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Pretty Homemade Butterfly Birthday Cake

I am so happy with how this butterfly birthday cake turned out. I owe my success to another “Coolest Cakes” butterfly photo (the orange and black monarch). As I explain below, I use the baker’s technique of tracing the image with black gel and pressing it onto the cake to make an outline.

Here’s how I made this cake:

I searched online for butterfly clip art. I found a butterfly outline that I liked, and I enlarge it in Word to the size I wanted the cake. I then printed it out (it took 3 papers). I taped the papers together to make one large butterfly. I trimmed the taped papers to give about 1/2 inch of paper around the outline of the butterfly.

I baked two 9×13 cakes. When the cakes cooled, I trimmed off the edges of the cakes (all four sides) so that the cakes would sit flush to each other. I placed them side-by-side on a piece of cardboard. I used a large bread knife to trim the tops of the cakes down so that the top surface was even and flat.

I then placed the trimmed print-out of my butterfly on top of the cakes. I trimmed the cakes to the shape of the butterfly, leaving about one inch extra cake around the printout. I then let my kids eat the cake scraps (so they would leave my nice cake alone :) while I frosted the butterfly outline in white.

I then took my print-out of my butterfly and a tube of decorative black gel icing (the little white tube from the grocery store). I used the gel to trace the entire butterfly print-out. Then I took my gel traced print-out to the cake. I turned the print-out upside down (gel-side down), and I set it onto the frosted cake. I gently pressed the paper onto the cake, making sure I pressed every part of the paper down very gently. I then carefully peeled off the paper to reveal a black butterfly pattern.

I used a small round tip to fill in the outline. My daughter (turning 5) was absolutely thrilled with the cake. Her little girlfriends gathered around the cake at the beginning of the party and admired it for quite a while before I had to shoo them away and get the party started. All of the girls thought it was delightful.

I used Wilton frosting colors. By tracing the outline with the gel, the possibilities were awesome! I knew I would never be able to free-hand it, so the idea from the other baker was really what made this cake possible.

12 thoughts on “Pretty Homemade Butterfly Birthday Cake”

  1. Your cake looks awesome, I’m looking to do the same thing for my daughter’s 1st birthday can you tell me the site you found the butterfly picture because I can’t find anything I like..

  2. I am looking for a girlie cake for my little sister’s 4th birthday, but she wants a cake in the shape of a doll!And seeing as my mum and I aren’t exactly the bees knees at making cakes, you give me hope that I won’t totally ruin my little sisters birthday cake!!!

  3. Thank you so much for your detailed how-to! This has really helped me in my quest to make a pretty butterfly for my god-daughter!

  4. I used a small round tip, and filled the pattern in with dots. Also, to get a pattern, I just Google searched in images for butterfly clipart. I’m glad you all like it!

  5. thank you for posting your idea with pics. i was inspired by your cake and ended up making my 3year old daughters birthday cake.

  6. OMG this is so much easier than trying to free hand a design with piped icing. My daughter is turning 5 on the 14th Feb 2012 and now with this fab idea the possibilities are endless. “So simple yet very effective and less expensive”. Thanks you so very much for sharing this idea.

  7. I’m using your ideas to come up with my own original design for a butterfly cake for my mom’s 80th birthday. Thanks for making it easy!

  8. So – is the black icing gel purely to give you an outline to decorate over? I’m a bit rubbish at baking but daughter wants a butterfly cake! – just thought i’d ask for clarification – your cake is fab! not sure mine will be so good but i’ll try…..


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