Mary Berry's Lemon Butterfly Cakes recipe

Lemon butterfly cakes on rack

This recipe comes from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and is pretty low effort, even for someone like me who doesn't enjoy decorating cakes. The lemon adds a lovely flavour but you could easily use orange or substitute 25g of the flour with cocoa powder and top with chocolate frosting.

I ended up with a lot of leftover frosting when using the quantities of sugar and butter specified by Mary Berry so I've decreased the amount in the ingredients list. For the batch I made in the photograph I halved the frosting ingredients again (using 100g icing sugar, 50g butter and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice) and found that this was enough for twelve cakes. I should say that I'm really not a fan of frosting and usually end up scraping most of it off whatever cake I'm eating but if you have more of a sweet tooth then the quantities in the ingredients list will be fine.


Makes: 12


  • 100g sifted self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of a lemon

Butter icing

  • 200g sifted icing sugar
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp icing sugar for dusting


  1. Cakes: Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.
  2. Add 100g of self-raising flour, 100g of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 100g of butter, 2 eggs and the zest from 1 lemon into a large bowl and whisk well (I used an electric hand whisk).
  3. Divide the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cupcakes have risen and are golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Frosting: Add 200g of icing sugar, 100g of butter and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into a large bowl and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Once the cakes are completely cool, take a sharp knife and slice a circle out of the top of each cake then halve it to make the butterfly wings. 
  6. Spoon or pipe a small amount of frosting onto the top of each cake.
  7. Take the two halves of the circle cut from the cake and place on top of the frosting with the curved edges facing inwards.
  8. Dust with icing sugar and store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.