Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chocolate Monarch Butterflies

The first time I try something from my Hello Cupcake! book, and I don't even make cupcakes. This may sound blasphemous to some, but I'm not a huge cupcake fan. Yes, they're cute and versatile, but time consuming (you have to handle each of them individually), hard to eat (frosting mustache, anyone?), and most (at least the ones I've had) are on the dry side. That last one is probably due to overbaking, which could easily happen to a cake, too. Which leads me to my next point.

I'm a cake girl.

So when we invited half of California to my two-year-old's birthday party (I have a hard time leaving people out), I wasn't going to attempt to manhandle a bunch of cupcakes. But I wanted the cake to be special and something that Sophie would enjoy. So I decorated it with chocolate monarch butterflies from Hello Cupcake!

They're easy, really. And the wonderful thing about Hello Cupcake! is that all of the projects in the book use regular, household things like ziploc bags, toothpicks, and wax paper. No fancy cake decorating equipment needed.

This isn't really a recipe per se, so I'll just show you step-by-step how I did them. (I'll add a print-friendly link at the bottom of the post.)

Supply List:
Melting chocolate
White non-pareils (or sprinkles of your choice)
Brown M&M's
Chocolate frosting
Wax paper
Small zip top bags
A plate or cookie sheet

1. Copy and cut out the butterfly templates from the book. (Or draw your own.) Also, cut some wax paper into squares, an inch or two larger than the butterfly wings. Place wax paper over template, and place both on a plate or a cookie sheet (you'll see why in a sec).

2. Melt the chocolate in separate zip top bags for 10-15 second increments in the microwave. Mush the bag around to get rid of any lumps, then squeeze all of the melted chocolate to one corner of the bag. Snip a tiny (like 1/16 of an inch. . . I think mine was too big.) hole in that corner and trace the outline of the butterfly with the brown chocolate. Fill in the center with the colored chocolate, but don't use too much.

3. Pick up the plate or cookie sheet and smack it on the counter a few times to allow chocolate to fill in the gaps and become smooth. Using a tooth pick, gently drag some of the brown chocolate into the center, making swirls. Sprinkle a few white nonpareils over the top. Repeat until you run out of chocolate (or until your baby needs nursing). Don't forget to do the antennae. If your chocolate gets thick, just zap it in the microwave for about 5 seconds and mush it around again. Let the chocolate rest for an hour or so to harden. You can do these a day ahead.

4. When you're cake is ready, pick all the brown M&M's out of the bag and place in a separate bowl. Dump the rest into the potty incentive treat jar for your toddler. Decide where you want your butterfly to go and place two brown M&M's 1/2-inch apart on the frosting.

5. Carefully lay the wings down on the cake so they're propped up by the candy. Wiggle them into the frosting a bit so they stay put.

6. Stick a set of antennae at the top of the wings, into the cake.

7. Put the chocolate frosting into a zip top bag, squeeze it to one corner and snip off 1/4-inch hole from the tip. Pipe a set of beads down the middle to hold the butterfly together and give it a body. To do this, just squeeze a bit, then release/pull back, squeeze, then release/pull back. You can practice on a piece of wax paper if you want and scrape the frosting back into the container. (I know, I cheated and used my frosting bag with a tip.)

8. All done! Now repeat with remaining butterfly parts.

Print Instructions Only


  1. That is soooo pretty! I gotta get my hands on that book!

  2. Oh my GOSH. Those look beautiful!! It looks like you spent hours, and really, they're simple? My daughters 3rd birthday is in a month, I should try them? I'll come back and let you know if I do :) They're gorgeous. And look delicious!!

  3. I definitely have to try those out on Gracie and Annelie! I love them!!

  4. Tia - Piping the wings only took about 15-20 minutes after I got the chocolate melted and all my stuff organized. Then after they set, it took about that long to assemble them on the cake. As you can see, I only did seven, but they filled the top of the cake. Try them!!

  5. Those are so pretty! Love them!

  6. I just did these a few weeks ago too (though my blog entry doesn't have nearly the pretty & instructive pictures as you do--great job!) I just love that book. And I'm very happy to have found your blog--it's awesome :).

  7. Audible gasps when I got to this blog post. No fair. I'm on a diet. Humph.

  8. LOVE this! what a beautiful cake! :) thanks for the inspiration!


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