Bombay butterfly cakes

Bombay butterfly cakes

Lucy's Bakes
15 mins
Cooking time
15 mins
Jacqui Melville

Looking for something a little different? Look no further. These cakes happened by accident – the other Lucy and I were making cakes with elderflower syrup and wanted them to be slightly more yellow but alas we had no yellow food colouring. Opening the drawer we both saw the turmeric at the same time. Twenty minutes later the cakes were most certainly yellow and what a fabulous flavour! A few experiments with spices and floral flavours and we had our Bombay butterfly cake recipe.


Quantity Ingredient

For the cakes

Quantity Ingredient
4 eggs
caster sugar
butter and/or margarine, at room temperature
self-raising flour
pinch salt
5g ground ginger
50g crystallised ginger, chopped
10g water
lemon grass and ginger cordial, to drizzle

For the buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
150g butter
pinch ground turmeric
250g icing sugar
15g lemon grass and ginger cordial
crystallised ginger, cut in slivers, to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line the muffin tin with cake cases.
  2. Weigh the eggs and measure the same weight of sugar, butter and self-raising flour.
  3. Whisk the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and then sift in the flour, salt and ground ginger. Fold the ingredients together adding the chopped crystallised ginger. Spoon into the muffin tins so they are three-quarters full.
  5. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch. While they are still hot, douse with a good slug of ginger and lemon grass cordial. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Make the buttercream by beating the ingredients together in a bowl.
  7. Take a small serrated knife and, holding it at an angle tip towards the centre, cut around so you remove a conical-shaped piece of cake that goes to a deep point at the centre.
  8. Pipe or pile the buttercream into the hole and then cut the removed cake in half and place it back on top like butterfly wings. Decorate with an extra piece of crystallised ginger.


  • This recipe is vegetarian and nut-free.


  • Rose and chilli – add a hefty pinch of chilli flakes to the cake mix, omitting the ginger and add 10 g rose water. Add a few drops of pink colouring to the cake mix. Drizzle the hot cakes with rosehip syrup and make the buttercream with rose water, pinch of chilli and some red food colouring. Decorate with dried rose petals.

What the the testers say

  • HATTIE CUFFLIN – ‘I gave these to my housemates but added a slug of vodka to my cake mix and the buttercream – they were really colourful and whacky.’

    BEN COLEBY – ‘I made a batch with fennel and Pernod – I love the mix of sweet and spice.’
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