cake Mistress Print Recipe
Print Recipe
How to make the Beautiful Butterfly Cake as seen in the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book, published in Australia in the 1980s.
Servings: kids, at least


Basic Butter Cake
Vienna Cream (Buttercream Frosting)


Basic Butter Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 fan-forced; 350F). Line the base of a 23cm (8in) round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the softened butter, sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Whisk them together until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until thick and smooth. (It’s ok if the batter looks curdled).
  3. Add the plain flour, self-raising flour, bicarbonate soda and milk. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until the batter is pale, smooth and fluffy.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake tin. Smooth the top.
  5. Check the oven has reached the correct temperature. Place cake tin on the middle rack of the oven. Bake 50-60 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown, the top springs back when lightly touched, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The cake will start to come away from the sides of the pan.
  6. Remove cake from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool.
Vienna Cream Frosting
  1. Add the softened butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until the butter is very pale and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar and milk, and the food colouring. Beat together until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  1. Cut the butterfly body and wings out of the cake using the pattern in the notes as a guide. Arrange the pieces on a cake board. Cover the pieces with the vienna cream frosting.
  2. Use liquorice straps for antennae, and to line the outside of the wings and their patterns. Use the jellybeans and smarties to decorate the wings. Place a chocolate freckle in the middle of each wing. Place a candy for the butterfly's eye.

Baking Tips

 This the pattern to help you cut out the butterfly pieces and arrange them to form a butterfly.

The vienna buttercream should not go into the fridge. Frost the cake on the day it'll be served.

The butter cake can be made up to 3 months in advance and frozen. Bring back to room temperature naturally before using.

You might like our other cake recipes, like the Basic Butter cake, or butterfly themed bakes like our Butterfly Sugar Cookies.

The Original Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book is now out of print. But due to popular demand they re-issued a Vintage Collector’s edition in 2011.

The Children’s Birthday Cake Book is available online at:

Booktopia (AU): Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book

Magshop (AU): Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book

If you’re hunting the original you might get lucky finding a second-hand copy on eBay or Amazon.