Hidden shape cupcakes recipe

(217 ratings)

How to make a hidden shape cupcake. Bake a butterfly into the centre of a cupcake with this easy recipe

Preparation Time1 hours 20 mins (including decorating time)
Cooking Time1 hours
Total Time2 hours 20 mins
Cost RangeCheap

Find out how to bake a shape in the centre of a cupcake with our hidden butterfly recipe. Just like our hidden heart cupcakes, these cupcakes are the perfect surprise for when you really want to wow friends and family.


For the pink cake (You need to make a 7/8” square cake for the butterflies)

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g butter, room temperature
  • 70g self-raising flour
  • 5g cornflour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 15ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2tsp red food colouring

For the cupcakes

  • 150g butter, room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 30ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

For the reduced sugar buttercream

  • 240ml milk
  • 60g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 110g vegetable fat such as Trex
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

You will also need:

  • Deep muffin tray
  • 7 or 8” square cake pan
  • 5cm x 3cm butterfly cookie cutter

To decorate (optional)

  • Butterfly mould with 75g flower paste and red food colouring
  • Piping bag and a Wilton 1B nozzle
  • Pink and pearly sprinkles




  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3 and grease your tin.
  2. To make the pink sponge, add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix on a medium speed until smooth. Add in 1 tsp of food colouring at a time to get your desired pink colour. If you want a darker colour add an extra 1 tsp.
  3. Place all the mixture into the square pan and level out with a spatular.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 mins remove and cool in the tray for 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack. Once cool pop in the fridge to harden it slightly to make it easier to cut the shapes out.
  5. Remove the square sponge from the fridge and cut out 12 butterflies with your butterfly cookie cutter.
  6. Line your muffin tray with your muffin cases.
  7. Place all the ingredients for the cupcakes into a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Place 2 tbsp of mixture into the bottom of each case.
  8. Place a butterfly piece of sponge in the centre of the batter and then divide the remaining mixture over the tops of the butterflies, making sure you get the mixture between the wings.
  9. Mark each case so you know which way is forward, as you’ll need to know which way to slice to see the shape.
  10. Bake in the oven at 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 mins. Remove from the oven and cool.
  11. To make the buttercream, heat the milk in a small saucepan, over a gentle heat. Whisk the flour and salt into the milk and continue to heat gently, while whisking continuously to avoid lumps, until the mixture takes on a thick pudding-like consistency. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  12. In a separate bowl, cream the vegetable fat, sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  13. When the flour mixture has cooled, add it to the creamed vegetable fat and butter mix one spoon at a time, beating with an electric whisk until all the mixture has been added. It will be very light in texture and quite white when it’s ready. Cool in the fridge for 15 minutes, this helps stiffen it slightly so it’s ready to pipe.
  14. If you want an icing swirl, add a Wilton 1B to a large piping bag and pipe a swirl.
  15. To make the butterfly toppers, colour the fondant with the food colouring and add to the moulds and leave to dry on a large sponge or folded tin foil. Add a butterfly and sprinkles to each cake. <![CDATA[

    Add a butterfly and sprinkles to each cake.


Top Tip for making Hidden shape cupcakes

You can play around with lots of different shapes, all you need is the right cookie cutter. We think hearts and flowers would also make cute centres.

You might also like…

Easy cupcake recipe

Chocolate cupcake recipe

Vanilla cupcakes recipe

Victoria Threader
Recipes Writer

Victoria Threader is 'the queen of cupcakes' and a contributing Recipe Writer at GoodTo. Not only can she bake delicious cupcakes, she can decorate them too - with each of Victoria’s cupcakes topped with handmade edible toppers. Some of her most popular cupcakes include: rainbow cupcakes, hidden shape cupcakes and even giant cupcakes.