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Delicious air fryer butterfly cakes. How to make homemade butterfly cakes in the air fryer with this easy to follow recipe.

You will love the simplicity of butterfly cakes in the air fryer and how you can mix and match to create lots of other air fryer cupcakes.

This butterfly cakes recipe was originally shared with you back in 2016. We have since updated air fryers, gone to cupcake classes and created an even better recipe for you.

air fryer butterfly cakes recipe
Air Fryer Butterfly Cakes Recipe
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Mix And Match Cupcakes

I was at this wonderful 1:1 cupcake class earlier this year. It was great fun and I got to make lots of different cupcakes.

This is the collection of cupcakes that we made:

Mix And Match Cupcakes

Whilst I was at the cupcakes class, I asked the teacher what her secret was to making butterfly cakes, and she showed me FAST how you can use your mix and match cupcake ingredients to make butterfly cakes.

I loved that she chopped out the top of the cupcakes, used the same buttercream that is used on the other cupcakes and then sliced the cake to create a butterfly look.

I said to myself, that when I update our air fryer cupcakes recipe, I will show you air fryer butterfly cakes at the same time with the same ingredients.

And that is exactly what today’s butterfly cake recipe is all about.

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What Are Butterfly Cakes?

If you have not had butterfly cakes before, then think of them as a type of bun or cupcake.

Butterfly cakes also have similar ingredients to a cupcake.

But after the cupcake is made the top is cut out, creating a cute little hole in the top of the cupcake. This is then filled with frosting (just like a cupcake is), then the piece that was removed is chopped in half and then placed on top to look like a butterfly.

The top of the butterfly cake is then sprinkled with icing sugar.

Many people also call them butterfly buns and as they are a bun, I have always felt that butterfly buns are a more appropriate name.

Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?

Yes, you can, and just like regular cupcakes, butterfly buns are delicious in the air fryer.

I also recommend following our Thermomix buttercream recipe for the perfect centre.

Can You Put Cupcake Papers In The Air Fryer?

Yes, you can and it’s what I recommend you use if you want perfect butterfly cupcakes.

Though what you will also need is some small pudding bowls that cupcake papers fit perfectly into.

This will then stop the cupcake papers from flying about in the air fryer and keep the butterfly buns up straight.

Bero Butterfly Buns

My inspiration for butterfly buns comes from the little Bero cookbooks. I have several of them in my kitchen and its what my grandma taught me to bake with.

She loved Bero and used to do their rock cakes, egg and bacon pie and so many more of their classics.

How To Cut Butterfly Cakes?

The easiest way to cut butterfly cakes is to cut a round circle around the top of the cupcake.

Then remove it and then slice it in half to create a butterfly.

Like you see here:

How To Cut Butterfly Cakes

Note that practice makes perfect and the more you do of them, the better you will get at it.

I also recommend making more than you need, then you have a few practice runs.

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Butterfly Cake Recipe Ingredients

Butterfly Cake Recipe Ingredients

Buttercream – You will want a batch of buttercream that you can load into your piping bag for the top of the butterfly buns. What we did was make a batch of our Thermomix buttercream and then left it in the fridge until just before we needed to pipe it. For making buttercream the main ingredients are double icing sugar to butter quantity. Plus, a little milk and vanilla essence.

Mix – Before adding the buttercream we need to make the base for the butterfly bun that we can then air fry. What’s easy about the mixture is that its equal quantities of butter, sugar, and flour and then a little vanilla and some eggs.

Accessories – Then for accessories you will need your nozzles, a piping bag, a drinking glass, a pair of scissors and a peg.

Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this butterfly cakes recipe it has just been our Cosori air fryer. We have this one and its wonderful for many types of air fryer recipes.

We also used our Thermomix for quickly and easily making the butterfly cake batter and for making the buttercream.

Plus, we recommend you head over to our air fryer recipes category as we have more than 500 tried and tested air fryer recipes and have been air frying for 10 years.

