April 7, 2011

Butterflies Come to Life

The inspiration for the candy butterflies came from this fun book:

It's filled with tons of creative ideas for cupcakes, including the butterfly:

You might notice my butterflies look slightly different.  I tried using the template provided in the book but didn't care for how it turned out (too many squiggly lines).  So I decided to draw my own:

And a template was created (you can download it here if you like):

Then I gathered my materials and got ready to work.  Now I'll be up front about this.  I had my doubts whether I could do this.  The book claims these are creations anyone can make.  Well, I still wasn't confident I could pull this off.  I practiced making these the weekend before the bake sale just to see if they were feasible.  After the first few attempts, I was ready to can the idea and just make butterfly shaped cookies instead.

I guess my determination got the best of me.  I made some adaptations (which included making my own template) and after a few more tries, I started to slowly get the hang of it and figured out what worked and didn't work.  Some of the mistakes I made included snipping the hole too big (thus causing the chocolate to ooze out everywhere) and another blunder was trying to work with the candy when it started to harden.  It really is important to keep it melted and soft while you're working with it.  So make sure you're not too far from the microwave.

That being said, practice does make perfect.  So don't give up if you try this and it doesn't work out the first few times.  You'll just have a few less-than-perfect wings for you to enjoy.  :)  I had a bunch.

So here's how these butterflies came to life.  

Candy Butterfly Topping
Makes 12 butterflies
Inspired by Hello, Cupcake!

What you'll need:
12 chocolate cupcakes baked in liners
1 cup dark chocolate melting wafers (I used dark mint chocolate, available at A.C. Moore and Michaels)
1 cup candy melting wafer in any color (I used pink and blue)
2 tablespoons white nonpareils
3/4 cup dark chocolate frosting
1 can vanilla frosting (I made cream cheese frosting)
Parchment paper
Three ziplock bags
Wilton Open Star Tip (I used star tip 199) - for butterfly body
Butterfly template (here's the one I created)

1.  Gather all your materials together.  The candy wafers dry quickly, so it's important to be fast, efficient, and have everything on hand!

2.  Cut out 12 sheets of parchment paper large enough to be placed over your template.

3.  Place 1 cup each of dark chocolate and blue candy wafers into separate ziplock bags.  Don't seal the bags.  Microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Massage the wafers in the bags and return to the microwave.  Repeat this process until the candy is smooth (about 1 minute total).  Press out the excess air and seal the bags.  Then place in small bowls. 

4.  Take the scissors and snip the corner of each bag.  My recommendation is to snip a very tiny hole.  If the hole is too big, it's hard to control the flow of the chocolate and it'll just get everywhere.  Using the dark chocolate, work one wing at a time and outline the template on wax paper.

5.  Fill in the inside area with the blue melted candy. 

6.  Softly rap (pull back and forth) the parchment paper to flatten the candy and help the colors smooth into each other.

 7.  While the candy is still soft, take a toothpick and pull through the two colors from the outside in.  Rap the paper again to smooth it out.

8.  Add a few sprinkles of nonpareils to the top and bottom corners of the wing.  Believe it or not, I found this to be a challenging step because the sprinkles would get all over the wing.

9.  Repeat steps 4-8 for the other wing.  Let dry completely (this doesn't take long) and your wings are done.  You can store them up to 2 days prior to use in a cool, dry place.

  •  This might go without saying, but I'll say it anyway.  Be certain to seal the bags once the candy is melted.  I made the mistake of forgetting to do that and the candy just oozed everywhere.
  • The melted candy dries quickly.  If it doesn't flow easily and starts to harden, reheat for another 15 seconds.  I found I had to reheat after every 4 wings.

Now time for the assembly when the frosted cupcakes are ready. 

1.  Cut a hole into the corner of a pastry/ziplock bag large enough to insert the star tip.  Fill with dark chocolate frosting.

2.  Gently insert the wings into the frosting.  With a toothpick, carefully scoop out the frosting between the wings.

3.  Squeeze four small dots of the chocolate frosting between the wings.  And your butterfly cupcake is complete!

The book suggests making antennas for the butterfly, but for the life of me, I could not get those to turn out well.  The butterflies looked beautiful without them, and I strongly doubt anyone missed them.

This is an elaborate and time-consuming process but very worth it in the end.

Come back for the next post and I'll share the recipe for the chocolate cupcake and maybe offer a copy or two of the Hello, Cupcake! book to readers.  :)


  1. Very cool!!! I'm going to make some wrappers...but the butterflies might be out of my league.

  2. Very nice. Love the effect. If I'm uber ambitious one day, I'll do it. One day.

  3. seriously, you make it look so easy!! these were beautiful - even more so in when i saw them :). you inspire me to explore this realm heheheh.

  4. Those are just gorgeous!!! I love your step-by-step photos - they make it look like even I could do it. :)

  5. Wow, those are gorgeous! I doubt I would be able to eat them, they're to pretty. It was nice of you to share your blunders, great tips! I'm so glad you stopped by Simply Healthy Family so I could find your wonderful blog.
    That's wonderful about the bake sell success!

  6. I just made the chocolate cupcakes last night.
    THANK YOU! it came out really moist, fluffy and yummy!!

  7. Wow, these are really pretty and seem very time consuming. They look amazing though.

  8. Those are seriously gorgeous! You are very talented! Thanks for the tutorial, I will have to give these a try sometime!

  9. Thanks so much for this butterfly idea! It will be perfect for my daughter's 'fairy birthday' party! Can't wait to get the stuff and practice!


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