Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Poppy Seed Butterfly Cakes

When I was little, one of my favourite things to bake and eat were orange and lemon butterfly cakes, with curd in the middle. Butterfly cakes are such a British thing - and definitely pre-date the cupcake craze. I particularly like them because they're very homemade and rustic. Also, you don't have to use mountains of frosting and can use curd or, as in this case, pastry cream instead. 

I thought it would be a nice idea to do a bit of an adult update on these. I still kept a citrus note in both the cake and pastry cream with a touch of lemon zest. I decided that poppy seeds would look quite visually striking when the cake is opened out for the butterfly.

I've never really worked with poppy seeds before but they're gorgeous and lend such a lovely subtle crunch to the cake. 

A lot of my inspiration for these comes from a wonderful post over at Cooking for Seven. It's a wonderful documentation in photos and words of a cooking lesson her Grandma gave her and her sisters on how to make Poppy Seed Torte.  The photos are incredibly touching and made me miss my late Grandma, who I used to cook with when I was little. 

Her Grandma didn't want to share her recipe (fair enough) but I really wanted to make something along those lines. The most striking element to me was the custard filling. I couldn't quite work out how to replicate it exactly, so I decided to make a simple pastry cream and see how that worked. Unfortunately I wasn't really concentrating and took it off the heat before it had totally cooled, so it was a bit drippy. 


Despite the drippiness, they tasted great. I've reduced the sugar in the pastry cream recipe below to even less than I used for mine, as it was still a bit too sweet. The pastry cream gave moisture to the cakes and played off the crunchiness perfectly. The lemon note didn't really come through, but I didn't want it to be too obvious anyway.  

Apologies for the lighting in these photos - it got a bit dark before I managed to take photos. 


Poppy Seed Butterfly Cakes

Edit: I've removed the recipe as I'm not happy with it and don't want you to try it and be disappointed.


12 comments:

  1. My British friend makes similar butterfly cakes. I had never heard about them before.
    Yours look very yummy.

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  2. Oh, they look delicious! I've never heard of butterfly cakes. So cute! I'm so pleased that I inspired you to try poppy seeds -- I adore them.

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  3. One of the first things I cooked with my mum were butterfly cakes. She adds a tsp of warmed jam and then the buttercream - delicious. These have brought back so many memories and I really want to go home to bake them with my mum! I love the addition of the poppy seeds, very grown up!

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  4. I really need to make some butterfly cakes - your post has hit that home to me. Esp like the idea of using curd in them. Great photo's as ever Hun!

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  5. Butterfly cakes seems perfect for little girls (and big girls in my case). I love the poppy seed details. Makes for another design element. Nice!

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  6. Aw i love making butterfly cakes hehe theyre so cute :).
    Yours look delicious.

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  7. these look so cute! i just made lemon poppy seed cupcakes myself, but i'm sure gonna try yours soon!

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  8. they look FAB - OU _ LUS

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  9. Hi there! I made your cake and it was delicious! Only difference was that I made the mistake of adding vanilla into the batter which killed the poppy seed taste :(
    But the flavour kicked in when I added the custard! I've got a pretty good recipe for custard if you like! :)- Serene

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  10. Shannon Southall13 June 2013 00:44

    is there a recipe for the poppy seed cupcakes that you made ?? They look so Delicious

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  11. poiresauchocolat17 June 2013 18:02

    Sorry, I removed the recipes as I didn't trust them to work - I posted this three years ago. If you want to try them you can just add some poppy seeds to your favourite vanilla cupcake recipe and use another pastry cream recipe you like. Sorry for the confusion.

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  12. Shannon Southall20 June 2013 00:50

    oh ok thanks for the update

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