Hey guys. I’ve been busy for the past few months writing food articles for Chow.com, but I’m back and full of food stories and recipes to share. My daughter’s third birthday was a little while back, and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to make her dream cake: pink with butterflies.
I ended up making a cream cheese frosting flavored with homemade strawberry jam for the pink requirement. I used the jam because I have tried using fresh strawberry puree in the past, and it ends up making the frosting too wet, which makes it drips off the cake and just look ugly. For the butterflies, I ended up using this tutorial from How To Cook That for chocolate butterflies. And you guys—it was actually pretty easy! Do you remember making those butterfly paintings in preschool? The ones where you paint one half of the butterfly, then fold the paper in half, smoosh it a little, and when you open it, a full, beautiful butterfly would appear? This process is that in candy form. It took some trial and error, but thanks to the help of Wilton Candy Melts and a little time, I think mine came out pretty well.
More photos after the jump!
So I used candy melts because I suck at tempering chocolate, and you don’t have to worry about that with candy melts. Do they taste as good as real chocolate? Hell no. But do three-year-olds care about that? Considering most are perfectly happy eating a three week old Cheerio crusted on the floor, I’m gonna say NO. So candy melts worked for this occasion.
The steps are fairly simple. You start by outlining half of the butterfly on a small sheet of wax paper, and don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be perfect, because you’ll be smearing it later. Next, you roughly fill in the color you would like. Then you fold it, press on the paper gently to adhere the chocolate on the other side, and then slowly open it up. Then just pipe a straight line down the middle for the body, prop up with plates on each side, and let dry.
The most difficult part is lifting the dried butterflies off of the wax paper. I would cup it in one hand, and slowly peel off the paper while supporting the opposite half with my hand. You’ll crack a few at first, but you’ll shortly figure out just how thick to outline your butterflies to ensure cracking will not happen with the rest.
You’ll notice on my just smeared and opened purple butterflies above, the top one has a gap in the top wing on the right—if this happens, the butterfly will not be stable enough to lift off the wax paper, so be sure to make your outline a little on the fatter side, so there will be enough to smear.
I made the butterflies around two weeks ahead of the party, and let them sit at room temperature in my ginormous cupcake carrier, one butterfly per cup. You could probably put them in a foil-lined shoe box with a lid, but you do not want them touching other butterflies—they will stick and ruin each other.
I added the butterflies to the cake at the last minute before the party started. My daughter was happy, and I made sure there were plenty of butterflies for each kid to get one on their plate. A success in my book!