Birthday bug cake

Birthday bug cake

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(22 ratings)

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)
    White chocolate squares, stacked

    White chocolate

    why-t chok-lit

    To purists, this is not chocolate because it is made only from the fat or butter of the cacao…

  • 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 buttons, 6 cut in half
  • treat-size pack chocolate buttons
  • 2 chocolate sticks (I used Matchmakers)



    Chocolate as we know it in pressed

  • 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, questions and tips

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6th May, 2012
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
2nd Nov, 2011
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!
16th Apr, 2011
Big hit for my daughter's 10th birthday. Easy to make - you don't need a mixer. Butterflies were a huge hit.
5th Feb, 2011
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.
24th Jan, 2011
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...
26th Oct, 2010
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?
15th Sep, 2010
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.
4th Sep, 2010
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.
6th Jun, 2010
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.
26th Apr, 2010
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! :)


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