How To Make Butterfly Cakes?

air fryer butterfly cakes step by step
  • Mix. Start by making your easy butterfly cake batter with your stand mixer (we used our Thermomix). Mix butter and sugar until light and creamy. Then gradually add vanilla paste and eggs. Finally add in flour and mix well.  
  • Cook. Load the batter into paper liners and then place paper liners into suitable containers. Air fry for 12 minutes at 160c/320f and then allow to completely cool.
  • Prep. Next make your buttercream by adding butter, then double the quantity in icing sugar and then a little milk and vanilla.
  • Slice. Once the buns have cooled, use a knife, and do a circle over the top of the buns to create a hole in the centre of the buns. Then slice these little pieces of cake in half lengthways.
  • Pipe. Next pipe the buttercream into the hole, then add the little butterfly slices over and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

And I am sure you can see now how easy it is making this butterfly buns recipe in the air fryer and how you can be doing the same.

How Long Do You Cook Butterfly Buns?

This recipe for butterfly cakes takes JUST 12 minutes. Then whilst the butterfly buns are cooking you can be making your buttercream.

I give the Thermomix a quick clean after making the bun mixture and then use it again for the buttercream.

Can I Freeze Butterfly Cakes?

Yes, you sure can. You can freeze just the buttercream, or you can freeze the whole bun together, depending on what leftovers you have.

Its also fantastic for when you want to make ahead your butterfly cakes.

Air Fryer Cupcake Tips & Tricks

  • 30g Rule – 30g is the perfect quantity to ice one cupcake. Therefore, if you want to freeze cupcake mix do so in 30g quantities. For example enough buttercream for 6 cupcakes would be 180g.
  • ¼ Rule – When making cupcakes only fill the cupcake liners to ¼ for the air fryer otherwise it will collapse over the side.
  • Test Run – I was taught at cupcake class to do a test run on a silicone mat first. Then you can make sure your buttercream is working well and it gives you a little extra practice.
  • Temperature – Avoid your buttercream from getting too hot otherwise it will melt. Keep it in the fridge until 5 mins before you are going to use it.

And these tips apply to regular cupcakes, butterfly buns and many similar baked goods that you can make in the air fryer.

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butterfly cakes

Your recipe for butterfly cupcakes is below, note you can print it out with or without photos, adjust servings, or click between metric and imperial depending on where you are in the world.

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5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Butterfly Cakes

Delicious air fryer butterfly cakes. How to make homemade butterfly cakes in the air fryer with this easy to follow recipe.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 10
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Kitchen Gadgets


  • Load into the Thermomix or stand mixer, your butter and sugar and mix on speed 3 for 3 minutes.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Scrape the sides and add the vanilla and the eggs mix on speed 3 for a further 3 minutes.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Then add the flour and mix on speed 4 for 1 minutes. Then scrape the edges.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Load the cupcake batter into paper cases to ¼ full and then inside your small pudding dishes.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Load into the air fryer and cook for 12 minutes at 160c/320f. Allow to fully cool on a cooling tray. Whilst they are air frying clean the Thermomix and then make your buttercream.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Then once the cupcakes are cool, slice a circle around the tops and remove the centre, making sure you don’t go too low. Then slice these cake pieces in half lengthways.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Next load the nozzle into the piping bag and the piping bag over the drinking glass. Add the buttercream and use your hands to tightly twist the piping bag and add a peg to the top. Cut the bottom off the piping bag so that the nozzle comes through.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Pipe your butterfly bun holes.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Then place the two slices of bun over to form a butterfly.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?
  • Then sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
    Can You Make Butterfly Buns In The Air Fryer?


Make Ahead. You can also make ahead your butterfly bun recipe. Which is perfect if you have a party that you want to use them for the next day.
Thanks for reading our recipe for butterfly buns on Recipe This. We have many more air fryer recipes for you to check out next. Though if you would like to try more delicious baking recipes in the air fryer, then do check out our air fryer doughnut cake recipe next.


Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 789IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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About Sam & Dom

Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes.

Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie marker and several other kitchen gadgets.

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Mine turned out just like the bakers in town. They tasted so good and was light and fluffy, they only lasted one afternoon so i think i will have to be making some more.