Time 1h 25m
This butterfly pea cake is super spongy, delicious, and with the most wonderful teal blue colour. All you need to make it is natural butterfly pea powder and a few other ingredients. Let us show you how!
Also known as blue pea or Asian pigeonwings, butterfly pea is a vivid deep blue flower found in South and Southeast Asia.
The flowers are incredibly high in blue pigments, called anthocyanins, also powerful antioxidants.
They're used in Thai and Malay cuisines to brew soothing blue tea and as a natural food colourant for many dishes, sweet and savoury.
These wonderful flowers are so versatile you can use them in so many recipes to add a pop of colour!
You can find butterfly pea as dried flowers or as a fine blue-violet powder. Your local Asian food store should stock one or the other, but you can also easily find them online.
Butterfly pea powder is ideal for preparing this cake, as you can easily add it to the cake batter.
A tablespoon of powder is enough to give the batter a vibrant blue hue. But you can increase or decrease the amount to get a different shade of blue as you like it most.
Keep in mind that the cake butter will take on a slight teal blue colour because the blue butterfly pea powder will get mixed with yellowish ingredients like flour and eggs.
If you already have dried butterfly pea flowers at home, there's no need to buy the power just for this recipe.
Instead, simply use them to make blue milk and then add it to the cake batter. You can follow our butterfly pea latte recipe for precise quantities and instructions.
As for the other ingredients, we used classic sponge cake ingredients like plain flour, baking powder, and sugar, but we swapped cow milk and butter with plant-based milk and coconut oil respectively.
So, our blue cake recipe has no milk or butter and is 100% dairy-free.
We also tried making the cake without eggs for a vegan option, but it came out too dense.
To make our vegan bakes, we often use a little bit of vinegar and baking soda for extra leavening power. But, because butterfly pea is very sensitive to pH changes, it will turn green when mixed with vinegar or baking soda. Even baking powder will affect its colour, so you can't use too much of it.
So the vinegar-baking soda trick was a no go for this blue cake, and we had to rely on eggs to make the cake fluffy and spongy.
If you want to try and make it vegan, try replacing the egg yolk with flax-egg, and the egg whites with whipped aquafaba.
Once ready, you can enjoy this wonderful butterfly pea cake as is or dust it with icing sugar for a pretty finish.
You can even slice it and fill it with jams and custards. You can find some inspiration in the tips at the bottom of the recipe!
- Plain Flour
- Baking Powder
- Caster Sugar (or sugar-free erythritol)
- Butterfly Pea Powder
- Plant-based Milk (coconut, oat, or almond)
- Coconut Oil (melted and cooled)
- Icing Sugar (optional for dusting)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) in static mode.
Lightly grease a 20cm (8 inches) round cake tin and line it with parchment paper. If your tin is non-stick, there's no need to grease and line it.
To start, sift plain flour and baking powder into a bowl.
Then add caster sugar, a pinch of salt, and mix well with a spoon.
For best results, we recommend using extra-fine sponge cake flour.
If your want to make the cake sugar-free, you can swap sugar with granulated erythritol, a natural zero-calorie sweetener.
In a separate bowl or jug, whisk butterfly pea powder with just a little plant-based milk until it's completely dissolved and you have no lumps.
If you don't have the powder, you can use dried butterfly pea flowers instead.
To do so, follow our butterfly pea latte recipe, and let the blue milk cool down completely before using it.
Then, separate the eggs yolks from the whites.
Add the yolks to the butterfly pea milk and the whites to a separate bowl as we'll whip them later on.
Beat the yolks until you get a homogeneous cream, and then pour in the remaining plant-based milk, followed by melted and cooled coconut oil.
Add the blue milk mixture to the dry ingredients and use an electric whisker to work all into a smooth and creamy blue cake batter.
Then, set the bowl aside and let's whip the egg whites.
Use a clean electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they're fluffy, foamy, and form stiff peaks.
We recommend starting at a low speed and gradually increasing as the egg whites foam up.
Once ready, add the beaten egg whites to the cake batter a few spoonfuls at a time.
Use a spatula to incorporate them into the cake batter, stirring from top to bottom to properly aerate the batter.
Now, pour the butterfly pea cake batter into the cake pan, distributing it evenly.
Place the cake on the bottom oven rack and bake it for 50-60 minutes at the given temperature.
The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, without crumbs.
Once baked, remove the cake from the oven, let it cool down for a few minutes, and carefully pop it out of the tin.
Transfer the blue cake onto a wire rack and allow it to cool down completely before slicing it.
Your butterfly pea cake is ready! Dust it with icing sugar and enjoy it!