Birthday bug cake

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 16
Children will love the butterfly and ladybird decorations on this colourful cake – and you'll love its simplicity

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal536
  • fat30g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs64g
  • sugars47g
  • fibre1g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.28g
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  • Easy vanilla cake and syrup mix (see recipe below)
  • 100g white chocolate (I used Milkybar)
  • Basic vanilla buttercream mix (see Easy vanilla cake recipe below)



    The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…

  • 12 giant chocolate button, 6 cut in half
  • treat-size pack chocolate buttons
  • 2 chocolate sticks (I used Matchmakers)
  • hundreds and thousands
  • multicoloured candles
  • red (or whatever colour you like) writing icing tubes (I used Asda)
  • multicoloured candles


  1. Bake the Easy vanilla cake in a greased, lined deep 20cm cake tin as in the basic recipe; drench with syrup and leave to cool. Leave the oven on.

  2. Break the white chocolate into cubes into a microwaveable bowl, and heat on High for 1 min (or melt over a pan of simmering water). Stir, then leave any remaining lumps to melt in the warm liquid chocolate. Once just-warm, beat the chocolate into the buttercream.

  3. Start the butterflies. Put the whole giant buttons on a flat baking tray on non-stick baking paper, then put into the oven for 20-30 secs or until the chocolate looks shiny. Take out, scatter with hundreds and thousands, then leave to set completely before cutting in half with a large non-serrated knife. For the ladybirds, pipe dots of icing all over the already cut giant button halves, then leave aside to dry.

  4. Spread the buttercream over the cake, then start to arrange the butterflies. Cut each Matchmaker into 3 – these will make the bodies. Press onto the cake, then stick four giant button halves around each body to make ‘wings’. For the ladybirds, place two spotty button halves together, then use a small button for the head. Scatter more hundreds and thousands all over the cake, then poke in the candles.

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Comments (35)

Bellabella09's picture

Where is recipe?!!

Frances1983's picture

I made this cake for my daughter's 4th birthday, and she loved it! I will definitely make it again.

AngelaU's picture

This is really nice. Also very effective and east to decorate if you don't have much time.

thabieh's picture

I am going to try this next weekend, I look forward to tasting it.

hetty74's picture

Ollyeyes , scroll down page , there's a link to the cake recipe on the right hand side

nats5184's picture

I can't find any link?

issylou's picture

What a fabulous recipe!! Made this for my husbands birthday and used Kit Kats all around the sides with ribbon to hold, it was very moist and tasty!

I'm planning on making this birthday bug cake for my daughters 2nd birthday. Wondering does anyone know if ok to use cocoa to make a chocolate sponge - will it work with the greek yoghurt?

Cheers :-)

ollyeyes's picture

Am i losing the plot cant find the recipe for the cake help please

coco06's picture

Very enjoyable to make this for my daughter's 1st birthday. Found it hard to get the matchstick chocolate as Tesco only stock them at Christmas but got after eight ones in another store. Icing was very rich but I made the cake a day in advance and the icing tasted better the 2nd day for some reason and the vanilla cake went down a treat.

latkins791's picture

Really nice Icing recipe! Instead of Giant buttons I just used white buttons which already have sprinkles for the butterflies and normal ones for the ladybirds, still looked pretty. Yummy

fubitzmum's picture

Made this for baby's 1st birthday cake. Had to use twice the amount of buttercream as it was not quite enough to cover the whole cake. Very nice, moist cake. I ended up adding more sugar to my syrup as it was so watery I was worried it would just make it mushy. It made it have a crispy edge and moist centre which worked well. I didn't do the homemade choc as I didn't have time but used the same idea using cadbury buttons and sprinkled buttons out of the candy king section. Lots of good comments were received, def. make again!

donnasch's picture

Big hit for my daughter's 10th birthday. Easy to make - you don't need a mixer. Butterflies were a huge hit.

gubsie's picture

Made an adapted version for my 19-yr-old step-daughter's birthday….substituted hundreds & thousands for pink sugar crystals (Fiddes Payne - Pretty 'n' Pink selection tub) and edible gold glitter. No chocolate buttons to hand but had chocolate coins leftover from Xmas which are much larger than giant chocolate buttons, but I carried on as directed, and the butterflies look amazing!! With the gold glitter & sparkly pale pink crystals they're very Matthew Williamson - just one single butterfly on the side of the cake (jutting up slightly) looked like a statement broach. I eventually whizzed out for giant buttons... instead of using red icing to do the spots I stuck three pink pearls (from the Fiddes Payne tub) on each half of lady bug wing... spectacular effect - perfect for an 'older' birthday – and tasted delicious too.

feefee12's picture

i have made this cake recipe now about...erm 5 fives and it has been a great hit everyone...its been part of a few birthdays and also christmas day of 2010...i wanted to make something different besides christmas pudding and this put a unique touch to our family meal...

soooozeq's picture

Hi id love to make this for my daughters birthday next week but dont know how to make the basic vanilla buttercream mix?? can anyone help?

angelfire007's picture

I made this cake yesterday for my son's 2 birthday. It was absolutely gorgeous, so moist and very vanillary. I decided not to cut it and put a filling in, so the buttercream went on on the top. I decorated as in the recipe, but i put sugar stars instead of hundreds and thousands on top of the cake! My son was really thrilled with his cake as was everyone else.

jo_madzayo's picture

such a lovely cake, made this for my cousin as a gift and she was overwhelmed with it. I have now been asked to make for other peoples parties and going to try a different variation with the buttercream. Did as per the instuctions and was perfect.

jodifrances's picture

SAVE TIME.. I found putting the bugs in the oven didn't work for me so I put the sprinkles into a bowl & just rubbed syrup or honey (I used honey) onto one side of the buttons, then dip them in the sprinkles sticky side down. They were easy to cut in half with a none serated knife. Much more simple and saved allot of time. Iv just finished making this for my daughters 2nd birthday it looks fab.

rachy606's picture

Just wanted to add... My cooking time was not 1 hour 20, it was in fact 1 hour 50, or thereabouts (on GM3), but still good result! :)

rachy606's picture

yummy yummy! :) made it for a team member for her birthday, the whole team enjoyed it and thought it was delicious! My first ever time making a cake! I'm making it again for my dad, might change the decoration though, Thanks! :) ♥


Questions (1)

nats5184's picture

I would like to make this cake for my sons 1st birthday. I can't find the recipe for the sponge or icing. I've looked for a link at the bottom of the page but still can't see one. What am I doing wrong?

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