Easy Butterfly Birthday Cake

This cute butterfly cake is super easy to make and just uses a basic round cake pan.  Perfect for birthdays or summer parties!

Easy Butterfly Birthday Cake- simple and cute- perfect for a girl's birthday cake

I don’t really know how it started, but somewhere along the way I got hooked into the tradition of making our children a decorated cake for each of their birthdays.  We keep birthday’s pretty low key around our house, typically just celebrating with a simple party with extended family.  So even though making a decorated cake for each child takes time, I kind of have decided that it’s far easier than planning a big birthday party, plus it’s inexpensive way to make their day extra special.

I’ll be totally honest with you, I am not a crafty person at all.  I do love to bake though, which is probably why I was brave enough to try making a special birthday cake in the first place.  But I always stick to birthday cakes that are very easy to make.  In other words, if I made the cake, you totally can too!

This past year for our daughter’s 4th birthday, I knew I had to keep the cake even easier and more simple than I often do.  Not only is her birthday in December, which is obviously a busy time of year, I was also dealing with lots of morning sickness, too.  Plus, her birthday fell just 2 days after my husband graduated with his Bachelor’s degree at a college that is 1 hr. away, and so we had weekend full of lots of travel and busyness related to his graduation on top of everything else.

Thankfully, I happened across the idea of a butterfly cake and after some brainstorming, figured out a way to make one that didn’t take much time and ended up being very easy, too.  And the ultimate goal was achieved as I watched our daughter’s face light up when she saw her cake.  She absolutely loved it!

Easy Butterfly Cake perfect for birthdays or summer parties




  • cake mix or homemade cake recipe of your choice
  • Icing of your choice and color (I used this buttercream frosting recipe, although one batch was barely enough)
  • Candy for decorations- I used Twizzlers, M&M’s, Tic-Tac’s and Starburst’s


  1.  Mix up cake and bake in two 9″ round cake pans.  Once cake has cooled, invert pan and carefully remove cakes from pan.*  Flipping it onto parchment paper or saran wrap helps reduce mess.
    Easy Butterfly Birthday Cake
  2.  Cut cake into four pieces as shown above.
    (I first drew a template using a piece of paper.  To make the template, I simply traced around the bottom of the cake pan to get my circle.  Then I cut out the circle and cut it into the appropriate sizes to make the butterfly wings.  I then laid these paper pieces on the cake so that I would know exactly where to cut.  This made it easy for me to cut both cakes into the exact same size pieces.)
    Easy Butterfly Birthday Cake
  3. Take cake pieces and arrange 1st layer of cake as shown above to form butterfly.
  4. Frost top of 1st cake layer and also lightly frost the sides (you’ll finish frosting the sides later), then place the second layer of cake on top of the first layer.
  5. Frost cake completely.
    Easy Butterfly Birthday Cake
  6. Decorate!  Let your imagination run wild and come up with your own butterfly design.  Or if you want, you can simply copy what I did.  Here’s what I used:
    – Twizzlers (for the body)
    – M&M’s and Tic-Tac’s (for the round and small oval spots)
    – Starburst, flattened with a rolling pin (for the large red oval spots and the small blue square spots)


* Lining your pans with parchment paper makes the cake easier to remove.  Also, I like to wrap my cakes in plastic wrap and then freeze for several hours before frosting them.  This makes them easier to frost because there are less crumbs due to the cake being frozen.

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    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Missy, I am totally serious when I say that the cakes that I make are ones that I truly think anyone can make. I am as uncrafty as they come, but over time, I’ve come to actually sort of have fun making simple cakes for our kiddos. If you decide to try it, my best advice is to give yourself plenty of time because it always takes longer than you expect and also to be okay with imperfections. I used to think that every cake had to look like it came from a bakery, and then it totally zapped the fun from what I was doing. Once I relaxed and realized that I’m not a professional and my kids still love the cakes, I was able to be okay with the little flaws that were there and just have fun.

      Oh, and I do hope to post more cakes in the future, so I guess you are in luck. :) I have a fun robot one that I’ll be sharing in several weeks. And here is a super easy snowman cake that I did last year.

  1. Brook Hart says

    Homemade cakes are always special I think. I made my childrens cake’s for years. I recently bought a Williams Sonoma cake pan that looks like an Oreo cookie. I paid a dollar for it at a thrift store. This will now be our new family tradition. The recipe calls for ice cream or butter cream filling so depending on the weather, we will assemble accordingly. The butterfly cake is adorable. Your children are blessed to have a mommy like you.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      I love the Oreo cookie cake idea, Brook! I’m not a fan of most bought cookies, but Oreos are my weakness. :) And I agree with homemade cakes being special. I have good memories related to the few that my mom made me when I was little. Thanks for your encouragement!

  2. says

    She’s gotten so big! I still pictured your daughter as that little tike shoving pom poms through a hole in the top of a cottage cheese container. Anyway, I love how you do fun cakes that are realistic for everyone. Remember the snowman cake you posted last year? I made that and we had fun decorating it. It’s nice to have an alternative to some of the more elaborate homemade cakes. Simple and beautiful is just as tasty.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Monica, I just came across that old picture of her recently and felt rather nostalgic. :) And thanks for the encouragement regarding the cakes. I like how you said that- simple and beautiful is just as tasty. And I love that you all had fun making the snowman cake. That would be a good one to make about now with the kids to help them use some of the energy creatively….what with all this snow we have.

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