Every time I think about butterflies (and especially these butterfly cupcakes) I think of my brother when Jim and I were probably 5 and 6 years old. I’m older by 13 months and (so I’ve been told) Jim did whatever my sister or I said.
Let me set the scene by saying there was a staircase going up the against the outer wall of my parents’ home with an oversized window at the top looking down the street. My mother loved that window because it gave a lot of light to the upstairs hallway and stairs. She had a valance over the window and that was all.
Every night after dinner my father would pop my brother and I in the tub and this one night he got a phone call. Jim and I got old or bored waiting for him to come back so we decided to get out. We were drying with the towels and one of us, and I’m guessing me, suggested that we become butterflies with our towels. There we were, naked as jaybirds, running up and down the hallway, flapping our towels like butterfly wings. It was the best fun.
We got tired of that and got dressed into our PJs and went to read each other a story. No, neither of us could read but not being able to do something never stopped me from pretending I could. That was the end of the story, or so we thought. Dad came up, read us (another) story and we went to sleep.
The next day my mother called Jim and I into the kitchen and her face looked like she’d lived on beets all her life and nothing else. I’ve never seen a woman with a face that red.
“What were you two doing upstairs last night?”
Jim and I looked at each other and laughed and rather proudly said, “We played butterflies!” I was pretty sure we were going to get complimented on putting ourselves to bed quietly. No, that wasn’t it.
It was the first spanking I ever remember. It was all my fault that I had dragged my younger brother down the track to depravity. Mrs. Jolin who lived next door watched the whole thing through her window and wanted my mother to know how naughty her children were.
When I was making these cupcakes, every few minutes I’d think about this story and I’d crack up laughing. These cupcakes are really easy to make, don’t need any icing – just a dollop of whipped cream and dessert is done.
You can ‘butterfly’ any cupcake by cutting a circle out of the top of the cupcake, slice off the inside bit to make it flat, cut it in two to make two wings and sit them in the whipped cream. See? Easy!
- 3 cups plain/AP flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 170 grams / 1½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract - the good stuff matters in these cupcakes
- 1¼ cups full cream milk
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F degrees.
- Place cupcake liners in the pans and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In bowl of your mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Don't skimp on this one.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and add the vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
- Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full and place in the oven.
- Rotate the pans halfway through the baking and bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes,
- Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.
- Once cool, take a paring knife and cut a circle out of the top of the cupcake and slice off the point and cut the circle in half. You have two semi-circles. These are the wings.
- Fill the hole in the top of the cupcake with whipped cream and place the wings into the cream to make a butterfly.
Joanne T Ferguson says
I love how stories behind foods can bring back such memories Maureen!
Thank you for your butterfly cakes for brightening my day!
Such a cute story Maureen, it made me smile. I love butterflies…I love cupcakes. These are so super cute!
Cute story! Love how little brothers just go along with whatever we big sisters say. My sister and I just dressed our little guy up like a lady and painted his nails… He turned out okay. 🙂
Stephanie - The Dessert Spoon says
I’m so glad Mrs Jolin (or anyone like her) doesn’t live next door to me and my children. They would have called the police by now!
Your butterfly cakes are so cute! I can’t remember the last time I had one. I should make some for my daughter. Thanks for sharing!
Back in the olden days, nobody took their clothes off. I suspect in many parts of the states, it’s still that way. 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Oh dear! That sounds like it would have been the best fun. What exactly did you do wrong? Was the spanking the result of a busybody neighbour suggested that playing butterflies was depraved. What a dreadful soul.
We were naked and not in the bathtub! Just not done. Americans are rarely naked, Lorraine. 🙂
You don’t have to be a child or naked – got quite a shock in Portland, Ore some time back. We were visiting dear US friends. My gf gave us a formal cocktail party, mostly uni faculty staff and spouses. I thought I was quite appropriately dressed in a grey Thai silk sheath with a high neckline in the front and below knee hemline. Could not understand the frigid reception nor my gf’s blushing face. Well, the dress did not quite have a back 🙂 !! ‘How embarrassing, Susan’ was heard more than once!! Dearie me 🙂 !
LOL you racy woman!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Loved the story about you and your brother, Maureen! Made me smile. My brothers were 20 and 15 years older than I, so I don’t have these kinds of childhood memories about them. Lovely cupcakes… these butterfly ones are my favourites.
Oh Maureen, you made me laugh tonight. 🙂 That is hilarious! Poor you, so innocent and being so responsible about putting yourselves to bed and the mean neighbor has to tattle. Actually, poor her, to not be able to see the humor in her show for the night. 🙂
Such a cute idea, Maureen. My family doesn’t think I make enough cupcakes, so I need to try your recipe 🙂 Hilarious story, too! Sorry about the busybody neighbor ratting you out 🙁
Chris Scheuer says
You so innocently got in so much trouble! I love this story and would love one of your fun cupcakes right now!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Cupcakes are cute! The story behind them – precious! I was the youngest, by far, and so really was more like an only child. My three siblings did their thing, and I did mine.
Jim and I were always together and then I went to college and he went to the navy and we get together occasionally. Sad. He’s the best fun.
That’s an awesome story Marueen!! 🙂 The cup cakes look delicious!! Enjoy your weekend.
Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish says
These cakes look adorable! And what fun childhood memories 🙂
Huh!!! why did your neighbor make such a big deal out of this? you were just kids!!! Loved your story although it ended with tears in your eyes, little Maureen.
This is a very cute idea that will appeal to the kids for sure.
Back in the olden days in a very Catholic community – nudity was frowned upon in an emphatic way.
Marilyn Lesniak says
Maureen these are so precious! I bet using strawberries as the wings (shortcake style) would taste great too! Yum… My mind is whirring.
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
These butterfly cookies look delicious. That’s quite a story about you and your brother – no wonder you crack up every time you make these!
Marissa, it doesn’t take much to crack me up. If you’re ever a comedian on a stage, put me in the front row.
Norma Chang says
From now on whenever I see a butterfly I will be thinking of you and this post.
Ciao Florentina says
What a fun cute idea for cupcakes . And what a fun childhood story, those are the best memories 🙂
Nosy neighbour ruining a bit of harmless fun … what a shame. But it’s wonderful that your (and I assume, Jim’s) memories of the occasion are good ones.
The butterfly decoration is adorable.
At our age, we focus on the fun memories. 🙂
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Really funny story! So, did you ever get even with the pepping tom? 🙂 And great looking cupcakes. It’s the weekend — time for something good like this!
Mrs. Jolin never had kids and she was ancient when I was born. Nuff said. We knew never to bat a ball over the hedge!
Veronica (Roni) says
Lol..what a delightful story (except for the rude shock you must have had at the end…) You were good kids for putting yourselves to bed so nicely!!!
And I love that you are still giggling at the memory…thanks for sharing Maureen :))
You cakes look so pretty too xx
I WAS quite proud of myself, Roni. 🙂
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
Nosey neighbor – kids will be kids and it sounds like you had tons of fun! Such a wonderful memory – that is so sweet! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
She WAS nosy 🙂
wok with ray says
I like your story and it put smile on my face because I also remember how naughty we were growing up and got the taste of some spanking. Love these cute cupcakes, Maureen. Wish you a great weekend. 🙂
Medha @ Whisk & Shout says
These are so cute! Being so close in age must have been so fun growing up 🙂
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Oh, I bet you loved Mrs Jolin (not;-) – these are always a favourite and yours are so pretty.
My Kitchen Stories says
I love butterfly cakes, in fact any cupcakes are not safe around me. it is almost stunning to think how much things have changed in the years since we were kids Maureen. so sad you couldn’t be butterflies without the neighbour interfering
I’m sure we were VERY cute butterflies too 🙂
Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says
Hi Maureen, what a witch to complain about kids being kids! What was she doing looking through your windows anyway!
Love the butterfly cakes. They bring back memories of lots of birthday parties where they were always a big hit.
Choc Chip Uru says
I love a good story behind tasty food 😀
These cupcakes are so cute!
Choc Chip Uru
Don’t know which I like best……the story or the cupcakes. Great story well told. I could picture you being a butterfly. What fun!
Carol Preibis says
I’m glad that I use Pinterest to save and share your terrific recipes!
Wishing you well,
Nancy | Plus Ate Six says
What a mean old soul to try to steal your innocent fun that way. I’m glad you can still rise above it though all these years later. Great story and beautiful cupcakes x
Gourmet Getaways says
My, these look so pretty and girlie!! Now we feel like whipping up a party! Thanks for sharing, Maureen!!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a story, you have me quite a laugh! 🙂 These cupcakes are just darling, I love the butterfly topper!
i definitely happy to starting a day with it…
Tara Noland says
Such a great story and your cupcakes are a delight!!
Hotly Spiced says
The neighbour was a prude! I love the story and I think imagining yourself to be a naked butterfly is a wonderful use of imagination and much better use of your time than sitting in front of a screen. I love how you would read your brother a story while not being able to read a word! And I do love butterfly cupcakes. I used to make them as a child! xx
I always love the stories you share!! And butterfly cupcakes! I think every kid has fond memories of them 🙂
Mary Frances says
What a cute story and beautiful cupcakes! I think your neighborhood would have benefited from one of them 😉
If you’re interested, I also posted about an animal-themed cupcake I made recently!
These are truly goergeous. And the recipe is so simple, I’m gonna give it a try. Thank you for sharing!
Souvenirs, souvenirs…they are so funny ! It’s incredible how brain is make it ! You bake the cupcakes and suddenly the whole story cames to you !
Your cupcakes are so nice, love it !
Kristen @ The Endless Meal says
This is such a great idea! Love that they’re filled with whipped cream, too. Yum!
The Ninja Baker says
Awww. I’m sorry you got in trouble for your free-spirited fun! Kudos to you for laughing about the memory. And bravo of your oh, so pretty butterfly cupcakes (which have got to be delicious…Anything with whipped cream calls this Ninja Baker!)
Wow just look at that! I am so craving for some cake now, can you please deliver some to NZ 🙂
Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says
This is such a fun dessert. I loved your cute story. Mrs. Jolin had a naughty mind if she couldn’t see the joy in two little kids playing butterflies.
You know those folks with Catholic guilt. 🙂 80% of my hometown were Roman Catholic when I was growing up. I doubt it’s the same now.