Butterfly Swarm Coconut Cupcakes

May 28, 2012

Butterfly Swarm Coconut Cupcakes

One of my grandmothers turned 90 this week. Anyone reaching this age deserves a big celebration and my mum and aunt did not disappoint, throwing their mum a huge party on Saturday. They were preparing and organising for many weeks and chose a theme of purple and pink butterflies for all the food and decorations. I made a small contribution to the party food with these cupcakes. My mum had a far busier week making not one, not two but three large cakes. She also made the butterflies on my cupcakes, making my job pretty easy really.

Butterfly swarm

I knew that there was already a fruit cake and a chocolate cake so I decided to make coconut cupcakes to offer an alternative flavour. The cupcake recipe is from ‘Cupcakes fom the Primrose Bakery’. I was slightly reluctant to try a new recipe from this book after a disappointing batch of orange cupcakes recently but these ones are delicious and also very easy to make. The tops are covered in a dome of Italian meringue buttercream, to which I added a cheeky splash or two of Malibu. Straight after adding the buttercream I coated it with a heavy sprinkle of desiccated coconut and then turned the cupcake upside down to remove the excess. I then positioned one or two butterflies on top.

If you’d like to make your own butterflies then it is not too difficult, just time consuming. The wings are made out of flower paste using a cutter and decorated using an airbrush. To get the shape give the wings a gentle twist away from you and place them on the corners of cut up cereal boxes to dry. The bodies are made out of black gumpaste and fixed on with edible glue. I love the graduated tones my mum was able to get on these butterflies. I think you’d be able to achieve a similar effect painting wth food colours – start with a lighter base colour on the whole wing and then gradually build up with darker colours and different tones towards to edges.

Cupcakes on plates

These cupcakes look completely different from the ones I had originally planned. I ran out of time so the decoration is a lot more simple but I think it works better as they provide a neutral backdrop for the beautiful butterflies. I picked up some muffin cases by chance when I was in John Lewis the other day and the pack also contains green, orange and red ones. The best thing about them is that they are greaseproof so the grease doesn’t seep through, a problem I’ve found with many other cases. I think recreating the same cupcakes with red cases and blue butterflies would be perfect for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations next week.

Coconut Cupcake Collage

I thought it was a brilliant party, my mum and aunt did a fantastic job. I have a large family – my nan has 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren (plus one more on the way). As you can imagine, once you add partners and extended family that makes a pretty large party even before anyone else is invited. It was fantastic to catch up with everyone and see all of the children together. It was also lovely to see so many of my nan’s friends come and most importantly, my nan had an amazing day.

Recipe {Click for printable recipe}

Coconut Cupcakes (recipe from ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’)


110g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
125ml coconut milk
25g desiccated coconut

This made 6 large cupcakes and 24 mini ones.


1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160° for fan ovens). Line your muffin trays with suitable cupcake cases.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream until pale and smooth.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix well for a few minutes after each one then add the vanilla extract.

4. Sift the two flours together and measure out your coconut milk. Add a third of the flour to the cake mix and beat well. Then add a third of the coconut milk and beat well again. Repeat this until you have added all of the flour and coconut milk.

5. Fold in the desiccated coconut.

6. Spoon into the cupcake cases, filling each to about two thirds full.

7. Bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. This took me about 15 minutes for the mini cupcakes and 22 minutes for the large ones.

Italian Meringue Malibu Buttercream


200g caster sugar
75g water
80g egg white (at room temperature)
200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
25g – 50g of Malibu

I used about half of the amount this made to cover the cupcakes. You can refrigerate the remaining buttercream for one week or freeze for up to one month.


1. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil without stirring. At the same time as putting this on, start to gently beat 80g of egg whites to soft peaks using a mixer.

2. When the temperature of the syrup reaches 105°C increase the speed of the mixer. Once the syrup hits 115°C remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites. Continue beating the meringue for 10 minutes so that it cools.

3. Once you are sure the meringue is cool start adding small lumps of the butter, mixing each bit in thoroughly until adding another piece. Once it is all added increase the speed of the mixer and mix for about half a minute until the buttercream has a smooth, light but firm consistency.

4. Add the Malibu and mix again on high for another half a minute or so.


100g desiccated coconut
Edible decorations

Sprinkle each freshly iced cupcake with the coconut and turn upside down to remove the excess. Add your edible decorations.

Serve and enjoy!


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  • Reply abby May 29, 2012 at 3:24 am

    oh yum, I loooove coconut cake. Need to go and buy some Malibu now (can’t believe I don’t have it)

  • Reply Helena, Craft and Creativity May 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    They look delicious AND beautiful!

  • Reply thelittleloaf May 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Happy birthday to your Granny! It’s my Granny’s 90th birthday at the end of June and still deciding what to bake…she loves black labradors so my mum wants something dog themed… just have to work out how to make it look pretty too!

  • Reply Joy June 21, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Those are so pretty.

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